Federated Farmers President Charlie Pederson’s spin on caged animal welfare is cruel talk, when there are far more humane options available according to Soil & Health.
Mr Pederson was commenting on battery farming of poultry and pigs on TV3’s The Killing Fields 60 Minutes program last night.
“For Mr Pederson to repeat that the animals were likely to be safer and in better conditions than free range alternatives is a case of outright denial of the obvious”, said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning, ‘Mr Pederson should not be the apologist for those farmers that choose to continue barbaric methods of production.”
Caged and extremely stressed pigs were shown along with footage of battery chickens dead and alive, and also of dead and impoverished cows from the recent successful prosecution of a dairy farm manager.
“Federated Farmers have plenty of members that are very humane in their animal management and any attempt to defend the level of greed based cruelty shown by 60 Minutes would be better left to those directly responsible.”
“Mr Pederson would be better showing the good examples of organic farming where intensification is limited and pigs and poultry have an opportunity to express some natural behaviour, see the light of day and know what it is like to walk normally,” said Mr Browning.
BioGro Production Standards for example state that poultry must have unrestricted access to outside runs, which must provide access to fresh grass or a forage crop containing a diversity of species.
The BioGro Standards also prohibit factory farming or intensive livestock farming in enclosures with no pastoral access. Herd animals must not be kept individually.
“The real issues of intensification and animal welfare need facing up to and addressing,” said Mr Browning, “and while maintaining a good livelihood, organic producers and most of their neighbours are able to treat their livestock with far more respect than those on the 60 Minutes program.”
Soil & Health appreciates 60 Minutes Rod Vaughn, author Jeffery Mason and zoologist Dr Michael Morris for giving some insight into New Zealand factory farming.