Horrific NZ pig cruelty exposed again

New footage shot in 2014 shows yet again horrific factory farming living conditions, shocking neglect and cruelty and physical abuse on New Zealand pig farms. 

In 2009, a campaign led by SAFE uncovered the cruelty inherent on pig factory farms. Now exposes on the Sunday show have shown that the pork industry continues to treat animals in an abhorrent manner and how their ‘PigCare' scheme is misleading consumers.


Christchurch Farm: New Exposé, Old Cruelty

In 2013 activists from Farmwatch visited a farm in Christchurch. What they found horrified even them - seasoned investigators of cruelty. They found  young pigs in severely overcrowded conditions, sows in farrowing crates barely able to move and a dead pig left to rot in a filthy, damp, concrete pen. A complaint was made to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). Significant non-compliance with the pig welfare code was found and a number of pigs were in such bad shapes they had to be killed immediately. A few months later MPI declared that improvements had been made and that the farm now complied with the code. MPI promised to undertake regular monitoring to ensure the ongoing welfare of the animals. In April, exactly one year later, investigators revisited the farm. Unbelievably, they found that conditions were even worse.

  • Squalid conditions, a sow in a farrowing crate so tight that her newborn piglets were squashed to death.
  • Other piglets dying next to their helpless mother.
  • Overcrowding of ‘fattening pigs’ with dozens of rats running over them.
  • Pigs with infected eyes.
  • A dead pig left among living pigs.

"We are absolutely horrified that despite our earlier complaint this farm was allowed to keep the animals in these appalling conditions," says Executive Director Hans Kriek. "MPI can clearly not be trusted to enforce animal welfare legislation. They have an obvious conflict of interest. They are there to protect the farmers and animal welfare is not taken seriously enough."

MPI's obligations

The Ministry of Primary Industries let these animals down. They agreed in 2013 that there were significant issues on the farm and would monitor on an ongoing basis and yet the new footage confirms that conditions did not improve and animals continued to suffer. SAFE is calling for Commissioner for Animals so that animals have an independent voice that looks after their welfare first and foremost.

What's wrong with farrowing crates?

67 per cent of New Zealand pig farmers currently use farrowing crates, which mother pigs stay in whilst nursing their babies for several weeks. These crates have been found to breach the Animal Welfare Act as they do not allow the animals to express their natural behaviour. Find out more.

PigCare - misleading consumers

'PigCare' is a pig farm accreditation scheme that according to the NZ pig industry provides an assurance that all commercial pig farmers meet a high standard of care for their animals. SAFE believes PigCare is extremely misleading as it allows the use of sow stalls and farrowing crates - both systems that have been found not to meet the obligations of the Animal Welfare Act. The farm with these appalling conditions was audited for the PigCare scheme. The auditors found that the welfare and health of the pigs was acceptable. SAFE believes the farm investigated has only just been downgraded from green to ‘amber' meaning until investigators visited the farm it was deemed good enough for NZPork to give the PigCare logo to this farm.

PigCare appears to be designed to fool people into believing that pigs are farmed in a humane manner.


Auckland Farm: more cruelty revealed! July 2014

Footage of pigs being physically abused by farm workers shows that issues in the pig industry could be even worse than previously thought. 

Filmed on a hidden camera by activists from Farmwatch the footage, reveals: 

  • a mother pig’s prolonged suffering as farm workers appear to use a hammer to kill her over an extended period; 
  • rough treatment of screaming piglets, including punching, kicking and stomping; 
  • workers kicking a sow in the face; 
  • a piglet lying injured, seemingly near death, after being crushed.

Watch the full footage. WARNING: may be upsetting.

The latest development follows the first Sunday exposé, which showed the horrific conditions pigs are forced to live in every single day on a Christchurch farm.

 “This latest footage is truly shocking. We can really see that there are major issues with the New Zealand pork industry. Along with the blatant cruelty of factory farming, we are now seeing neglect and physical abuse,” says SAFE head of Campaigns Mandy Carter. “This footage is from the first use of a hidden camera, with the farm selected at random.  If this is what was found on the first attempt, what else is happening to the animals on these farms?”  

“Not only is factory farming rampant in New Zealand, we now have clear evidence of neglect and physical abuse. It is wrong that these animals are suffering. It is wrong that MPI has failed to address these problems.  It is wrong that these issues receive no attention until SAFE and activists uncover them.  It is time for a change.” says Mandy.

As soon as SAFE obtained the footage, the Ministry of Primary Industries was contacted. It is yet to be seen how the complaint will be handled.

Hawera Farm July 2014

In June 2014 investigators from Farmwatch investigated a pig farm in Hawera. What they found was typical of a sick and cruel industry. 

Large sheds of sows (female pigs) were found confined in farrowing crates, pigs were living in pens covered in their own faeces and urine, and a piglet was found in clear need of veterinary care. An old rusty shopping trolley was also found caked with blood and containing filthy veterinary implements. In a disturbing twist, piglets tails were found displayed on the front of the trolley like rotting trophies. Watch the footage.

These Pigs Need Your Help!

  • Boycott pork: send a strong message to the pork industry that you will not support this horrific cruelty.
  • Find out more about SAFE's stop factory farming campaign.