Largest petition in five years handed in to Parliament

Today SAFE's petition to ban farrowing crates signed by 112,844 people, believed to be the largest petition in five years, was handed in to Parliament. The petition was delivered to Green MP and spokesperson for animal welfare Gareth Hughes by SAFE, a live pig called Buttercup and actor Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie.

Farrowing crates, used by many in the New Zealand pig industry, breach of the Animal Welfare Act because they prevent pigs from expressing their normal behaviour, which is a requirement of the Act. Mother pigs (sows) are confined in farrowing crates to give birth and nurse their babies. They are unable to turn around for weeks on end and can even struggle to lie down.

Pigs are highly intelligent animals; equivalent in brainpower to a three-year-old child. They are nurturing mothers but without access to bedding, their natural instincts to build a nest or properly care for their babies are denied. To see the severe frustration in the eyes of these pigs paints a very sad picture, says Campaigns Director Mandy Carter.

“Treating animals like they are nothing more than production units in cages so small they cannot even perform many basic behaviours, is simply unacceptable in 2018 and in New Zealand. The Ministry for Primary Industries likes to boast we have the highest animal welfare standards in the world. It’s now time to make those ambitions a reality.”

Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie is currently making waves overseas in Leave No Trace, a film that recently had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Thomasin says, “I’m proud to support SAFE’s petition to ban cruel farrowing crates. It is unacceptable to treat animals this way.”

Unlike its predecessor, the current Government revealed it would not support many factory-farmed methods deemed cruel by most New Zealanders. Before the 2017 election, both the Labour Party and the Greens pledged to end the use of farrowing crates.

“We call on the Government to stay true to their pre-election promises by banning this appalling practice,” says Ms Carter. "We are so grateful to the many people who care deeply about animals who signed and supported our petition. With your help we will see an end to farrowing crates."


Take action: 

Be part of creating more wins for animals by joining our online action network.

Watch the live social media feed of the petition handover.

View photos from the event.


15 March 2018