The horrendous conditions animals are living in at a Canterbury pig farm are completely unacceptable and show that MPI are failing to do their job by putting economic interests ahead of animal welfare, said the Green Party today.
Footage obtained by Farm Watch and SAFE from a Canterbury farm, which featured tonight on TV One's Sunday programme, showed animals living in horrendous conditions and revealed how inadequate New Zealand's regulation of the pig industry is.
Documents obtained show that this farm was investigated by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in April 2013 following a complaint. In August 2013, MPI claimed that the farm was compliant.
"The video footage, which was taken this year, shows the disgusting and squalid conditions that these pigs are still living in," said Green Party animal welfare spokesperson Mojo Mathers today.
"We don't believe that MPI is the right body to be monitoring animal welfare on intensive factory farms because they have a conflict of interest between promoting intensive farming and ensuring decent animal welfare.
"This is why the Green Party wants to see an independent Commissioner for Animal Welfare established. This is the only impartial way to ensure that economic interests are not put ahead of decent animal welfare standards.
"The current Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, recently reported from select committee, will do little to improve this situation.
"MPI are effectively relying on self-regulation by the pig industry and, as can be seen, even with clear evidence of appalling conditions MPI are favouring economic interests ahead of animal suffering.
"There is a strong need to safeguard the welfare of animals. This is not only essential if we are to maintain New Zealand's international reputation, but is necessary if to protect the viability of farmers who do put animal welfare first. " said Ms Mathers.