New Zealand pig farmers aim to run professional and high standard food producing operations. Their goal is to ensure that consumers, retailers and wholesalers have confidence in the production practices of 100% New Zealand Pork. Part of that assurance is the PigCare™ Audit programme that annually assesses commercial pig farms to ensure they meet the New Zealand animal welfare standards. Farm presentation assessments are part of this process.
What does it look like?
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In 2013, farmers gave the NZPork Board the mandate to set up a system to identify farms that were not representative of the professional, well maintained, and up to the food production standards exhibited by the vast majority of New Zealand pig farms and generally expected by the industry.
The Presentation Assessment means that farms have an independent assessment on how well they are presented. This means that they achieve the ‘clean and tidy’ standard that is expected of a food production system. In the long term, farms will be benchmarked against their peers. This will raise overall industry standards. It also means that the industry can stand confidently behind its claims of the way 100% New Zealand Pork is produced.
Trained PigCare™ Auditors assess the Presentation Assessment according to a series of measures that have been widely tested.
Yes and no. The Presentation Assessment is undertaken by Quality Consultants New Zealand Ltd (QCONZ) trained auditors at the same time as a normal PigCare™ Audit. However, it is not a part of the Audit itself. Instead, it is a separate assessment that results in independent outcomes, but the assessment is made at the same time. It is not an animal welfare assessment, although it includes an assessment of factors that impact on animal welfare. PigCare™ is a dedicated animal welfare assessment.
It is logical and cost effective to have the auditors carry out the assessment at the same time as a welfare audit.
Housekeeping, facilities and factors that impact on welfare are combined into a single score sheet. Aesthetics are included, but with an acceptable degree of objectivity.
Yes, the Assessment method has been widely trialled by trained auditors on pig farms in New Zealand.
No, absolutely not. The PigCare™ Audit will continue to be used to assess animal welfare standards on any given farm. The Presentation Assessment is in addition to and complementary to the PigCare™ Audit programme.
Wholesalers will be advised of the low score. This is a ‘red flag’ for the wholesaler, who will visit farms of concern and work with them on a ‘one-on-one’ basis to develop an ‘Improvement Plan’ or an exit strategy. Wholesalers have the discretionary power to choose to not take pigs from farms that are not of an appropriate standard.
Improvement plans are the actions worked out between the farmer and the wholesaler to remedy or correct any issues identified from the assessment as agreed between them. The wholesaler can continue to check on the farm’s progress and can, at any time, decline to buy pigs from that farm.
Yes, wholesalers support the Presentation Assessment.