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The SPCA is set to put high animal welfare firmly on the menu, at their SPCA 'Blue Tick' stand (Wellington Food Show Westpac Stadium, 11-13 May 2012) in a bid to raise awareness that there are humanely farmed egg and meat products that consumers can choose to cook with; and why.
The SPCA 'Blue Tick' programme is the only independently audited animal welfare set of standards in New Zealand. It is awarded to food producers who meet their high welfare farming standards. The auditing of these standards is carried out on a regular basis, by independent auditors and also involves numerous 'spot' checks. Being New Zealand's second most trusted non-profit organisation, the SPCA 'Blue Tick' is therefore a guarantee to consumers - from 'paddock to plate' - that they can trust.
The SPCA 'Blue Tick' stand (at the food show) will not only showcase these food producers but demonstrate how to cook with these products, with the help from some celebrity chefs. Nadia Lim (Masterchef 2011), Clare Aldous (Dish Magazine) and Grant Allen (Cook and writer for The Sunday Herald) will be on hand, throughout the three days, to dish up some humanely-farmed delights.
In addition, visitors to the stand will be able to hear directly from the SPCA 'Blue Tick' producers and distributors, as well as animal welfare experts (such as veterinarians) and some of the actual SPCA 'Blue Tick' auditors and staff members, including Robyn Kippenberger, National Chief Executive at RNZSPCA.
Juliette Banks, National Accreditation & Marketing Manager (SPCA 'Blue Tick') explains why putting high animal welfare on the menu, at the food show, is a must:
"We want to raise awareness with as many Kiwi consumers as possible, that animals are still being farmed in cages (hens); sow stalls, farrowing crates and concrete fattening pens (pigs). With the Government expected to pass the proposed colony cages mid year we could see our hens living in cages for at least another 15 years.
"We also want to reveal the truth behind some 'marketing terms' used by some producers, including the frivolous use of 'free range' to deliberately cloud consumer choice."
The SPCA 'Blue Tick' poultry standards, for example, give chickens more room to move around and guaranteed access to food, and shade and shelter outside. Basic requirements that a layer hen, who was originally a forest bird, requires before feeling safe enough to venture into the green paddock a 'free-range' farmer provides for her. "Otherwise she will stay cramped inside her small barn too scared to venture out. This is not the happy egg consumers think they are buying." Juliette continues.
"The aim of the SPCA 'Blue Tick' is simply to get animals out of cages and improve the welfare on NZ farms. By educating consumers, who hold the power with their wallets, and providing them with 'Blue Tick' approved products that we are monitoring, we are achieving this. We work with farmers who would like to join the scheme, in order to get up to our standards, so they can enjoy the rewards along with the animals."
Juliette concludes: "The SPCA 'Blue Tick' standards are highly transparent and can be found on our website. These are the exact same documents that the farmers and auditors use. As a result, we want to empower consumers with a simple and recognisable method of identifying high welfare animal food products and at the same time influence and change the welfare of farmed animals in New Zealand, full stop."
SCPA 'Blue Tick' producers that will be showcased at the stand, over the three days of the food show, will include: Benniks Barn Eggs, Henergy Eggs, Kirkfield Family Farms, Sunset Free Range, Freedom Farms and Harmony Foods.
Notes to Editors:
The SPCA 'Blue Tick' formally launched in October 2010. The SPCA 'Blue Tick' can be found on egg, pork and now poultry products.
To earn the right to display the SPCA 'Blue Tick' logo, producers must meet the independent animal welfare standards set by the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RNZPSCA), as well as undergo thorough auditing on a regular basis by independent, qualified inspectors. This rigorous auditing process also includes 'spot' checks.
The SPCA 'Blue Tick' is not-for-profit but a practical, on-going promise to benefit the lives of farmed animals in New Zealand for the better.
Producers of meat in New Zealand who would like to apply for the SPCA 'Blue Tick' certification to visit www.rnzspca.org.nz/bluetick for more information, or call Juliette Banks, National Accreditation and Marketing Manager at RNZSPCA on: 09 825 1804.