On Sunday I was shocked by the follow up story to TVNZ Sunday’s investigation into pig factory farms in New Zealand. A link to the video can be found here.
The footage aired was obtained by FarmWatch, who set up a surveillance camera on a random farm in the North Island. This was a different farm to the one aired the previous week which showed pigs crammed together living in filthy wet conditions and swarms of rats overrunning the pigs.
This weekend’s footage exposes serious physical abuse being inflicted on pigs, including young piglets. The video shows piglets being stomped and punched when they become distressed while being herded into trucks. The footage also shows a farm worker bludgeoning a sow to death with what appears to be a hammer over the course of an hour. The footage was so horrific that it could not be aired in its entirety.
Equally shocking is the fact the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) admitted that there no proactive inspection regime by the Government. With over 100 million farmed animals in New Zealand, this is a serious flaw in our regulation of animal welfare in New Zealand. Despite this, MPI claim they are doing satisfactory work. This begs the questions, how can MPI be satisfied with its enforcement of animal welfare law when abuse of animals seems systematic in intensive farming systems?
Physical abuse and passive cruelty are both two sides of the same coin, and occur because animal welfare law allows for economic considerations and practicalities to be placed ahead of animal welfare. It is time for the wellbeing of animals, whether used in food production or for companionship, to be placed at the centre of animal welfare law.
This is why I have called for the setting up of an independent commissioner for animals. It is obvious the Government does not take animal welfare seriously enough. It goes without saying that, if established, such a commissioner would need to be properly resourced to carry out inspection and enforcement in New Zealand.