News: 11 December 2014

Concerned about pig welfare? Buy SPCA Blue Tick pork.

The Royal New Zealand SPCA says people can buy pork products that carry RNZSPCA ‘Blue Tick’ accreditation if they are concerned about commercial pig farming practices.

“Kiwi consumers can choose not to support current commercial pig farms farming practices and instead buy pork that carries our SPCA Blue Tick,” says Ric Odom, RNZSPCA CEO.

“Farms that win the right to display our SPCA Blue Tick are assessed by our third party auditors AsureQuality to ensure that they are meeting our high animal welfare standards.”

Sows on SPCA Blue Tick accredited farms are not subjected to farrowing crates or sow stalls. Instead the sows live in open fields at all times and give birth naturally in their own straw chalets. Their piglets live in open fields with their mothers until weaning. Once weaned, piglets are then raised in either approved deep straw shelters or in approved open field environments. Indoor concrete fattening pens are totally prohibited.

SPCA Blue Tick pig farmers are also obliged to ensure all pigs on their farms enjoy the Five Freedoms: Freedom from Hunger and Thirst, Freedom from Discomfort, Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease, Freedom from Fear and Distress, and Freedom to Express Natural Behaviour.

“The position of the RNZSPCA is that animals ought be given the best opportunity to engage in natural behaviour and we will continue to advocate for good animal welfare practice in every farming business,” says Mr Odom.

“The images shown on Campbell Live this week were upsetting but the pig farm shown was, however, operating completely legally, according to current legislation. The monitoring and auditing of commercial farms is the direct responsibility of the Ministry for Primary Industries.

“We understand that farmers must often perform a balancing act between maintaining good animal welfare practices and meeting consumer demand for well-priced animal products. Ultimately, if consumers are unhappy with the commercial farming practices shown on Campbell Live, they can choose not to buy products from those farms.

“If consumers choose products from one of our SPCA Blue Tick accredited farms, they can do so with complete confidence that the animals on that farm were raised under high standards of animal welfare. However, this form of farming is more costly than more intensive farming methods, so products from SPCA Blue Tick farms are likely to be more expensive.

“We want to encourage more pig farmers to convert their farms into operations that will qualify for SPCA Blue Tick accreditation, especially since the use of sow stalls will be prohibited in New Zealand from 3 December 2015. So we invite farmers to start talking with us now about how to get more in step with public opinion and begin the process of converting their operation into a SPCA Blue Tick farm.”

For more information please contact:

Ric Odom
Chief Executive Officer
Royal New Zealand SPCA



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