Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: SAFE NZ
The pig meat industry is struggling to store its meat while independent butchers are closed during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“The Government needs to stop the insemination of sows if the industry is struggling to house pigs,” says Campaigns Manager Marianne Macdonald. “If animal welfare was a high priority, the industry would figure out a way to protect their pigs’ welfare. Calling for supply chains to re-open during a pandemic is a risk to public health.”
SAFE understands the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) are holding regular national meetings with animal welfare groups regarding COVID-19. However, the Ministry is yet to announce their plans on how they will protect farmed animals during the pandemic. SAFE has sought an update from MPI but have yet to receive a response.
The lockdown has applied pressure to the whole country, and there are millions of animals on farms that need to be looked after. Slaughterhouse workers are at risk of COVID as well.
“The Government has gone above and beyond to protect human health, but when it comes to animals, they are lagging behind. Protecting animals also protects people so it is important to know what MPI plans to do to ensure the welfare of these animals.”
SAFE is New Zealand’s leading animal rights organisation.
We’re working towards a world where animals are understood and respected in such a way that they are no longer exploited, abused or made to suffer.
– Businesses that are considered essential services are those that provide the necessities of life for everyone in New Zealand. Butchers, fresh produce grocers and bakeries are not considered essential services as supermarkets fulfil the same purpose.
– COVID-19 emerged from a wet market in Wuhan where farmed wildlife was sold, but there have been many zoonotic diseases have developed as a result of intensive farming, especially of pigs and chickens. The emergence of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 have increased in recent decades due to the increased intensification of animal agriculture.
– The natural lifespan of a pig is between 10 and 15 years, but most piglets on farms are killed at only six months of age. Sows are kept alive for three to five years, and are repeatedly impregnated after each litter is taken away.
– Swine flu spreads among pigs through close physical contact and contact with contaminated objects. It is estimated that up to 1.4 billion people have contracted the illness, of whom as many as half a million died. Swine flu outbreaks are common in the United States, where similarly to New Zealand, pigs are intensively farmed.
– Bird flu is a highly contagious infectious illness. It is mainly found in birds and is especially deadly for bird species such as chickens and ducks. Intensively farmed chickens and egg-laying hens are particularly vulnerable to this disease, due to the fact that the animals are usually kept closely confine in unhygienic spaces with unnaturally high stocking densities. Once an outbreak occurs on a farm, all birds are killed in an effort to stop the disease from spreading.