By choosing high welfare pork products and voting with your wallet, you are directly helping to improve the lives of farmed pigs. Next time you go shopping, look for cuts of pork and bacon labelled with the SPCA Blue Tick® on packaging.

What to look for when buying pork

The SPCA Blue Tick® certification logo can be found on pork products in many supermarkets — look for your preferred retailer on our where to buy guide. Whatever the farming system you can rest assured all SPCA Blue Tick® labelled products come from farms approved farming to SPCA's strict high welfare standards. SPCA Blue Tick® standards can only be met after confirmation by an Royal New Zealand SPCA employee or an third party auditor contracted by Royal New Zealand SPCA who has been trained to our SPCA Blue Tick® standards. Following this, the SPCA Blue Tick® will issue a 'Certificate of Approval' for the farm or site that has successfully passed the audit.

What do the different systems mean?

Free range

All the pigs on the farm live in open paddocks. Shelter must be provided and all pigs must be able to move in and out of the shelter and around the paddocks freely. During gestation sows are farmed in groups in paddocks with huts for shelter, shade, and also wallows. When sows farrow they are provided with individual, warm, dry, draught free, clean huts with straw. Pigs are generally weaned at around 4 weeks. After weaning the grower pigs are moved in ‘groups’, housed in shelters with the ability to move in and out of the shelter and around the paddock freely.

Free farmed

Sows roam free with small straw based shelters in large paddocks for farrowing. Weaners are kept in sheds (including an outdoor strawed area) for 7-9 weeks post weaning and are then moved to finisher/grower barns (eco-barn).  Eco-barns are large open-sided sheds with hoop-like structures to provide a maximum amount of light and air possible. Pigs live on deep litter straw and receive fresh straw every day (for another 9-10 weeks).


If you can't see a rearing system on your product, it is likely that it is indoor reared. Sows live indoors in groups during their gestation period. They can be accommodated in groups of varying sizes, on straw based or solid floor systems and farrow in specific areas within their pens. Growers are in pens on concrete or wooden-slatted floors. SPCA Blue Tick® does not approve commercial indoor pig farming.

SPCA Blue Tick® approved pork

We have developed a strict approval programme for the rearing, handling, transport and slaughter of pigs. SPCA Blue Tick® standards are derived from a number of sources including: current legislation, codes of practice, scientific research, international benchmarking, practical farm experience, advice from animal welfare experts and SPCA Chief Scientific Officer Dr Arnja Dale.

SPCA Blue Tick® standards are based on the Five Freedoms and cover all animal needs, not just the bare minimum.

Find out which pork brands are available under the SPCA Blue Tick® accreditation here.

If you have a question about the SPCA Blue Tick® accreditation, please don't hesitate to contact us for more information. Have a look at some of our more frequently asked questions to see if your query has already been answered.

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