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New Zealand has big problem with pig surplus

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | April 4, 2020
Government officials and pork industry leaders have met again via conference call to try and resolve concerns about a looming animal welfare crisis facing the sector.
New Zealand pigs
Animals   New Zealand pigs
As RNZ reported during the week, the pork industry has been getting increasingly worried about the growing number of surplus pigs on farms that cannot be sent to independent butchers. It has been urging the government to help.

Topics: New Zealand pig

Last night, the government decided butchers will be allowed to process pork, but only to supply supermarkets or retailers that are allowed to open.

That news disappointed NZ Pork chief executive David Baines, who does not think it will solve the problem which is starting to overwhelm farms.

Baines said the sector had no place to house up to 5000 surplus pigs on farms every week.

"We anticipate large-scale culling of pigs will have to begin in New Zealand in a matter of weeks.

"There is no capacity to hold surplus pigs on farm. Commercial farms typically supply pigs to market on a weekly basis and do not carry spare holding capacity.

Overcrowding of pigs in pens would lead to welfare issues under the animal welfare code, he said.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said he realised the decision was not a perfect solution to what was a real dilemma for the industry.

''The pork supply that goes through supermarkets doesn't cover all of the pigs. We are looking at ways of having those pigs slaughtered and broken down into what could be consumer-ready products.''