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SPCA Blue Tick encourages ethical farming

SPCA Blue Tick encourages ethical farming

Growing consumer demand for humanely farmed eggs and a new animal Code of Welfare will see battery cages for layer hens phased out by 2018, with a total ban by 2022.

RNZSPCA chief executive Ric Odom tackled the controversial topic of animal welfare on production farms at a recent Egg Industry Conference, using the opportunity to explain the objectives and strategy of the SPCA Blue Tick to the nation’s egg producers.

The SPCA Blue Tick is an audited accreditation scheme offering consumers a guarantee that the products they are choosing are humanely farmed. By purchasing these products, consumers support sound animal welfare and Kiwi farmers who provide their animals with a better quality of life.

Odom reassured attendees that the SPCA wants to work together with farmers to make the necessary changes by 2022.

“Our goal is to improve farm animal welfare in a commercially sustainable way, helping farmers to come on a transitional journey with us,” he says.

While the SPCA is against intensive caged farming systems and does not endorse the use of colony cage systems, Odom says the organisation is open to new approaches such as multi-tier aviaries, currently being piloted with close monitoring.

“With this strategy, we absolutely believe that we can drive improved animal welfare throughout the country with practical solutions which make the change affordable for farmers, and their produce affordable for consumers,” Odom adds.

However, seeking improvements to animal welfare standards is not without controversy.

“The SPCA is seeking to strike a balance to meet our vision of high animal welfare throughout the country. Consumers can rest assured that the SPCA Blue Tick products they are buying are even more stringent than the government's welfare code, as explained on our website.

“While evolving and progressing standards, it is necessary to take cognisance of consumer opinions, listen to farmers and respond to the demands of retailers.

“At the same time the scheme must be economically viable, representing cost effectiveness for producers and resulting in products that consumers are willing to pay for, while maintaining the best welfare standards without compromise to the animals,” says Odom.

The three-day Egg Industry Conference is a gathering of industry players where keynote speakers address topical issues, share key learnings, challenges and opportunities in the industry.

ENDS

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