SPCA launches new accreditation program for animal welfare

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The updated SPCA Animal Welfare Certification is launched today as SPCA Certified, dedicated to improving the welfare of New Zealand animals in the animal husbandry and care sectors. pets.

Formerly called Blue Tick, launched almost two decades ago, the updated SPCA Certified program will seek to further inform and educate farmers and consumers on the importance of animal welfare.

SPCA Scientific Director Dr Arnja Dale said all standards in the initiative have been updated using current evidence-based science to improve animal welfare. Before the rewrite of the standards, a wide range of factors were taken into consideration, including current animal welfare science, legislation, pet care professionals and technical specialists, as well as best practices in animal welfare. industry and practical experience in agriculture.

“The Blue Tick program was fit for purpose when it was created, but over the past two decades agricultural practices, legislation as well as the science of animal welfare have changed dramatically, as well as areas where practical improvements can be made. be brought to the farm, ”says Dr. Dale.

“The move to SPCA certification has given us the opportunity to update our animal welfare standards and reframe them in the five domains model and include sensitivity as is now enshrined in the law on good. -being animals. This ensures that meeting our standards ensures that the SPCA Certified logo is affixed to food packaging or commercial pet care guarantees.

“We met our international colleagues who have launched similar initiatives and shared best practices not only on the most recent scientific research in animal welfare, but also on practical ways that standards can raise the bar for good. -be animal through all parts. ; animals, breeders, producers, animal care companies, customers and consumers, ”she says.

When choosing SPCA certified products and services, consumers can rest assured that they are helping to raise standards of care far beyond minimum legal requirements and provide a good life for New Zealand pets.
A key change is the shift to the implementation of the “five areas” rather than the “five freedoms” of animal welfare. The five freedoms are aimed at avoiding negative states such as pain and distress rather than providing animals with positive states of welfare.

The five realms go beyond the five freedoms and a key point of the difference is that the mental state of the animals is focused. The five domains model has been widely adopted as a model of animal welfare.

Providing companies in the pet care industry with the opportunity to achieve SPCA certification is an exciting development that Dr. Dale says adds a new level of consumer confidence.

“We think pet owners would like to be assured that the quality of care their pet receives meets SPCA standards,” she says. “We’re starting with companies in the dog daycare industry and developing additional standards for other pet care industries, like the dog training industry,” she says.

Dr Dale says the best thing about the introduction of SPCA certification is the positive approach many farmers have to the program. “We are seeing more and more suppliers wanting to join the initiative due to increased awareness of animal welfare and their determination to do what is best for animals.”

The SPCA certified team has been working behind the scenes for over 24 months, visiting current farms and suppliers, as well as onboarding new producers and suppliers who are dedicated to better animal welfare.

“We have seen a major shift in attitudes about the importance of animal welfare lately, not only on the part of farmers and pet care service providers, but New Zealand consumers as well. . They are genuinely interested in where their food comes from and in the sustainability of practices with a key focus on animal welfare.

The standards are reviewed by a team of highly qualified scientists from the SPCA every three years. SPCA New Zealand governs the SPCA certification and drafts the standards independently while the SPCA certification implements the standards and ensures that they are met by certified SPCA members. All SPCA certified farms and businesses are independently audited (at least twice a year) and receive unannounced visits from QCONZ, ensuring consumers that the businesses they support consistently meet strict certification requirements.

In addition to the existing standards for laying hen (free range and hen house), meat – chicken (free range) and meat – pigs (free and free), the SPCA certified team is developing standards for broilers reared in chicken coop, cattle, meat mutton, dairy cattle, dairy sheep and salmon.

Products and services that carry the SPCA Certified logo will begin to appear on shelves and in dog day care centers with new packaging and branding rolled out over the next six months.

For more information, please visit: www.spcacertified.nz

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