8 Jun 2010

Fears pig welfare code will disadvantage NZ farmers

7:02 am on 8 June 2010

A number of submitters to a new pig welfare code are calling for a levy to be imposed on pork imported from countries that do not meet the animal welfare standards it sets.

The draft code recommends limiting the use of farrowing crates to four weeks from the end of this year, and sow stalls to four weeks after mating from 2013.

It also proposes a complete phase-out of stalls and crates by 2017.

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, which is considering 300 submissions on the code, says it is looking into whether the code creates a competitive disadvantage for New Zealand pig farmers.

But committee chair John Hellstrom says New Zealand cannot levy, or impose trade restrictions on, imported pork from countries with inferior welfare standards.

Dr Hellstrom says the committee hopes to confirm a final version of the pig welfare code in August before presenting it to the Minister of Agriculture.