Pig farm­ing rules a le­gal cru­elty

Central Leader - - News -

Just about every­one’s a loser in the great pork con­tro­versy. Par­tic­u­larly the pigs.

A few in­flu­en­tial hu­mans look and sound un­think­ing/ ir­re­spon­si­ble/ in­hu­mane in vary­ing de­grees.

Notably the ex­perts who draft, po­lice and ex­ploit the reg­u­la­tions which are at the core of the con­tro­versy.

How can any­one with any in­tel­li­gence, sen­si­tiv­ity and hu­man­ity be­lieve that hous­ing an­i­mals in a space barely big­ger than they are is any­thing other than bar­baric, cruel and to­tally un­ac­cept­able?

Peo­ple who in­ter­pret what are clearly bad­ly­drafted and crazy rules in this way are do­ing so for their own con­ve­nience and profit.

The dither­ing and un­con­vinc­ing spokesman for the pork board on tele­vi­sion didn’t even be­gin to mount any case for the de­fence.

His stum­bling ex­pla­na­tion – that sows are stroppy and ag­gres­sive to each other at stages of preg­nancy and must be pro­tected from in­jury – in no way jus­ti­fied pin­ning them in cages with only cen­time­tres to spare.

That ap­pears to be ac- cepted by pork peo­ple as be­ing good and nec­es­sary prac­tice.

And the owner – ap­par­ently a for­mer pork board chair­man – was al­ter­nately un­con­vinc­ing and bel­liger­ent.

Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture David Carter wasn’t much bet­ter, at first plead­ing sur­pris­ingly that he didn’t know that such trav­es­ties were be­ing prac­tised and then crit­i­cis­ing an­i­mal wel­fare ac­tivists who took for­mer pork board ad­ver­tis­ing front­man Mike King to the farm.

His re­sponse: They should have told him or his of­fi­cers what they had found, not gone pub­lic so ef­fec­tively.

Go­ing by the first re­ac­tion of in­spec­tors who called next day, that would have been a waste of time.

They seem to have run their tape mea­sures over the crates and de­cided that the to­tally non­sen­si­cal reg­u­la­tions which con­demn pigs to th­ese con­di­tions were not be­ing breached.

Now, be­lat­edly, the gov­ern­ment wants the rules in­ves­ti­gated and re­drafted by the end of the year.

Pre­sum­ably by the same heart­less or un­think­ing law drafts­men who pro­duced the present in­hu­mane code.

Among other re­sponses was a rather righ­teous re­ac­tion from a daily me­dia colum­nist who lam­basted Mike King for not know­ing that this is what hap­pens on money-mak­ing pig farms.

And then sug­gest­ing archly that King should hand back the fee he got for fronting pork pro­mo­tion.

Ac­tu­ally, Mike King did seem ill at ease over that as­pect of his in­volve­ment which he stressed over and over re­sulted from ig­no­rance.

I can only sug­gest that if ev­ery me­dia celebrity or jour­nal­ist was re­quired by law or con­science to re­pay money earned while un­wit­tingly or ir­re­spon­si­bly ad­vanc­ing what seemed good causes at the time which failed later, then the lists of celebrity bankrupts would soar – and fast.

And among the names would be those me­dia fi­nan­cial writ­ers and an­a­lysts who ticked the boxes in one way or an­other for what have since been re­vealed as in­com­pe­tent and, in some cases, re­cent and tragic shonky in­vest­ment pack­ages.

Thou­sands of in­vestors who be­lieved them lost mil­lions.

Like Mike King, they ac­cepted smooth­tongued as­sur­ances that all was well. The only dif­fer­ence – those pub­licly-ac­cepted me­dia ex­perts have not so far re­canted and ad­mit­ted re­spon­si­bil­ity as he has.

My test sug­ges­tion: If the de­part­men­tal and farm­ing ex­perts be­lieve there is no harm in hous­ing highly in­tel­li­gent pigs in this way, per­haps they would like to join in a re­run of a piece of ear­lier Green Party cam­paign­ing.

Then Sue Ked­g­ley was ef­fec­tively pho­tographed in­side a sow crate on Par­lia­ment’s steps to stress the in­hu­man­ity in­volved.

So let the min­is­ter, his of­fi­cers and con­sul­tants, plus pork board spokes­men, spend weeks in a skin-tight metal cage in the build-up to out­law­ing what they will then be­lat­edly recog­nise is a harshly cruel sys­tem.

And fast. • A mat­ter of record: My wife and I were both joint pres­i­dents of Safe at a stage of its for­ma­tive years in the 1970s.

Dur­ing those years, she was also threat­ened by South African heart trans­plant pi­o­neer Dr Chris­ti­aan Barnard through one of the city’s big le­gal fac­to­ries.

He/they de­manded she “with­draw and apol­o­gise or else” com­ments in one of her Auck­land Star col­umns on his bar­barous trans­plant ex­per­i­ments with ba­boons.

When she replied with quotes from an in­ter­view here with Brian Ed­wards in which Barnard boasted of an ex­per­i­ment when he put a sec­ond head on a dog “as a gim­mick”, the lawyers re­treated into their high rise cham­bers and were never heard from again.

The su­percity – two views.

From Den­nis Terry, Ti­ti­rangi: “The bleat­ing com­ing from some lo­cal body politi­cians about one city gov­er­nance is rather ironic. With the prospect of be­ing ejected from the tax and ratepayer funded gravy train, they should now know how we the fun­ders have felt be­ing ig­nored in our at­tempts to get them to cease their prof­li­gate spending.

“Waitakere city has the high­est num­ber of coun­cil em­ploy­ees per ratepayer in the Auck­land re­gion. Why?

“The Royal Com­mis­sion and the ma­jor­ity of sub­mit­ters iden­ti­fied the lack of co­he­sion in Auck­land’s gov­er­nance. Petty parochial­ism has got in the way of many ideas that would ben­e­fit the run­ning of the city, par­tic­u­larly trans­port and a sec­ond har­bour cross­ing.

“The ag­grieved in­cum­bents talk­ing about the lack of democ­racy is just a red her­ring as more of­ten than not those who talk the most about democ­racy are those least likely to prac­tise it.

“Let’s not for­get that those vot­ing in lo­cal body elec­tions are usu­ally not much more than one in three of those el­i­gi­ble, so the cries of out- rage are highly ex­ag­ger­ated.

“The city will ben­e­fit by be­ing run on more busi­ness-like prin­ci­ples.”

From Trevor Walsh: “Michael Bas­sett’s dis­missal of your con­cerns as be­ing the same old ar­gu­ments demon­strates a closed mind and a fixed agenda.

“While I am sup­port­ive of a num­ber of Act’s philoso­phies, I am dis­ap­pointed that Act is back­ing the gov­ern­ment on this is­sue be­cause I see the im­po­si­tion of a su­percity regime as anti-demo­cratic and Act has al­ways pro­moted it­self as the pro-democ­racy party.

“Oh how power can cor­rupt one’s ideals.

“If the gov­ern­ment is so sure that a su­percity is go­ing to be good for the res­i­dents of the Auck­land re­gion why not have a bind­ing ref­er­en­dum of the ratepay­ers in the re­gions to be ab­sorbed?

“This is the only demo­cratic way to pro­ceed.”

To con­tact Pat Booth email off­pat@snl.co.nz or write care of this news­pa­per. All replies are open for pub­li­ca­tion un­less marked Not For Pub­li­ca­tion.

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