Commerce Commission shows Pigcare label misleadingJune 27th, 2017
New Zealanders are not buying into the pork industry’s latest efforts to mislead people into buying their cruel products, says SAFE. Today Consumer NZ reported that the Commerce Commission found NZ Pork’s PigCare label risked breaching the Fair Trading Act, and issued a compliance letter. SAFE says pigs in factory farms that are accredited under the PigCare label are living in severely crowded indoor conditions; treatment that is opposed by over two thirds of Kiwis. Later this week, on Thursday, 29 June, NZ Pork is judging their ‘100% New Zealand Pork, Bacon & Ham Competition’ for meat that carries their misleading ‘PigCare’ label.
The annual awards from the pork board are given to butchers and meat processors. All meat entered has to have NZ Pork’s own ‘PigCare’ label. In 2016 PigCare was subject to multiple complaints from the public for being misleading, which led to the Commerce Commission investigation. Despite what is implied by NZ Pork, the animal welfare requirements for PigCare do not go beyond the lowest standards for the treatment of pigs required by law.
A Christchurch PigCare accredited farm was investigated in 2013 and the appalling 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.
“The Commerce Commission finding that the PigCare label needed to be changed to ensure it wasn’t breaching the Fair Trading Act, is a great 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.
“The pork industry can contrive all the awards they want, but people who care about animals will be thinking about where bacon and pork come from. Along with the misleading PigCare label, these awards are just another way for NZ Pork to sell more pork, while trying to hide how badly pigs are treated.”
“Scientifically conducted polling shows New Zealanders care about pigs, and do not want them treated in the appalling ways they are on factory farms. It is time for the government to ensure pig farmers are doing what the public expects and, of course, ensure any imports meet at least the same standards. Right now, the best thing people that do not want to support pig cruelty can do is avoid buying pork.” Mr Manson added.