And this little piggie roamed the range

The Soil & Health Association of NZ seems to be pushing things too far, in saying pig farmers who are practising humane free-range animal management deserve the benefit of Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (McoOL), and inhumane farmers need further “outing”.

“Good clear labelling on animal products including pork that shows the country of origin and farming style, should be available to New Zealand consumers who wish to choose their food ethically,” said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“The New Zealand pork industry which has been very disadvantaged by the lack of Country of Origin Labelling, with up to one million kg of pork imported weekly, must not let that disadvantage be used as an excuse for cruel farming practices here, but implement a labelling code of practice that supports its free-range farmers.”

But what exactly is stopping these farmers from appropriately labelling their goods themselves?

How about: “BONZER BACON – made from pigs that were born and bred in NZ, ran free, were never locked in sow crates and were happy right up until the moment the butcher cut their throats?”

If there’s a marketing advantage, as the organic buffs contend, the farmers will do nicely from this initiative.

Likewise, there’s nothing to stop them blowing the whistle to the authorites if they know of producers who are breaking the animal welfare regulations. More than that, they have a duty – surely – to do so.

So why must they press for more regulation?

Browning seems chuffed with SAFE’s (Save Animals from Exploitation) work in exposing the cruelty of battery type pig farming this week along with comedian Mike King, who – we are reminded – had previously promoted NZ Pork in advertising.

“SAFE has shown up farming practices that are often hidden by poor retail labelling that disadvantages the farmers that show responsibility with animal welfare,” said Mr Browning.

“Ambiguous and misleading labelling that hides the Country of Origin of often cruelly raised imported pork combined with little effort by retailers to source humanely raised pork has encouraged cheap and cruel farming methods.”

“Clear labelling will support consumer choice of sustainable and ethically produced foods and encourage demand for products from the better farmers. Why should those that produce with humanity and environmental care be disadvantaged by poor labelling regulations.”

Soil & Health is pressing for the “urgent implementation” of Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling in New Zealand, as happened a few months ago in the United States, along with a pork industry labelling code of practice that differentiates between free range and battery intensive raised pork.

Good on ’em.

But the Government is somewhat busy doing all sorts of other things at the moment and MCooL isn’t too high in priorities.

One Response to And this little piggie roamed the range

  1. Steffan says:

    In an ideal world I could say fair comment Alf, less regulation and consumer led demand to ensure just the market led solutions that you allude to. However unfortunately things arent ideal and we have crap product flooding the market hidden in flakey local type labels that many consumers are being deceived by or is oozed into salamis and catering commodities. Inghams chicken is another, pretending through extensive advertising and semantics that nothing that smacks of GE is involved with their poultry, yet is full noise feeding the junk to the chooks. Or suggesting that there are no artificial ingredients in their processed chicken products, when again some do contain some such ingredients.
    The government is busy and so it should be, but giving consumers free choice should fit with its free choice partners Rodney and Sir Roger n co. MCoOL while a regulation is about transparency and free choice and allows people to support more easily their own neighbours and community, region and country. Whats wrong with that?
    Re the Animal Welfare regs; well they are very much about holding welfare standards at a best possible while still earning maximum returns. All fine except the max returns come way ahead of the welfare stds and allow a lot of what the NZ public get to see, thanks to SAFEs efforts exposing battery poultry or piggery farms.

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