Most pigs farmed in New Zealand are confined indoors at high densities, with the goal of producing large volumes of cheap meat. The pigs, however, pay the price as they attempt to cope with the artificial conditions, unnatural social groups and stressful farming practices.
Pigs are highly intelligent and social animals. They need continual stimulation, social interaction and lots of open space. Factory farming deprives them of their most basic needs: fresh air, sunlight, mud baths for keeping cool, clean water, soft bedding, and fresh food.
In 2009 SAFE's dedicated ‘Love Pigs' campaign led to a real change in the welfare and regard of pigs. Images of mother pigs suffering in sow stalls featured on national television and shocked the nation. Ordinary Kiwis saw for themselves the suffering caused when pigs are forced to spend their whole lives confined, unable even to turn around. The subsequent outcry caused a controversy that 18 months later led to a phase-out of the stalls.
Despite this progress, the pig industry still relies on factory farming systems and fails on a number of animal welfare counts. Farrowing crates are still in widespread use and tens of thousands of pigs are fattened up in small, barren pens.
In addition, a large proportion of pork products in the supermarket or served in restaurants are imported and many of these come from intensive factory farming conditions.