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  • 17 Dec 2010 5:11 PM | Anonymous


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    Media Release

    17 December 2010


    Smithfields turn their backs on sow stall promise

    In 2007, Smithfield Foods (one of the largest pork producers in the world) promised to phase out the use of sow stalls in all their operations by 2017.

    Animal welfare groups hailed the decision as the most significant voluntary improvement ever made in pig welfare.  The pressure was off Smithfields and they revelled  in the praise.  For the next 4 years they traded on their empty promise.  Smithfields have recently announced that they are reneging on the pledge to put an end to the suffering of confined sows.

    This may sound familiar.  An industry promise to pursue the voluntary phasing out of sow stalls by 2017?

    Just like Smithfield's, the Australian Pork industry promise to phase out sow stalls is only voluntary and there is nothing to bind industry to fulfil it. We have heard the CEO of Australian Pork compare this undertaking with the banning, by law, of sow stalls in New Zealand in an effort to mislead consumers into believing that there is an actual ban on sow stalls in Australia.

    Sow stalls are not banned here.  In fact we have new legislation that permits their use indefinitely.

    The Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Pigs, is due for review in 2014.  Lets get serious about ending the use of sow stalls and legislate a ban on their use, instead of relying on an industry that is attempting to trade on the ignorance of consumers.

    Smithfield Foods promised an end to sow stalls in 2017.  This footage from Humane Society International shows it’s just business as usual for Smithfields and the promise to end these pig’s suffering is a distance memory.  Don’t let that happen to Australian pigs.  Support the industry when they have actually delivered on their promise, not before.  Demand the pork you buy is actually sow stall free.

    Contact: Lee McCosker 02 6723 2971 or 0401 067 967





  • 19 Oct 2010 7:43 PM | Anonymous

    The UK has set a new precedent for labelling standards on free range pork products. Supermarket giant, Waitrose, has had their campaign for Waitrose pork banned for misleading consumers about the pigs' living conditions.


    The ads, featuring chefs Heston Blumenthal and Delia Smith, said pork sold under the retailer's Essential Waitrose label was deemed to misleadingly suggest Waitrose pork came from pigs that spent the duration of their lives outdoors, when in fact the pigs live in sheds after weaning.  This system of farming is known as outdoor bred (bred free range) and as such the pigs grown for pork are raised indoors.

    "This decision should sound warning bells for all pork producers that choose to misrepresent their product in an attempt to take advantage of the growing free range market
    " said Humane Choice Compliance Manager, Lee McCosker.

    Consumer perceptions of free range pork are that the pigs are free to graze in open pastures.  Packaging and labelling that allude to these conditions but cannot deliver a genuine free range product are deceitful and a blatant effort to mislead the public.

    Vigilance will help to expose such fraudulent claims in Australia and reporting your concerns to us or directly to the ACCC will help stamp out free range fraud.  A matter concerning substitution in Western Australia of cage eggs for free range is currently before the ACCC.

    If you are seeking a guarantee that the free range product is genuine, request that your retailer stock Humane Choice products.  Humane Choice accredits true free range farms that allow their animals to graze on pasture and adhere to animal welfare and environmental standards.

  • 29 Apr 2009 6:31 PM | Anonymous

    Thursday, April 30, 2009

    As the number of people infected with Swine Flu grows, the search for the source of this outbreak continues.

    Mexico, believed to be 'ground zero' for this new strain of swine flu, is home to many large scale, confined pig operations. These 'barns' can house 500,000 pigs in conditions that can only be described as conducive to the development of disease. As agriculture intensifies, so does the risk to human, animal and environmental health.

    What is a confined pig operation? In Australia we call it intensive pig production or factory farms. This method of pork production confines pigs indoors in cramped conditions devoid of sunlight or natural stimulation. They live on top of their own excrement, sheds are poorly ventilated, they are systematically treated with antibiotics that can result in compromised immune systems, artificial lighting, artificial breeding, artificial growth enhancers, all in an environment that would allow the rapid development of viruses such as the new flu strain.

    The housing of pigs in these confinement systems should not be viewed in isolation however. The waste produced from these units is staggering and has been a major cause of concern to people residing near these farms for some time. This article printed in Rolling Stone Magazine, provides a confronting insight into the problem.

    Are you supporting this type of pork production system?

    95% of pigs grown for pork in Australia are produced under confined conditions. You can make a clear statement to industry about your concerns by changing your buying habits. Support free range and organic growers, demand that your butcher stocks nothing less. Humane Choice is the benchmark for sustainably grown, healthy, wholesome pork and is your guarantee that the pigs accredited under this label were grown under natural conditions, not confined to sheds, farrowing crates or sow stalls.

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