HSI RAISES MAJOR CONCERNS OVER WESTPORK PLAN TO BUILD GIANT PIGGERY IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Westpork, one of Australia’s largest pork producers, has proposed the development of an enormous piggery in the Shire of Dandaragan in Western Australia, about 25 kilometres north west of Moora, to house 68,000 pigs. They also hope to build a further site catering for another 34,000 pigs. Locals are strongly objecting with concerns about the environmental impacts.
Humane Society International (HSI) Australia has submitted comments to the Shire of Dandaragan whose calls for public input close at 4pm today. HSI is strongly opposed to the development based on a number of factors. We encourage members of the public to also voice their concerns to the Shire.
With the proposal of such a major live animal facility, there are always strong concerns. However, given the history of poor animal management by Westpork, animal welfare presents even more reason to deny the project. In April 2013 Westpork was issued the largest fine ever for an animal welfare prosecution in Australia at Perth Magistrates Court. They were fined $225,000 and also ordered to pay $21,000 costs after pleading guilty to ten charges of cruelty to animals under section 19 of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. The offences were detected during inspections of its grow out facility in January and February 2009 by Inspectors from the Department of Local Government (DLG). The charges were laid by this Department in January 2011, just prior to the transfer of the Act to the Department of Agriculture and Food WA in July 2011. The investigation into cruelty at Westpork initially began in 2007 following the release of alleged graphic conditions by an ex-employee.
Never before has such a large fine been issued for such a crime, and it can only be seen as being commensurate with the seriousness of the cruelty offences. Mr Neil Ferguson is currently Westpork’s CEO. In his role as General Manager, he and another staff member were charged with the same cruelty offences as the company in 2011, but the charges against the individuals were later dropped.
HSI Director Ms Verna Simpson said, “The conviction against Westpork demonstrates a cruel disregard for animal welfare with pigs left suffering in appalling conditions. The Council needs to seriously consider these facts when they make their decision about the new piggery proposal. HSI recommends persons and companies with animal cruelty convictions should be precluded from continuing in industries with animals in their care.”
HSI highlighted a number of other concerns in their submission including environmental impacts. A similar proposal to house 25,000 pigs in NSW was rejected last month on the grounds of pollution risks. With this facility intending to house significantly more pigs one would assume the environmental impacts would be even greater.
HSI urges the public to add their voice and contact the Shire of Dandaragan’s CEO by 4pm today objecting to the proposed piggery: https://www.dandaragan.wa.gov.au/community/public-comment.aspx.