It was hard core stuff on Sunday tonight. Mike King, a former advocate for New Zealand pork and mouthpiece for industry ads has jumped ship and attacked farmers for the use of sow stalls. Emotive footage and unbalanced reporting followed and not one pork farmer who uses the stalls was allowed to give a reason as to why the practice occurs.
In her agricultural journalism career Farmgirl has followed intensely the plight of the nation's pig farmers and has some sympathy for their situation. To portray the farmers as the common enemy is an injustice that ignorant mouthpieces like King would never understand.
If he did his background research he might understand that he and every other consumer of bacon or pork in this country are just as culpable for sow crate farming as the farmer themselves.
Farmgirl would like to know if these 'het up' consumers check their overseas pork that has flooded our supermarkets. If they did they might realise that the bacon they purchase is also farmed in the same way - through crates. If you ban them in New Zealand you have to ban all imports from overseas - a situation most pig farmers in NZ would rejoice about.
Let's get one thing straight right now - pig farmers don't like the practice, they want to change but there is no economically viable way forward for them to do so as long as cheap imported pork continues to flood in.
There will be a huge public outcry over the footage shot on Sunday, but Farmgirl wonders how many will change their spending habits and instead buy free range NZ pork to support the industry. If everyone did change the pork farmers would have the support to do the same.
Farmgirl is sick and tired of celebrities jumping on the bandwagon of something they do not really understand, and something they themselves have forced farmers to do. And it's laughable that King says he didn't know this was going on when he signed his contract with the Pork Board - what rot - this issue has been around for a long time.
The pleasing aspects to the situation is that most pig farmers are trying to break free of the system - and Farmgirl has seen some stunning results in the form of Eco Sheds etc, but it takes cashflow. If King and his cronies are so upset why don't they get on the box and encourage people to buy the more expensive option as Jamie Oliver did successfully with his recent chicken campaign.
Unlike King, Jamie took the time to explain why farmers do what they do and put much of the onus back on consumers.