New Zealand pig farmers are going to extreme measures to keep their pigs and families safe from activists trespassing onto their farms.
Some have installed alarm systems and laser buzzers to keep out trespassers. Others have hired on-site security personnel to keep an extra set of eyes on their property, according to a report from Stuff.co.nz.
Hamish Mee, a pork producer near Mid-Canterbury, says the biggest problem is the health risk posed to the animals by the activists. He, like other producers, require visitors to wait 72 hours between pig farm visits. Visitors are also given disposable overalls and boots to wear on the farm, which is something activists generally neglect to do.
"Every pig farm has its own bugs that the pigs develop immunity to, but when activists come on they can transfer diseases from one farm to another. For us it could mean the death of all our pigs," said Mee.
Yet activists remain undeterred, pointing to recent accounts of abuse to justify their trespassing.
New Zealand Pork chairman Ian Carter said activist groups have taken isolated incidents and assumed every farm was like that.
"It is such an invasion of someone's privacy to come into their building, hide a camera and then show that footage on TV. Why single out pig farmers?" said Carter.
SPCA chief executive officer Ric Odom said his group has received very few complaints about pig farms.
"I am convinced most farmers want to do what is best for animals," he said.
There are currently just 125 registered pig farmers left in New Zealand. Over the last 10 years, the country’s imported pork has doubled and now makes up 48 percent of all pork sold.