Hawera’s House of Horrors



Looking at these images from a typical pig farm in Hawera will disgust you. Yes those torture-looking devices are to remove pig’s tails and teeth, and that is indeed a gag-inducing shopping trolley with a display of decaying piglet tails hanging on it. In those grotty conditions the farmers carry out fast, nasty surgical procedures. Places like this aren’t safe for animals or human workers. But John Key and Nathan Guy are fine with that, are you?

These recently taken photos are like something out of a murder-porn movie. This is New Zealand’s secret shame; the country is awash with shoddy, backyard house of horror-type farms. When I say typical, I’m not exaggerating; outfits like this across the country send animals to regional slaughterhouses then the meat is amalgamated for the big brands you know, stamped with an 100% New Zealand Pork “Pigcare” Accredited logo for your peace of mind and arrives neatly in your supermarket. Literally; there’s a high chance you’ve eaten meat from a place of this kind. It will have been on your plate and in your burger. The Ministry of Primary industries knows it and they’re not doing anything about it. They deem the pig “care” accreditation a success. It should be totally taken out of their hands.

I have a lot of heart for animals, I think they’re great. They have the same basic needs and wants as us; safety, warmth, affection from their companions, water, food, cleanliness, the chance to joyfully frolic and feel happy about being alive. When I see places like this and know our government is doing nothing about it I know nothing will stop me from working to see these filthy confinement industries come to an end. It disgusts me. It makes me feel ashamed of the depraved lengths humans will go to for a buck. Humans are capable of great acts and also the most despicable ones. The Ministry has failed to adequately monitor these farms (allocating a laughable 12 inspectors for land-based farms in New Zealand). They don’t give a crap.

If we had a world class animal welfare system as Nathan Guy claims, we would have a total ban on all of this intensive farming, but there would be something in legislation that explicitly prevents the existence of dingy hell holes that provide no decent life. Only there’s not; these places are deemed fit to operate. There would be huge teams of inspectors and ‘pigcare’ would mean more than “animal manages to be alive”. Of note is the fact that the SPCA – an organisation that doesn’t receive government funding – has far more inspectors and they mainly deal with companion animals!

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I want dungeons like this shut down but without any adequate monitoring that’s not going to happen. First step’s first, it’s time to end all cruel, intensive factory farming practises, and to establish an independent group that are actually capable of proper monitoring. In the meantime, if you’re disgusted with what you are seeing, and these are the animals you are routinely eating and the industry you are funding, then I suggest you stop eating pig products immediately. There is only so far the ‘mmm, bacon’ credo can continue to amuse. At what point is that just a callous and revolting denial of a seriously exploitative, repulsive industry? If that’s someone’s only response that makes them a crummy human; it seems that’s the best Nathan Guy and National can say. Every type of farming sees animals as units of production rather than beings, and stopping eating animal products altogether is healthy for people, better for the environment, better on the family budget and 100% better for animals. When you buy animal products you have no idea where they come from, or how the animals were raised.

If you’re paying for pork and bacon you guarantee the continuation of this situation. I dunno how you feel about that but I tell you how I feel. I never intended on stopping eating animal products – never minded the taste – but I call bullshit on this whole thing. I have seen countless farms like that in this country. I will not pay for that. I will not help continue the industry. I boycott and I protest and I reckon more of us should. Animals in these places have no voice, they have no one looking out for their needs, keeping an eye on them or advocating for them beyond activists. It falls to us to inform the government and to drive them to set the standard. We all know this is absolutely wrong. We don’t need to eat this stuff, it’s just a want. Why should they suffer like this in order to supply New Zealanders with something we don’t even physically need?

Activists tirelessly document farms and could have a story like this in the media every week. Why should they have to? It’s time to put an end to places that shouldn’t exist on this green earth. I am not a religious person, but I have to ask, if there were a God, would God want this? Would any good government support the continuation of this? Would any good person? The answer is ‘no’. And that should mean something to all of us. National would rather let this situation drizzle on so money can be made. Labour wants to put a stop to it; that shows integrity. Profits are not the be all and end all. We have to have moral standards. Let’s be ethical and get our government to be ethical.

It would be nice to see a major supermarket agree to boycott all pig products until this dire and disgusting industry itself is curtailed. Please, do what you can.


  1. If you even give just a bit of a shit, stop eating any and all pig meat products. Go on, I dare you all to do it. I stopped years ago and I loved bacon, but I just cannot bring myself to eat it now and can’t afford free range other than rarely, so just go without.
    And while you are at it have a bit of heart when you purchase any animal product for the beast or bird or fish even, that provided you with it

    • I’m fortunate enough to be able free range meat products but I’m beginning to worry that I’m being deceived by the producers of “free range” and “Pigcare” meat.
      For example here’s an email I received from SAFE when enquiring about Brinks free range which was new to the market…

      I’m afraid I am not aware of that brand in particular, but SAFE does not support free range as it still has a lot of cruelty involved. This is especially true of chicken meat because all suppliers, whether free range or factory farmed are using the same breed of chicken. One of our main issues with chicken farming is the breed itself as they have been bred to gain weight so quickly that 10,000 die every day in NZ from health problems, even before reaching slaughter weight.

      Moreover, ‘free range’ in many cases does not mean they are truly free. The footage here in this video is actually from a free range farm:

      Thank you very much for caring about animals and looking into these issues.


      MANDY CARTER | Head of Campaigns
      PO Box 5750 | Auckland | 1141 | New Zealand | P 09 361 5646 | F 09 361 5644 | http://www.safe.org.nz | http://www.safeshopper.org.nz
      SAFE is an Incorporated Society registered as a national body under the name Save Animals From Exploitation founded in 1932.

  2. Brilliantly written article Jessie – it is just disgraceful how we treat pigs in NZ, here in Australia and all around the world. I can’t believe that any normal person would consider it to be OK. Their lives are so hidden from the consumer which prevents the average person from making an informed choice. I am wondering if there are any examples from other countries where there is an effective independent organisation who monitors the welfare of farm animals. Until our governments make some compassionate changes to legislation, everyone who loves animals needs to make their own personal protest – by not buying pork products, or at the very least, doing their homework to make sure it comes from an “ethical” producer. Thanks for an intelligent article and raising awareness about this industry.

  3. […] Revelations that the Pigcare Accreditation scheme is still failing animals despite protestations from the Ministry, resulted in a day of national action across the country last Saturday. Thousands rallied in the centres against factory farming for a historic outcome for animals. For the first time in New Zealand history all of the left-wing parties and the major animal advocacy organisations spoke out in unison. Labour, the Greens, the SPCA and SAFE stood side-by-side and powerfully echoed the sentiment of thousands of Kiwis. The message is clear; factory farming isn’t our future.In Auckland Labour candidate Clare Szabo addressed the crowd and informed us of something of pivotal importance. She told us to stay tuned for new policy from Labour that would see an end to all intensive factory practises. Labour acknowledged once and for all that these abhorrent confinement industries are not what New Zealanders want. And we know the Green Party would also see an end to forms of industrial cruelty.We want to see all New Zealand political parties on the same page with this, yet John Key and National have been shamefully flippant about the importance of real change and Nathan Guy keeps spinning the same nonsense. They say the accreditation scheme is “working fine” and these are “one-off” instances. If they are “one-offs” why is the Ministry so reluctant to properly legislate against confinement and such conditions? Why does the Ministry keep pushing back the date to end all cage practises and make no substantial changes? The answer is this, they are absolutely aware that these instances not “one-off” and if they do outlaw these practises it would cost farmers whose financial interests are deemed more important than welfare concerns. Every day Kiwis know that we do not want such cruelty to exist and we damn well know that ethical considerations matter. We are not devoid of compassion and know that money isn’t the only consideration that must be made. We do not want animals raise in hell holes that have no right to exist. We do not want animals to be caged. Animals deserve safety, freedom and protection, just as people do and other countries have legislated against such practices. It’s a travesty that these issues keep being ignored by the right.It’s time National got on board. Our welfare system is anything but “world class” and the public have no more interest in this spin. It’s time for action. Here the flaws in our careless animal “welfare” system areoutlined by Catriona MacLennan, co-ordinator for the Animal Agenda Aotearoa, a project that would see MPs alterted to the voice of the people.We need to continually apply pressure on this issue and you can do so here. Please never underestimate the power of your voice; of talking about these issues actively, and of contacting your MP. Better still, take radical action, become an advocate, boycott pork or simply stop eating animals altogether. It’s up to us to take a stand and be the voice of the voiceless, because if we don’t stand up for these animals, who will? […]

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