The animal rights group that this morning named the piggery at the centre of welfare claims has been slammed for not identifying the farm to officials earlier.

TVNZ's Sunday programme aired footage by animal welfare organisation Open Rescue during a break-in at the pig farm. The programme showed pigs frothing at the mouth and unable to move inside their cages.

Save Animals from Exploitation (SAFE) spokesman, Hans Kriek, today named Colin Kay as the owner of the piggery where the footage was shot.

Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister David Carter this morning confirmed that Maf investigators had begun inspecting the piggery, but said SAFE had not revealed its location.

"SAFE has not contacted my office and has instead speculated on the property involved through media channels, " Mr Carter said.

He said he had urged the organisation to provide details of the property yesterday.

"In fact, SAFE could have revealed details of the property when it first received the recorded footage.

"Instead, the organisation seems more intent on playing publicity games than assisting the animals on this farm."

Mr Carter said he would not comment further now that an investigation into the farm had begun.

Asked by nzherald.co.nz yesterday if SAFE's decision not to immediately identify the piggery was due to publicity, Mr Kriek said yes.

"I'm not going to give you all the details of our strategy, which is a very sound one," Mr Kriek said.

He said the group may as well send Mr Carter the addresses of all pig farms because the one showed on television was "average" and did not break any laws.

"I've seen them slightly dirtier, I've seen them slightly cleaner. I've seen them slightly better, I've seen them slightly worse," he said.

SAFE said the piggery had previously been investigated by MAF which found it was acting within in the law and SAFE did not expect a different result if it was examined again.

Mr Kriek said Mr Kay, who has been working in pig production since 1985, owned five intensive piggeries worth an estimated $4 million.

Welfare codes

The Feilding farmer has previously spoken about his love for pigs and the importance of animal welfare.

Speaking with Rural Delivery in 2006, Mr Kay said he did not view animal welfare as an obstacle, rather good animal care would contribute to productivity in the long term, he said.

Mr Kay said he looked to the welfare codes in Europe and incorporated them into his building designs.

"They are certainly more advanced than the requirements of New Zealand animal welfare code, so hopefully we will be able to farm for many years without having to make any changes."

In an interview with New Zealand Farmers Weekly in February, Mr Kay said it took a special kind of person, one who must first and foremost love animals, to work with pigs.

"It takes about a month to sort out whether someone is cut out for it or not and invariably it emerges they are animal lovers," he said.

Pork Board response

Yesterday the New Zealand Pork Board said intensive pig farming was being phased out but the price of pork would jump $2 a kilogram if it was immediately stopped, the yesterday.

Chairman Chris Trengrove spelled out the cost of moving to completely free-range farms amid controversy over conditions for farmed pigs.

He said that half of New Zealand's pork industry was free-range, and that the board was working hard to phase out long-term use of sow stalls.

If the industry was to go free-range overnight, Mr Trengrove said, the cost would be an estimated 50c a kilo to the farmer, which would translate to at least $2 a kilo on the shelf.

A New Zealand Pork statement yesterday said: "Consumers need choice, like choosing between eggs, some people are happy to pay a premium for free-range. Consumers can ask questions about source of products - we would encourage them to do that."