The pork industry is still haunted by an anti-factory farm campaign as it makes a push to get back on Kiwi dinner plates.
NZPork is reaching out to consumers who have ditched the meat in favour of beef and lamb to give it a second chance.
It’s Pork on Thursday campaign is the latest attempt to soothe the pallets of buyers left sour by revelations brought out in an anti factory-farmed pork campaign, fronted by comedian Mike King.
The industry is calling on Kiwis to dine out on pig products every Thursday as a matter of course.
NZPork chairperson Ian Carter says the industry has meticulously plotted its comeback.
“We’re little but we’re innovative, and if we all keep working alongside stakeholders, including the broader primary sector and Government, we can make it happen,” he told the industry’s annual conference in Wellington last week.
The industry was rocked by the SAFE-sponsored campaign which shone light on what it called the appalling conditions lived in by factory-farmed pigs.
The effect on New Zealand’s pork industry was “devastating,” according to University of Waikato agricultural professor Jacqueline Rowarth.
“I think it’s caused a huge problem with perception of the pork industry, and it’s just appalling,” she says.
Professor Rowarth says the results of a survey conducted by the defunct Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries found that most consumers agreed acts of cruelty against farm animals were conducted by a vast minority of people.
But SAFE spokesperson Eliot Pryor says the backlash highlighted how seriously meat customers took animal welfare.
He says the treatment of factory-farm animals was a complex issue, but that it highlighted the disregard the pork industry had for the feelings of consumers.
“They knew for many years that this has been an issue, and they had a chance to fix it voluntarily,” Pryor says.
“There are a lot of issues at play, but if there’s any drama that’s costing the industry, it’s their own doing.”
And while tensions are far from being eased, Ian Carter is hoping that his new strategy will put pork back on top of the menu.
“Our industry has a track record of turning challenges into positives. We’ve been doing it behind closed gates, but doing it well,” he says.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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