Tuesday, 12 May 2009

...and where did your pork come from to-day?

Isn't it amazing what information committed individuals and organisations can amass which the law and corporations are unable to uncover.

Latest demonstration of this is reporting of Emma Haswell (of Brightside Farmy Sanctuary and Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania) and her surreptitious video-ed visit to the premises of one of Woolworth's pork suppliers in northern Tasmania.  The farmer, who prepared his pigs for market in maggot infested squalor,  supplies 20 per cent of all the Tasmanian pork that Woolworths buys.  Reports say that at no time after being told of the putrid situation and the animals with severe wounds did Woolworths suspend supplies from the farmer!  Care-less?

I recall an ad campaign not so long which showed a livestock buyer from Woolworths having a personal relationship with the farmer/supplier.  This was clearly intended to assure the public that Woolworths kept control on the quality of its meat products right down to personal relationships and personal visits to the farm where the product was sourced.  

Going by reports this is no longer the case - at least not in Tasmania.

Woolworths spokeswoman Claire Buchanan on Monday said the farmer has been supplying fresh pork meat of a very high standard to Woolworths for 10 years.

The farmer supplies 20 per cent of all the Tasmanian pork that Woolworths buys.

"We had no reason to question that there were any problems because of the high quality standards we were seeing," Ms Buchanan said.

However, within 48 hours of being confronted with the shocking video by Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania, Woolworths sent a livestock buyer to inspect the piggery last month.

"He was not happy with what he found," Ms Buchanan said.

"It's our preference to work with a supplier to see if they can make the necessary changes."

Woolworths gave the farmer a list of animal welfare improvements to make and returned two weeks later for an inspection.

"The situation had vastly improved," Ms Buchanan said.

"We are now checking regularly to make sure he is following through to improve the situation."

The Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries is also now working with the farmer whose supply to Woolworths has continued unabated by the controversy.

'On ya, Emma.  You should make it to the honours list - but I wonder if the powers-that-be would reward such valour and heroism.


I am a member of Animals Australia.  See the click through at right to join.  We are supporters of Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania.  Animals (yes I fondly call us Animals) has a wonderful well-organised action network led by the energetic, cheerful, indomitable and experienced Jesse and Sarah.  It is a slick operation.

When we want action on an issue like this one we get a slick, well-designed email explaining what  the proposed action is all about and suggesting what we might do.  If it is letter-writing, then email addresses are provided with five bullet points we might consider for our letter.  Then there is a click-through for when we have completed the task so that Jesse and Sarah know we have done it and know how many of us have done it.  

So, if like me, you abhor what has happened in Tasmania then do something about it.  It doesn't take more than five or ten minutes to send off one or two succinct emails.  It takes even less time to go to the click through on the sidebar and go to the Animals Australia site and join up.  

And so you know it's not all doom and gloom as we seek to hold suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers accountable - the Action Network has been having some good times together this year at Grumpy's Green.  Will it become the official watering hole for the Action Network?  We'll see but it is looking likely.


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