Unsurprisingly, pig farmers are using recent controversy in New Zealand over sow crates to argue for protection against international competition:
Blame imported pork for keeping sows in cramped stalls, say three Taranaki pig farmers.
The intensive farming practice of keeping breeding sows in stalls has been in the spotlight since TV1’s current affairs programme Sunday showed scenes filmed inside a Levin piggery.
But three of Taranaki’s 25 pig farmers say sow stalls are only one part of a very complex issue.
Taranaki District Pig Committee chairman Ted Gane said it was cheap imported pork, grown using sow stalls, that forced local farmers to use the same system to remain competitive.
“Currently 40 per cent of our meat comes from overseas and I can say that 100 per cent of that would come from sow stalls.” (…)
[Free-range Inglewood pig farmer Helen Foreman] believed without a duty or tax on imported pork, farmers raising pigs indoors would be hard-pressed to afford improvements because there was too much pressure to keep prices down. Free range organic Stratford pig farmer John Earley agreed money was what keeps sows in stalls and pigs in cramped pens.
“It’s all about money and it’s got nothing to do with livestock management. I farm pigs outside and keep six per hectare. That is what it takes if you want to grass feed them. Now you can get a lot of buildings on that much land.”
The paper from Bruce Yandle explaining it all is here.