Commerce Commission agrees PigCare label is misleading

Following our complaint in 2016 to the Commerce Commission, and then many more from members of the public, NZ Pork have been told to change their PigCare label. The investigation found the label may be in breach of the Fair Trading Act and a compliance letter was issued. Be warned though, despite the compliance letter and advice, the animal welfare requirements for PigCare do not go beyond the lowest standards for the treatment of pigs required by law.

Consumer NZ have reported on the Commerce Commission investigation, noting that PigCare allows the use of farrowing crates. Farrowing crates are cages the pork industry puts mother pigs in, just before giving birth. The pigs are confined for close to five weeks, two to three times a year while nursing their babies.

“The Commerce Commission finding that the PigCare label needed to be changed to ensure it wasn’t breaching the Fair Trading Act is a good result. PigCare allows mother pigs to be kept in cages that prevent them from even turning around, and those being fattened for meat confined in dark, crowded pens, never to see the light of day until they are sent to be killed. The way pigs are farmed is appalling.” says SAFE Campaigns and Policy Officer Stephen Manson.

A Christchurch PigCare accredited farm was investigated in 2013 and the shocking treatment of the animals was visually documented. Significant non-compliance with the pig code of welfare was found when MPI followed up on the evidence. Some pigs were suffering so much they had to be killed immediately. A follow-up investigation a year later found even worse conditions on the same farm. These exposés caused widespread public outrage.

As well as this, over half of the pork in NZ is imported with no restrictions on welfare grounds. The best thing people that care about animals, and are concerned about pig welfare, can do is to choose to avoid pig products. As an alternative, you can try one of the many great recipes here.

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27 June 2017