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Wellington High Court Finds Farrowing Crate Minimum Standards Unlawful

Press Release – SAFE

In a Judgement released today, the High Court has ruled the Minister of Agriculture and the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) have acted illegally when they failed to phase out the farming practice farrowing crates for mother pigs. The …

In a Judgement released today, the High Court has ruled the Minister of Agriculture and the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) have acted illegally when they failed to phase out the farming practice farrowing crates for mother pigs. The ruling relied on NAWAC’s own internal view that farrowing crates were inconsistent with the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

SAFE and the New Zealand Animal Law Association (NZALA), who filed the Judicial Review Proceedings, welcome the High Court’s judgement.

The Court has ruled that the regulations and minimum standards which allow farrowing crates are unlawful. It’s the first time a Code of Welfare has been challenged in court.

SAFE CEO Debra Ashton said this is a historic day for animals.

“After exhausting all other avenues to free mother pigs from cages, we had no other option but to take this landmark case to Court,” said Ashton

Ashton says this case was about giving mother pigs the freedom to live more natural lives and respecting them as sentient, instead of treating them as simply ‘units of production.’

NZALA’s president Saar Cohen said “The rule of law has prevailed. The Judgment raises serious concerns about NAWAC’s conduct. At best, they lacked proper understanding of their legal duties and were let down by MPI’s legal advisors. At worst, NAWAC acted in bad faith by letting economic factors and industry pressure outweigh their duty as scientists and independent advisors. Worst of all for NAWAC, they caused a major embarrassment to the Minister who relied on their advice without question.”

NZALA and SAFE filed proceedings in February last year. Their intention was to compel the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) and the Minister of Agriculture to act lawfully, to improve their legal procedures and to adopt a more robust legal understanding of their duties.

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