Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries officials were never going to find anything wrong with Colin Kay's barbaric piggery because the Animal Welfare Code, as it pertains to pigs, allows Kay and other pig farmers like him to get away with it.
Despite the fact that the Animal Welfare Code says that pigs must be allowed to 'express normal patterns of behaviour', Kay's convenient 'get out of jail free' card is the clause that allows 'special exemptions' if changing the living conditions of pigs will threaten the financial viability of the business.
In that sense Colin Kay is right when he says he is complying 'one hundred per cent with the welfare code.'
Kay's farm was also investigated three years ago, and cleared of any wrong-doing.
The Animal Welfare Act makes it an offence for anyone in charge of an animal to neglect its “physical, health or behavioural needs” or to withhold treatment for a sick animal. Neglecting the health of your cat or dog, even unintentionally, can land you in court. But Kay avoids the provisions of the act as well because it does not apply to animals reared commercially if a so-called 'welfare code' is in place.
Over the years the Pork Industry Board has consistently opposed any significant changes to the code that they wrote themselves.
They often argue changes will effect the financial viability of the industry.
This is nonsense. More than 50% of New Zealand pork producers maintain a viable business in spite of not using sow stalls.
Although the Animal Welfare Act is due to be reviewed later this year, the Minister of Agriculture David Carter is not likely to be a minister who will oppose the pig industry's viewpoint.
He will be guided by NAWAC which is not known for its sympathy to the views of animal welfare groups. Indeed it has often been criticised for being under the sway of the powerful animal industry lobby.