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RSPCA Calls for Ban of Intensive Pig Farms

by 5m Editor
24 November 2009, at 11:39am

TASMIANIA, AUSTRALIA - The new head of the RSPCA has called for a ban on intensive pig farming.

In a dramatic policy shift, new Tasmanian president Paul Swiatkowski has condemned intensive pig farming as "cruel and horrific", according to Themercury.com.au.

The comments follow a 60-minute expose on the conditions in intensive pig farms which included footage taken in Tasmanian operations.

"Like everyone else who saw the expose, I was shocked at the horrific conditions under which these highly intelligent, sensitive and clean animals are kept," he said.

"We cannot believe that the Tasmanian community would support these terrible conditions for pigs now that they have seen the evidence."

A new national industry code of practice makes it legal to keep pigs of up to 250kg in so-called sow stalls that are 2m long and 60cm wide -- too small for the animal to even turn around.

Dr Swiatkowski urged Primary Industries Minister David Llewellyn not to adopt the standards in the new code.

Mr Llewellyn said the code had been referred to the Tasmanian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee for advice.

"In the meantime, Tasmania's animal welfare inspectors have received training in pig welfare, husbandry and handling and this has allowed the commencement of unannounced inspections of piggeries," he said.

Animal rights campaigner Emma Haswell, who featured on the 60 Minutes programme, congratulated the RSPCA on finding a backbone under its new president.

"The last time I spoke to the RSPCA in regard to pigs, they refused to come near a piggery," she said.

"I am thrilled with the new board, they are obviously very committed to getting things back on track."

Rodney Dunn, of the Agrarian Kitchen at Lachlan near New Norfolk, runs free-range pigs and said he would never buy intensively farmed pork.

"Welfare issues aside, another aspect is the flavour as well," he said.

"One of the biggest differences is the colour of the meat -- something that is allowed to forage in the paddock is darker and also firmer in flesh whereas commercially reared meat is flabby and loose with no muscle definition and the meat is quite dry."

Mr Dunn said consumer preference could change farming practices.