Piggery blaze contained, 50 pigs killed

The blaze near Taupiri (Supplied)
The blaze near Taupiri (Supplied)

The SPCA says the deaths of around 50 pigs in a blaze this morning highlight the need for animal emergency planning.

Around 50 pigs have been killed in a fire that ripped through a farrowing (birthing) shed at a piggery north of Hamilton this morning.

"This tragedy is a timely reminder that farmers and others working with animals must have robust animal emergency management plans in place," says the chief executive of SPCA NZ Ric Odom.

"At the very least, farmers should have effective smoke alarms, fire extinguisher systems, and evacuation plans."

There were around 700 pigs at the farm between Hopuhopu and Taupiri. 

It is also the site of a fire in August last year that killed around 400 pigs and another in 2005 that killed 300 of the animals.

Ministry of Primary Industries Waikato District Compliance Manager Brendon Mikkelsen says inspectors will look for any evidence of offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

"As soon as Fire Service staff clear us to go in, MPI Animal Welfare Inspectors will be triaging the situation and working to mitigate the suffering of any animals and addressing any other animal welfare issues."

Six crews have dampened down hot spots and a specialist fire investigator is checking the property.

The fire broke out at about 8am, in an 800-square-metre building.

The building is used for farrowing -- where sows give birth.

"The priority is protecting surrounding buildings," Fire Service spokesperson Jaron Phillips said this morning.

Overhead power lines close by were also a major hazard.

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