Piggery Cruelty on Today Tonight tonight

Today Tonight is probably one of my least favourite shows, but I’ll be watching it tonight at 6.30. I understand that they are planing to screen a story tonight on conditions in a piggery in South Australia. While I imagine the conditions there are similar to what the vast majority of mother pigs endure in factory farms around Australia, this particular piggery apparently is part owned by Amanda Vanstone.

This will no doubt provide the opportunity for inevitable comparisons with detention centres for animals.

The Code of Practice for the welfare of pigs is currently being reviewed. The draft of the new Code of Practice will allow conditions such as will be shown on Today Tonight to continue virtually unchanged. More details about that, including suggested actions you could take, can be found by clicking on this link or this link.

I have seen some details of what the conditions are like for breeding sows in the piggery, which include some very strong assertions that the current Code of Practice relating to cruelty to pigs has been breached. Again, this is actually not unusual in Australia, but if it takes the fact that a government Minister is investing in one of them to make it newsworthy, so be it.

As with many other factory farmed animals, what pigs endure is simply abominable. There is an almost total lack of interest at the national level of politics for adequate and properly enforced animal welfare standards, which is why people in the community who are concerned about the what is really happening behind the veneer of reassuring spin and PR campaigns have no option but to keep using direct action to bring the confronting reality direct to the public.

State governments have the power to ensure proper and enforceable standards. I hope reports like this will make them act, but they certainly won’t without community pressure.

UPDATE: This report on the ABC website includes a response by the company running the piggery. Just in case you were still under the delusion that Codes of Practice governing the welfare of pigs and other animals have any weight, the reported comments of the Australian Pork Farms Group should clear up any misapprehension:

The piggery, which is run by Australian Pork Farms Group, says some of its stalls are 10 centimetres shorter than the size suggested by the Commonwealth code of practice.

But the company says all the equipment met the standards in place at the time of its installation and the minimum size is only a suggestion.

The chief executive of the Australian Pork Farms Group, Rod Hammann, says the guidelines constantly change and no piggery could afford to keep upgrading its equipment every time the code was updated.

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  1. Andrew Bartlett (post 4):
    No worries, At least you took the trouble to inform all of us; thanks.

  2. I watched it and it enraged me. Poor old sows crammed into tiny pens where they cannot even move their legs, where the misery on their faces is human. Humans have no right to treat animals in this way, not ever.

    Vanstone is a $1 million owner of 6 such piggeries and says she doesn’t know what goes on but her husband is apparently one of the bosses. Vanstone doesn’t have a bloody clue what DIMA get up to either though so it is not surprising she didn’t know what was happening.

    Many of my relatives are pig farmers but they do not lock animals in tiny pens in sheds. It was truly, truly sickening.

  3. Marilyn Shepherd:
    There’s efficiency and there’s efficiency.

    The screen-jockeys who have never seen a pig in their lives imagine that the the only alternative to their horribly-expensive, cruel and overall inefficient piggeries is disease-ridden underweight pigs wallowing in filth out in the open.

    Those of us who have actually had pigs know that there are all sorts of very efficient, very clean, flexible and far less expensive alternatives …. and the pigs seem contented too. I used to laugh at what we called the “motel-keepers” who planned overseas holidays and new cars at 42cents/pound and who feared going broke at 39 cents/pound.

  4. “I am just a shareholder” she says.

    I am competely fed up with sharholders and their reported demands for higher and higher dividends. They are made the scape goats of companies who insist they are only acting to protect sharholder interests which always seems to work out deleteriously for everyone else and how these same shareholders can scapegoat the other way too, with their Seargent Schultz declarations. The whole idea of buying shares seems like a good one, but in reality is simply an abominable combination of greed and laziness. I think its time something was done to make shareholders accountable for what happens in businessess they OWN.

    What is it about parliamentarians and piggeries? I had a begruding respect for Amanda Vanstone. No more, and if she claims she knows nothing of what goes on in a business she has invested in, then she is simply alerting us to what an ignorant fool she is.

  5. I had no respect for Amandatory Vanstone before and wish we could lock her up in one of her own pigpens.

  6. They are not to be prosecuted. Huh?? What is the use of the RSPCA?

    But then we do have a government and ministers who literally get away with murder, war crimes and jailing innocent children.

  7. I am a vegan, because of the horrendous way we treat farm animals in australia. I believe if you eat meat, you should know exactly where it comes from. There is nothing unusual about this piggery, 98 percent of pork comes from intensively farmed pigs like these, that have constant body sores from rubbing on the cages, are constantly distressed and cannot even walk. KR Castlemaine has brought out a free range bacon and ham, so be aware there is an alternative to this, because whenever you buy pork products from a supermarket they were kept like this. I think it’s great that people have voiced their disgust, but now you are aware if you don’t buy free range (local butchers sometimes sell from little farms) then you are condoning it, and are no better than Amanda Vanstone.

  8. I am a vegetarian since my youth after watching my grandparents slaughter animals. It’s disgusting to think that in the civilised world we are worse than the creatures we call animals.

  9. it does appear to this gal, that the deadly sins of greed and gluttony manifest themselves in the most tragic ways.

    From sweatshops to piggeries..the powerful very rarely avoid the temptation to screw the powerless for every last pound of flesh. (metaphorically and physically).

  10. I believe that most Australians have no idea of these terrible practices.
    It is hard to imagine anyone, even a person who thinks it is okay to lock children behind wire, to condone and profit from these practices.
    So, she is also a pig farmer.

  11. A lot of people eat meat …. but is there isn’t any reason at all to be cruel to the animals that provide that meat.

  12. To confine a pig in such a way that denies it the right to be able to move around freely and to prevent mother sows from interacting with their young is absolute cruelty .Intensive farming of pigs should be banned.

  13. Thank you Amanda Vanstone! I am a free range pig farmer and this story may finally break through to people that the pork they are eating is not raised ‘babe’ style as so many of them seem to believe. But how long before its all forgotten? How many will actually go into Coles, Woolworths or a butcher shop and even ask for free range? Thats the only way we will get change in the pig industry.

  14. To all those who are genuinely concerned about the plight of intensively farmed pigs.
    Why not give up eating pork,ham and bacon,it’s not hard to do.
    Just think of it as an act of kindness toward these poor suffering creatures.

  15. Barbara Kerris:
    Intensive piggeries should be banned, not just because they are cruel but because, despite all the beautiful spreadsheets, they are so inefficient. Fat chance that they will ever be banned though because the banks and other lenders love them …. the irony is that it is the farmers themselves who are being farmed by the finance industry..

  16. Leem McCosker
    Thankyou For your post.
    People like you do ,more for animal welfare than everybody saying dont eat pork
    The fact is 96 percent of people eat meat of some sort.
    Your example should be adopted Australia wide a the public should be told to buy free range only not to stop eating meat.
    This may be of interest to you.
    We have other countries that eat pork wanting to talk with us.
    Lets get the farmers back where they belong and be rid of the cruel intensive people who are not farmers but harmers not only to animals but to our health
    Thank you Lee

    I still think we need an open public enquiry into RSPCA.

    I for one would be happy to give evidence along with three or four lawyers who work with us on aninal welfare.
    Happy to give evidence!

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