28 Nov 2014

Piggery escapes MPI prosecution

6:22 pm on 28 November 2014

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) does not have enough evidence to lay charges against a piggery where animals were allegedly living in squalid conditions, it says.

The ministry investigated properties in Christchurch and Kumeu in response to video footage from the piggeries gathered by animal rights activists and released by Farmwatch.

The Christchurch footage taken in June this year showed a rat infestation, dead piglets and a dead pig.

MPI compliance director Dean Baigent said today there was a two-month delay between the filming and officials becoming aware of it.

Vets who viewed the footage were unable to conclude that the rats had caused harm to the pigs, or establish how the adult pig and the piglets had died.

Mr Baigent said MPI had regularly inspected the Christchurch piggery since the investigation and had not found any animal health or welfare issues.

There was also insufficient evidence to prosecute the Kumeu piggery featured in footage of a pig being euthanised and piglets being loaded onto a truck, he said,

MPI said it had 28 successful animal welfare prosecutions last year.

Farmwatch investigator John Darroch, the activist who secretly shot footage, said he was not surprised the piggeries would not be prosecuted. However, he was disappointed at the outcome.

"What this really highlights is that factory farming, while absolutely horrific and shocking to the public, it's entirely legal in New Zealand. I think this highlights the need to get rid of factory farming, not a failure of enforcement."

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