Author Topic: Animal welfare advocates to publish footage of pigs in pig farms in Australia.  (Read 661 times)

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New animal rights group attempts to expose pig cruelty in Bacon Week 

ABC Rural  Lucy Barbour 

Updated 4 hours 9 minutes ago

    Animal activists launch new pig cruelty campaign height=227 Photo: A new animal rights group is publishing videos of alleged animal cruelty filmed secretly on farms across Australia. (Australian Pork Limited)     

A new animal rights group called Aussie Farms will publish video footage every night this week of what it describes as animal cruelty in Australian piggeries.

It coincides with the pork industry's celebration of National Bacon Week and comes amid calls from the farming sector for the introduction of laws that make it illegal for activists to secretly film on farm.

The Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has described animal activists who break into farms to gather footage as 'vigilantes'.

He's also concerned about the potential biosecurity risk posed by intruders given the strict quarantine arrangements required in intensive farming operations.

Controversial 'ag-gag laws' have already been introduced in some parts of the United States.

Aussie Farms operations manager, Chris Delforce says the recent debate hasn't deterred animal activists.

"I don't think it's made much of an impact," he said.

"I think it's just kind of hardened their resolve that the industry is getting more and more desperate and people are starting to wake up. It's obviously an issue for the industry that they must be losing customers, that people are starting to find out about what they're doing to animals."

Mr Delforce says Aussie Farms uploaded the footage, which was shot in November 2013.

"The ultimate end game is to have Australians being able to choose whether they do or don't [know where their pork comes from] with the most evidence available to them. If someone wants to find out how their food is raised, it's very difficult for them to find current and extensive evidence of that," Mr Delforce said.

He maintains the video footage was sent to Aussie Farms anonymously, and that uploading it rather than informing authorities like the Department of Primary Industries or RSPCA, was the most effective way to draw attention to any possible animal wel breaches.

"If we do find things that are illegal then we do forward them onto the relevant authorities but it's proved to be a pretty useless exercise, to be honest," he said.

"We've tried to get the RSPCA involved and they're generally very reluctant to move on intensive farms...perhaps because they're not seeing enough of a demand from people for them to take action."

The pork industry has already committed to phasing out sow stalls and about 60 per cent of producers are now sow-stall free.

Chief executive of Australian Pork Limited, Andrew Spencer says the recent Aussie Farms footage doesn't reflect what goes on in the wider pig industry.

"The people who take the footage have no interest in objectively representing what goes on on pig farms," he said.

"What they are doing is raiding people's homes and properties, misrepresenting what they do, lying about them and defaming them on the internet and that's just absolutely nothing to do with transparency.

The footage in the first video published by Aussie Farms shows one sow with bleeding teats. Mr Spencer says the bleeding would've been caused by piglets, whose teeth hadn't been clipped.

In some operations, piglets have their teeth clipped to prevent them damaging the teats while drinking milk. Removal of the teeth can also prevent the young pigs injuring themselves while fighting or playing.

Andrew Spencer says the issue is just one example of why the industry can't please animal activists.

"Here we are being criticised for having bloody teats and on the other hand we're criticised by activists for clipping piglet's teeth, so that's a classic example of the trade-offs involved in managing animal welfare on a pig farm," he said.

"We know that the mortalities of piglets on free range farms, for example, are much higher. What you see often doesn't necessarily reflect intensive production, it just might reflect animal agriculture."

Australian Pork Limited recently launched an education program that teaches primary school children about where pork comes from and how it's produced.

Andrew Spencer hopes it will encourage more people to question the integrity of footage published by animal welfare activists.

They need to question those grotesque images and say, 'is that real or is it something that has been set up and doctored and selectively edited."


http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-24/pig-war/5546466?WT.ac=localnews_canberra