Media Releases

New Zealand Animal Welfare Trade Report Calls for Action on Pork Imports from Canada

TORONTO—A new report is urging policymakers in New Zealand to clamp down on Canadian pork imports because they are inconsistent with the nation’s higher farmed animal welfare standards

The report,Closing the Welfare Gap: Why New Zealand Must Apply Its Animal Protection Standards to Imports released by Animal Policy International, the SPCA and the New Zealand Animal Law Association, recommends that New Zealand extend its animal protection laws to cover all products placed on the New Zealand market, regardless of origin. 

Report findings include:

  • A significant amount of pork and other animal products imported into New Zealand come from countries like Canada that allow intensive confinement practices banned in New Zealand. For example, over 90% of pork imported into New Zealand comes from countries that permit gestation crates for mother pigs—narrow cages where sows cannot turn around or engage in natural behaviors. New Zealand outlawed gestation crates in 2016 after a public outcry, but they are widely used in Canada..
  • In 2022 Canada exported 4,541 tonnes of pork to New Zealand, which made up 9% of total pork imports.
  • A survey from Horizon Research showed over 80% of New Zealanders agree that imported products from outside New Zealand should respect the same animal welfare standards as those applied domestically. 
  • World Trade Organization case law supports import restrictions based on ethical concerns, like the EU’s 2009 ban on seal products upheld for public moral reasons around seal hunting which affected Canada.

“Canada has unfortunately fallen very far behind our major trading partners when it comes to animal welfare protections for farmed animals like pigs,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “It’s understandable that citizens of countries like New Zealand, with stronger laws, are concerned that Canadian imports undermine local values and reputation.”

“Allowing low welfare imports that do not comply with New Zealand animal welfare rules arguably equates to violating the moral contract New Zealand has with its citizens. Just as we regulate imports to safeguard our biosecurity, we should also do so for animal welfare, protecting the values of New Zealanders and upholding our reputation.” says Animal Policy International Co-Executive Director Mandy Carter. “The government has an opportunity to close the welfare gap by extending animal welfare regulations to imports.”


Josh Lynn
Public Relations Manager
[email protected]

Mandy Carter
Co-Executive Director
Animal Policy International
[email protected]