New pig welfare code to phase out sow stalls

  • David Carter

Agriculture Minister David Carter has announced that the use of sow stalls on New Zealand pig farms is to be limited to four weeks after mating in 2012, and prohibited by the end of 2015.

Mr Carter has today released the Animal Welfare (Pigs) Code of Welfare 2010 which will come into effect on Friday.

“The growing unease of many New Zealanders about the use of sow stalls, which I share, made it clear that change was necessary. The science also supports this,” says Mr Carter.

“The reality is, worldwide there is increasing opposition to highly intensive systems of pig farming and New Zealand has a role to play in leading the way.

“Dry sow stalls are currently in use in most countries, including USA, Canada and most of the European Union. The Australian pork industry recently voted to pursue the voluntary phasing out of sow stalls by 2017.

“The new Code confirms New Zealand’s position as a world leader on animal welfare and demonstrates the priority this Government places on it.”

The new Code calls for the use of sow stalls after mating to be limited to four weeks by 3 December 2012, a prohibition on the use of sow stalls after mating by 3 December 2015, and new limits on the use of farrowing crates.

“While the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee believes that the use of farrowing crates should also be phased out, it recognises this can only happen when alternative management systems and technologies are in place,” says Mr Carter.

“These must take the welfare of sows and piglets into account, and must also allow our pork producers to remain competitive.

“A five-year time frame on phasing out sow stalls will allow farmers to change their production systems and train staff in new management skills so that the long-term sustainability of our pig industry is not put at risk,” Mr Carter says.

View the Animal Welfare (Pigs) Code of Welfare 2010