New Zealand meat industry calls on Kiwis to eat more pork

The New Zealand meat industry is calling on the public to eat more pork in order to save pigs.

It's quite the piggy paradox, but after independent butchers had to close their doors there's a surplus of 5000 pigs every week. 

New Zealand Pork CEO David Baines told Newshub the COVID-19 lockdown has left thousands of pigs without a farm. 

"COVID-19 [alert] level 4 rules have seen independent butchers shut up shop, wiping out a massive chunk of the industry."

"With the closure of food-service outlets and independent butchers it's carved off about 50 percent of our normal markets and that's important to us as all the pigs grown in New Zealand are sold in New Zealand," Baines said.

One pig farmer is warning that as a result many farmers have a huge surplus of animals.

"It's going to mean more pigs and less space which of course is going to give us some poor animal welfare outcomes," pig farmer Helen Andrews said. 

New Zealand Pork is calling for independent butcheries across the country to be reopened, saying it's the only way to stop the overflow. 

Keith Oddy owns six butchery stores across the country and says he'll have to toss out meat if things don't change. 

"We've all got millions of dollars worth of stock near the end of its shelf life, if we open it solves that problem straight away," Oddy said.

The Ministry of Primary Industries says it's in talks with the pork industry and is trying to work out a solution.

But, if you're wanting to improve conditions for pigs while helping out a local industry, the message is clear. 

"If you really want to help New Zealand farmers - eat fresh New Zealand pork," Baines said.