A piggery near Levin has been burned down, nearly eight years after comedian Mike King was taken there by animal rights activists.

The empty building, on Kuku Beach Rd, Ohau, in the lower North Island's Horowhenua district, was razed yesterday.

"A controlled-burn permit was issued by the local authority," said David Meikle, of the Fire Service communications centre.

Firefighters did not necessarily attend controlled burns, but went to this one, Meikle said, after a call at around 9.30am today from a person near the fire who was concerned about the smoke.


"The Fire Service attended, just to check it out," Meikle said.

The pig farm was the subject of a TVNZ Sunday item, in which animal welfare activists took King, who had fronted promotions for the New Zealand pork industry, to the site to highlight the pigs' allegedly poor treatment.

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry investigators, who visited soon after, said the piggery was not breaking any animal welfare laws.

Sow crates, also called sow stalls, were banned in 2015.

In announcing the phasing out and eventual ban of the cage-like stalls, then-Agriculture Minister David Carter said in 2010: "The growing unease of many New Zealanders about the use of sow stalls, which I share, made it clear that change was necessary. The science also supports this."