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Growing industry and improving animal welfare

Thu 17 May 2012

Bryan Green

Minister for Primary Industries and Water

The Minister for Primary Industry and Water Bryan Green today announced the phasing out of battery hen farming in Tasmania and fast tracking of a planned ban on sow stalls.

Mr Green said the Government would work with both industries to grow production and keep Tasmania at the forefront of improving animal welfare outcomes nationally.

Mr Green said funding in the Budget would help pork producers transition out of sow stalls by the middle of next year, well ahead of when it was expected in 2017.

The move is part of a $2.5 million initiative which will also look at boosting non-cage egg production in Tasmania.

"This will help pork and egg producers respond to growing consumer demands in specific market segments and further enhance Tasmania's brand values.

Mr Green commended pig producers on their proactive and positive approach to the changes and said he was confident of a high level of compliance.

"The support the Government is delivering will help producers adjust to the changes because managing sows will require more space, new equipment and different animal husbandry practices.

"It is important from an animal welfare perspective and for the future of our pork industry in Tasmania.

Mr Green urged Tasmanians and consumers around Australia to support the State's pig producers by buying only Tasmanian-produced pork.

"If we want to improve the welfare of production sows then now is the time to buy Tasmania pork because that will also greatly assist our producers in the transition.

Mr Green said the Government will ban immediately any future battery hen operation and cap the existing number of pens in production.

"I will work with industry to develop a transition plan to end battery hen operations in Tasmania.

"A range of actions will be explored in a bid to increase non-cage egg production and phase out battery hen operations.

"The demand for locally produced eggs, particularly free range, is growing and the industry acknowledges this change and is eager to work with Government on a transition.

"We need to tap into market trends and grow our local industry for the future.

Mr Green acknowledged the dedication of campaigners such as Pam Clarke to enhance animal welfare.

"Labor and the Greens have a shared commitment to progressing this issue in partnership with industry.

"The Government will support farmers to transition away from practices such as sow stalls and battery hens in response to the growing consumer preference for products that are sensitive to animal welfare," Mr Green said.

Growing industry and improving animal welfare