Sustainable Farming

At New Zealand Pork, we provide our farmers with ongoing support to ensure they have access to current knowledge to facilitate well managed environmental practices, as well as best-practice animal welfare management. Our work goes hand-in-hand with our national and regional involvement to ensure sound policy development, and a better understanding of our unique industry.

Pork Balancing Role
Sustainable farming

Animal welfare

Welfare requirements

Our PigCare welfare assurance programme illustrates the importance New Zealand pig farmers place on providing high standards of welfare for their pigs. In New Zealand animal welfare is governed by the Animal Act 1999 which places a duty of care on all animal owners and persons in charge of animals. Codes of welfare provide further details in regard to particular species (e.g. Pigs) and functions (e.g. Transport). In 2015 the Animal Welfare Act was amended to provide for the issue of regulations, and some regulations are currently under development covering pig farming. NZ Pork has been actively engaged in this process.

Pig barn
Hay barns

The Ministry for Primary Industries is responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act.

PigCare auditors must report any serious animal welfare breach to the MPI. Where farmers do not meet the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act, MPI has a process for investigating and remedying the issue(s).

You can ensure the New Zealand pork industry maintains good animal welfare standards for pigs by choosing pork products that carry the New Zealand pork Born and Raised in New Zealand and PigCare label.

If you have any questions about PigCare you can contact us.

To report an animal welfare issue or to find out more about the Codes of Welfare please contact the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Animal health

The New Zealand pig herd has a world class health status. This means that New Zealand born and raised pigs are not exposed to a number of very severe and debilitating pests and diseases suffered by pigs in most other countries.

Our pigs’ high health status has many benefits in terms of animal welfare and productivity, and is highly cherished by our farmers. Our high health status also means that our pigs do not need antibiotics to treat a wide range of diseases that pigs raised in other countries may be affected by.

For New Zealand pigs, management of health and injury is assured via its assessment within the PigCare audit.


Biosecurity refers to those activities which protect New Zealand from harmful pests and diseases which are ‘exotic’ to New Zealand – that is, that are not present in New Zealand.

Biosecurity is critically important to New Zealand pig farmers to preserve the world class health status of their pigs.

New Zealand sets border standards to manage the risk of introduction of exotic diseases that may be present in risk products imported into New Zealand. For pigs, key risk products are genetic material (pig semen to enable genetic improvement via artificial insemination) and pig meat. A major concern to New Zealand’s commercial pig farmers is that imported meat that is infected with an exotic disease might be fed to pigs owned by a non-commercial pig owner who does not understand the risk, and diseases come into the NZ industry via this pathway. People, clothing, vehicles and equipment can also be disease ‘vectors’. Live pigs are not imported due to the risk of introducing exotic diseases.

Biosecurity measures also apply at the individual farm level and even the individual shed level. The principle  is the same as applies at the national level - to minimise the risk of introduction of any disease that is not present on that particular farm, and may impact on the health of the pigs, or within a particular group of pigs. Farm level measures manage the risk associated with ‘vectors’ such as visitors (including all technical specialists such as veterinarians and nutritionists, and also feed deliveries), clothing, vehicles and equipment. Many farms do not permit the introduction of live pigs from other farms. Biosecurity may also apply around particular groups of pigs within a farm – new-born piglets and recently weaned piglets are generally provided the highest level of protection from the introduction of any threats to their health.

On-farm biosecurity measures are individually tailored to each farm to support its particular health status. Farms that provide breeding stock or genetic material via semen for artificial insemination will be of high health status and  will have stringent biosecurity measures to maintain this.

NZPork has provided guidelines to assist farmers develop their own individually tailored on-farm biosecurity standard: Guidelines for on farm biosecurity standard (August 2013)

Given how critically important biosecurity is to the New Zealand pork industry, NZPork very actively engages with Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to seek the appropriate level of protection for the New Zealand pig herd. NZPork was the second New Zealand industry, and the first animal-based industry, to enter into a government -industry agreement (GIA) as a partner with MPI with the objective of delivering better biosecurity for the industry.

Environmental management

We ensure that the interests of the industry are represented where environmental issues or regulations are concerned. We do this by:

  • Preserving the right to farm.
  • Maintaining leadership on environmental stewardship.
  • Reducing cost of compliance.

Each farming style faces different challenges, and we work to ensure our farmers understand compliance requirements regarding nutrient management, water quality, climate change, effluent systems and waste management.

Nutrient budgets for outdoor piggeries are completed using the outdoor pig module of OVERSEER, and we have also supplied a list of Nutrient Budget Advisors. The outdoor pig module currently sits in the legacy OVERSEER version and not OverseerFM, for any queries relating to information required to complete nutrient budgets contact the for any other queries relating to information required to complete nutrient budgets contact the Environmental Advisor.

New Zealand pork products are not exported overseas, which means our consumers are our neighbours. Our farmers work hard to ensure their practices are sustainable for the long-term. We already have a number of innovative ways to show how our farmers are moving to a model that drives efficiency and designs waste out of their practices.

This includes using a range of by-products as feed, generating compost and nutrients from organic waste as an alternative to commercial fertilisers, as well as generating electricity from effluent systems.

To receive the latest environmental management information and up-to-date compliance requirements for your farm, please register with us, or contact our Environmental Advisor.

New Zealand Pork Farm Environment Plan template

Our FEP template will assist compliance with district and regional rules and resource consents, as well as managing environmental risks and issues. The aim is to support sustainable land management, efficient use of resources, and provide a framework to progress environmental protection and enhancement. Measuring, monitoring and mitigating impacts will have economic, social and environmental benefits.

Please find the template and guidance notes below. For further information or assistance, you can contact our Environmental Advisor.

What if I have environmental concerns?

If you have any environmental concerns you can contact our Environmental Advisor directly.

Our Environmental Advisor provides policy advice, including engagement with regional and district environmental planning. Submissions are prepared in consultation with farmers and are submitted on the industry’s behalf. If you are interested in participating in submissions and consultation, industry input is a critical part of developing and representing the industry view and your input is encouraged.

Health & Safety

The wellbeing of our industry and its people is extremely important to us. Our staff are our family, friends and community members, so we must ensure they go home safely every day.

Health and safety regulations are there to look after every member of our industry, whether they be staff, contractors, visitors or family. Also, proper health and safety practices enable our pork producers to remain productive and profitable.

The Health and Safety Act (HSWA) is New Zealand law and is regulated by WorkSafe New Zealand. Their website provides a comprehensive explanation of the duties and responsibilities required under the Act. also provides farm-specific health and safety standards, including practical fact sheets and guides. You can also create and download an online risk register, emergency plan and incident record. This tool includes pre-loaded farming risks, and pig specific risks can be entered manually.

Site Safe New Zealand has a number of free guides and resources, including a Site Specific Safety Plan template. Site Safe New Zealand can help you understand contractor expectations when entering your property to conduct work, such as construction projects, working in confined spaces or at heights.

To receive relevant information regarding health and safety then please register with us or contact our Health and Safety Advisor.

Food Safety and Suitability

NZPork works to support the provision of pig meat that is safe and suitable to consumers in a range ways. NZPork facilitates the application of good agricultural practice (GAP) on farm, including to meet all regulatory requirements, and sets industry positions on production practices to enhance consumers’ perception of pig meat from New Zealand born and raised pigs. For example, the industry has adopted an industry agreed position that it does not use added growth hormones, and has put in place a declaration within the regulatory required Animal Status Declaration to confirm this.

NZPork and our farmers take pride that New Zealand pork produced from pigs born and raised in New Zealand tastes good, is safe and suitable to consumers, and is supported by production qualities including our world class animal health, welfare and commitment to environmental sustainability. For all these reasons we are strong supporters of mandatory Country of Origin labelling for pork, bacon and ham, so that New Zealand consumers are provided with information to differentiate New Zealand produced pork from pork products that are  imported  or manufactured from import sourced pork.