Farmed animals

Over the past two decades we’ve raised the standard of care for farmed animals by encouraging farmers to make the necessary improvements to become certified.

Free range and free farmed pigs

SPCA Certified standards meet the needs of pigs and promote positive experiences. Free range piglets stay with their mother until weaning. Once weaned, they are slowly moved for rearing outdoors. Piglets in a free farmed system stay with their mother outdoors until weaning. After weaning, pigs are raised in naturally ventilated barns on deep litter bedding.

What do pigs want?

  • To be kept occupied with lots of good manipulable material

  • To enjoy rooting around and exploring

  • To socialise with other pig friends

  • To lie down comfortably in a warm area with lots of bedding

What SPCA Certified means for pigs

SPCA Certified requirement Why? Code of Welfare Minimum Standard
Access to suitable outdoor housing, and shade during hot/humid weather (outdoor pigs). Gives pigs a choice about where they can go during hot weather. Choice is good. Access to adequately ventilated shelter.
No use of farrowing crates. Farrowing crates severely restrict sow behaviour. Not using them allows the sow to give birth naturally and look after her offspring. Farrowing crates permitted.
Enrichment, e.g. foraging material, for all pigs. Vitally important in promoting the expression of normal behaviours and avoiding undesirable ones, e.g. tail biting, flank biting and cannibalism. No specific mention.
Suitable, comfortable bedding material provided at all times. Gives pigs somewhere comfortable to rest and improves foot condition. Also serves as manipulable material, which supports rooting behaviour. No specific mention.
Fully slatted or bare concrete floors not allowed. Bare concrete/fully slatted floors are uncomfortable for pigs to stand/lie on and contribute to lameness and skin lesions. No specific mention.
Nutritious feed given in a way that minimises competition. NB. Manipulable material is also eaten by pigs. Competition leads to stress and injury, as well as preventing subordinate pigs from getting enough food. Feed and water must maintain good health.
Clean, fresh water given in way that minimises competition. Competition leads to stress and injury, as well as preventing subordinate pigs from getting enough food. Palatable water for all pigs at all times. No mention of competition.
Slats maximum of 25% of the floor area. As above. Some slatted areas are needed to let faeces/urine to drain away. No specific mention.
Ammonia below 20 ppm. Improved air quality leads to a healthier environment. Ammonia below 25 ppm.
Regular veterinary visit required. Enables problems to be identified and acted on early. No specific mention.
Significant surgical procedures done using pain relief. Reduces/removes pain, which minimises stress and promotes faster recovery. No specific mention.
Plan in place for ending tail docking. If done, must be between 24 & 36 hours of birth. Best practice for tail docking, in order to minimise pain and distress in young piglets. Tail docking permitted.
Tooth clipping/grinding not done routinely. Avoids unnecessary pain and distress. Tooth clipping/grinding permitted.
Tusk trimming done by a vet under heavy sedation. Avoids unnecessary pain and distress. No specific mention.
Castration, other than with Improvac, not allowed. Avoids unnecessary pain and distress. Castration permitted by a vet.
Daily inspections by trained staff, done with care. Minimises distress to the pigs, when inspections are done calmly and with respect to the animals. Daily inspection required.
Regular hoof condition checks. Allows early detection and treatment of a very painful condition in pigs. Ultimately improves welfare by being proactive. No specific mention.
Boars and sows must be a similar size for mating. Reduces the risk of injury to the sow, which promotes better welfare. No specific mention.
Enough straw/bedding to enable nest building to occur, 72 hours before farrowing. Allows for a very important and deeply ingrained behaviour to be fully completed. Manipulation is only part of the solution. Full nest building is important to the pig. Material that can be manipulated until farrowing required.
Farrowing huts/arks provide protection from extreme weather. Provides a comfortable and safe environment for the pig to give birth, so reduces stress and improves wellbeing. Shelter that protects from weather extremes required.
18 sows/ha maximum. Gives sows enough space to express normal behaviours, including rooting, social interaction and exploration. No specific mention.
More space for growing pigs than the Code of Welfare. 0.04 x liveweight Gives sows enough space to express normal behaviours, including rooting, social interaction and exploration. 0.03 x liveweight.
No use of electric goads. Backing boards, etc. permitted. Electric goads are highly aversive to pigs. Stopping their use reduces stress and pain, as well as lessening the risk of injury to the animal. Permitted for pigs over 150 kg.
Mandatory staff training. Ensures that staff know what they are doing and can respond to problems appropriately to reduce bird distress/discomfort. Staff must collectively possess the knowledge and skills to meet the minimum standards.

Together, we can raise the bar of welfare for farmed animals

Every year over 13,000,000 farmed animals in NZ benefit from a higher standard of care. Sounds like a lot, but that’s just 21% of all the country’s farmed animals*. With your help, we can improve the welfare of many more farmed animals in NZ. *Stats NZ 2019