Woolworths pork supplier faces animal cruelty charges

Posted by James Ferre on 11th May 2009

Woolworths is continuing to work with a Tasmanian supplier of pork charged with animal cruelty.

The supermarket chain has responded in the wake of footage shot by animal welfare activist, Emma Haswell, showing a maggot-infested squalor inside one of Tasmania’s largest piggeries.

“The first thing I saw was an Australian Quality Assured pork sign on the entrance to the farm,” Ms Haswell said on ABC1 last Friday. “The first thing that stood out to me, obviously the smell and the squalor, the flies, the maggots. There were open drains everywhere that were seething with maggots.”

The piggery, which does not have industry accreditation, is the supplier of 20% of the Tasmanian pork purchased by Australia’s largest supermarket chain.

Woolworths spokeswoman, Claire Buchanan, reported that the piggery had been a supplier for a decade and they would work with them to fix the problems.

“We had no reason to question that there were any problems because of the high quality standards we were seeing,” Ms Buchanan said. “It’s our preference to work with a supplier to see if they can make the necessary changes.”

After being confronted with the video earlier this year, the company sent a livestock buyer to the piggery who was “not happy with what he found”. The supermarket operator then gave the farmer a list of necessary improvements to work toward with the situation now “vastly improved”.

Woolworths advised that they would continue to follow up to make sure standards don’t slip again.