Producers post pig farm PR videos

Kate PollardCountryman

Australian pig producers insist they have nothing to hide and have posted their own YouTube footage of what happens on a pig farm to counteract negative videos posted recently.

There have been four cases of trespassing in Australian piggeries in the past month, including two at piggeries in Young, NSW.

Illegally hidden cameras were found at one piggery in May and last month animal activists trespassed on Ean Pollard's Landsdown piggery and uploaded footage of pigs in distress to YouTube.

Australian Pork chief executive Andrew Spencer said the footage gave the public the wrong impression of what happened on a farm.

"The animal rights movement has accused our industry of being non-transparent which we completely refute," he said.

To show transparency Australian Pork, with the help of Mr Pollard, have produced an almost three minute-long clip on what happens on the pig farm from the farmer's perspective.

"We thought people really need to have a good look at that farm," Mr Spencer said.

"If they want to know what is going on and why the animals are in individual pens, they need to understand a bit more of the big picture."

"And they need to see it in daylight, need to have things explained to them and they can make their own judgements."

Since being posted on June 24, Mr Spencer said feedback on the video, including some from industry, had been extremely positive.

He believed animal activists were hiding behind animal welfare as an issue, when really they were anti-animal farming.

"The Australian Pork Industry is one of the leading pork industries in the world for animal welfare initiatives and the best example of that is our voluntary sow stall phase out which we are rightly very proud of," he said.

With strong support from community and government, Mr Spencer said the phase out had not been supported by the animal rights movement.

He said what was needed was for the agriculture industry to unite and work together.

"They (these issues) are not limited to the pork industry and cover all of the meat producing industries and all of the livestock producing industries surrounding animal welfare," he said.

Last September, as part of an annual industry survey, Australian Pork producers were more than halfway to achieving a full phase out of sow stalls two years after voluntary measures were put in place.

When measured again this September, Mr Spencer said Australian Pork was hoping to have 60 per cent of producers sow stall free.

With about 260,000 sows in Australia, the industry is on a growth trajectory after high input costs and low returns in 2007 and 2008 saw 15 per cent of producers leave.

Since then, there has been steady growth due to the increase in number of pigs processed and an increase in carcass size.

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