Pork industry executive charged with animal cruelty
The manager of Western Australia’s largest piggery, Neil Ferguson, is still on the board of the pork industry’s peak body despite being charged with an animal cruelty offence. Humane Society International (HSI) is demanding that he is stood down from this position immediately until the animal cruelty charge is heard in court, and that he is removed permanently if convicted in July.
An investigation and raid were carried out at the Westpork facility at Gingin in 2007 following the release of footage showing it was so full of waste and excrement that the pigs were struggling to walk. It was alleged that pigs had also been left to die once they had succumbed to illnesses, and some had eaten others that had died and were left in the pens.
The explicit footage taken at the Gingin piggery can be viewed online at:
HSI is appalled that despite the alleged state of Mr Ferguson’s facility and the animal cruelty charge against him, he has maintained his position on the APL (Australia Pork Limited) Board. In fact, it is not the only executive position in the pork industry maintained by Mr Ferguson – he is also involved in the training of pork producers through his position on the Pork Industry Training Committee in WA, and is the Chair of the WA Agriculture Produce Commission’s Pork Committee
“In our opinion it is inappropriate for a person charged with an animal cruelty offense to continue to be on the Board of the pork industry’s peak body, and HSI believes that Mr Ferguson should stand down from this role pending the resolution of the case,” said Verna Simpson, HSI Director. “Likewise, until the matter is heard in court, we feel Mr Ferguson should not be permitted a role in the training of pork producers.”
HSI has written to each of the 10 members of the APL Board, as well as the Pork Industry Training Committee in WA, and WA Agriculture Produce Commission’s Pork Committee, asking that Mr Ferguson’s position be immediately revoked pending the outcome of the hearing. We have not received a response from any of them.
HSI is also writing to the Police Prosecutor for the hearing against Mr Ferguson and Westpork, questioning why it took 2 years for the animal cruelty charges to be laid.