Piggery break-in upsets manager

SUE O'DOWD
Last updated 07:05 10/07/2014

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The manager of a Hawera piggery has barely slept since learning her property was invaded by animal activists.

Footage issued by Farmwatch and shown on television this week depicted what it said was a trolley and instruments caked with blood in the piggery.

The manager, who did not want to be named, said she was disturbed and upset the piggery had been broken into and had advised police. She said the trolley had iodine stains on it, not bloodstains, and was used to transport equipment to inoculate piglets and clip their tails. The piglets were held by a staff member for the procedures and not placed on the trolley.

The piggery passed an Asure Quality audit last year and is due for its 2014 audit this month.

The former chairman of the Taranaki Pig Producers' Association has rejected claims in the footage.

Ted Gane, of Hawera, who buys 10-week-old weaner pigs and raises about 500 in various stages of growth, said good practices in piggeries were never shown on television. "Yet 99 per cent of pigs in New Zealand are reared well," he said.

"I'm speaking up because a whole lot of lies are continually being put out there." He said the Hawera piggery that was filmed was a breeding unit with 4000 pigs.

"Farms are not 100 per cent perfect. There'll probably always be a couple of pigs below par among that number of animals," he said.

Iodine was sprayed on piglets after their tails were clipped within 24 hours of birth when they also received an iron injection. Tail-clipping stopped them being bitten.

NZ Pork chairman Ian Carter, who has 2000 pigs in his Oamaru breeding unit, said the portrayal of the piggery at night when lighting was limited reflected it unfairly. The industry had spent a lot of time handling consumers' concerns and had introduced independent audits so customers could have confidence about what they were eating.

He knew of no other country that audited its pig industry. In addition to animal health and welfare requirements, the annual audit would now cover a piggery's aesthetics and appearance.

Carter said animal extremists were quite open about what they were doing but their activities were compromising the industry's biosecurity and the health of the animals they claimed they were trying to protect.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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