The New Zealand pork industry is proud to produce high quality pork from pigs born and raised in New Zealand.
New Zealand pig farmers care about the welfare of their animals and are proud of the high standard of New Zealand’s farming practices.
In 2010, the commercial pig farming industry introduced the on-farm PigCare™ certification programme to provide an assurance that New Zealand’s high welfare standards are being met. In addition to New Zealand’s welfare standards, PigCare™ standards incorporate an assessment of the health of the pigs, the farm buildings and facilities, stockmanship, management, and husbandry practices, all of which support the ability of the farm to provide for welfare.
PigCare™ certification assures that the welfare of commercially farmed pigs in New Zealand is provided for across all pig farming styles.
The ‘Born and Raised in New Zealand PigCare™ certified’ label gives New Zealanders the assurance that the pork they choose has a welfare certification and it comes from pigs farmed in New Zealand.
PigCare™ was developed by Massey University with input from veterinarians, pig farmers, New Zealand Pork, and the Ministry for Primary Industries.
The PigCare™ certification programme has been an important tool in setting a consistently high standard for commercial pig farmers. PigCare™ is recognised by wholesalers and retailers who process and sell pork products throughout New Zealand.
Every year, the PigCare™ programme is reviewed in light of current scientific research, regulatory requirements and good practice that supports the health and wellbeing of pigs. This ensures there is ongoing improvement of the programme.
It is focused on the care, knowledge, expertise, experience and commitment of farmers to provide the best welfare for farmed pigs.
How PigCare™ Works
As part of the programme, all commercial pig farmers in New Zealand are audited annually. The audit process is managed by Quality Consultants New Zealand Limited (QCONZ), an independent organisation with an established reputation in the primary industries.
An expert auditor evaluates the whole farm to provide a comprehensive assessment of a number of elements that influence animal welfare. These include the health of the pigs, the farm buildings and facilities, stockmanship, management, and husbandry practices in addition to New Zealand’s welfare standards and regulations.
If an audit finds that the PigCare™ standards are not met, action is required. The auditor will recommend ‘corrective actions’. These actions need to be completed in an agreed timeframe. Evidence is required for a corrective action to be signed off. In many cases a revisit to the farm will occur. Immediate action is required where there is a welfare impact identified during an audit.
Any breach of the PigCare™ standards that impact pig welfare, or a failure to undertake corrective actions relating to animal welfare, may lead to further action such as reporting to MPI for investigation and withdrawal of the PigCare™ accreditation.
If farmers fail their PigCare™ audit, pork products from that farm cannot use the ‘Born and Raised in New Zealand’ PigCare™ certified label. As a result, they may be paid less for their pigs unless the farm receives and passes another audit.
PIGCARE™ PROGRAMME UPDATE (1 October 2019)
1. Number of Certified Farms
As at 1 October 2019, there were 87 farms certified under the PigCare™ programme.
2. Corrective Actions Required
As at 1 October 2019, there were no farms with open corrective actions.
This information will be updated at six monthly intervals.
The PigCare™ audit
The annual audit covers the whole farm. Our pig farmers pay an auditor to conduct the on farm assessment.
The auditor assesses the entire farm, including the pigs, according to the PigCare™ standards. The assessment covers the standards in the Pigs Code of Welfare 2018 and the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018. In addition, a wide range of elements including the farm buildings and facilities, stockmanship, management, and husbandry practices are audited as these factors support the ability of the farm to provide for welfare. Only pork from PigCare™ certified farms can be labelled with the Born and Raised in New Zealand PigCare™ labels. An overview of the PigCare™ requirements can be viewed here.