If you have a question about the Blue Tick scheme, please don't hesitate to contact us for more information. Have a look at some of our more frequently asked questions to see if your query has already been answered.
- What does the Blue Tick stand for?
- How do food producers get certification?
- What sorts of products are involved?
- How come there aren't more products certified in the Blue Tick programme?
- What's in it for me?
- How do I recognise these products?
- Why do Blue Tick food products cost more?
- What are cage eggs?
- Do the living conditions of battery cage hens affect their well-being?
- What are barn eggs?
- What are free range eggs?
- How can I tell which eggs are which?
- How can I be sure the eggs I purchase are from hens that have been well treated and cared for?
- How can I make a difference?
- What else can I do?
- What role does the SPCA play in monitoring animal welfare?
The Blue Tick is a national certification programme run by the SPCA that identifies animal food products produced in a manner that is guaranteed to be cruelty-free.
They must meet the SPCA’s rigorous welfare standards and undergo thorough auditing on a regular basis by qualified and independent inspectors. Spot audits can also be done at any time.
Free range and barn laid eggs were first to be accredited under the scheme in 2001, and in 2007 free range and eco barn pork and pork products were added.
The SPCA is working hard to convince food producers there are benefits for everyone in producing food from healthy and happy animals. You can make change by purchasing SPCA Blue Tick products and by asking for Blue Tick products at the supermarket.
Products with the Blue Tick have come from healthy and happy animals; by choosing these products you can be confident the food is humanely-produced.
Products accepted for the Blue Tick programme display the SPCA logo superimposed over a blue tick surrounded by the words Royal New Zealand SPCA Approved.
The price difference is generally minor compared to the benefits of better quality food, and the moral satisfaction consumers get from knowing the food is ethically produced. But the fact is it simply costs more to farm animals in open spaces the way nature intended than in cramped production line processes.
Cage eggs (battery eggs) are laid by hens cramped in metal cages holding up to five birds. The hen has no room to flap her wings or walk freely, no litter to dust-bathe or scratch in, and no privacy or comfort in which to lay her eggs. She stands or squats all day and night on a sloping wire mesh floor. Her feathers get damaged and rubbed off by the wires and the close proximity of the other birds, her feet become deformed and her legs and body structure is weakened by lack of exercise.
Yes. Cage hens are not happy and suffer enormous emotional and physical distress. They are unable to carry out any of their natural behaviours. They can't perch or roost for safety, they can't dust-bathe, they can't peck at the ground, and they can't make a nest. They can't even flap their wings, as the space they live in is very small.
Barn eggs are laid by hens that are free to move around indoors. They are able to walk and flap their wings. They have deep litter in which to scratch and dust-bathe, and there are easily accessible feed and water stations placed throughout the shed. Above the litter is a central raised platform where the hens roost at night. Nesting boxes are placed above the platform, where the hens can lay their eggs in comfort and privacy.
Free range eggs are laid by hens that are free during the day to range outdoors in paddocks, where they have plenty of room to forage, dust-bathe, stretch and flap their wings, and perform their natural behaviours. They have an indoor area in which to shelter, feed and roost at night, and nesting boxes in which to lay their eggs in privacy. They are kept in small flocks.
To be sure the eggs you buy are produced in a consistently humane environment, you need to look for the Blue Tick logo on the carton. If our logo is not on the carton, look out for words such as “free ranging” or “barn raised” and do your research be sure it actually contains eggs that are farmed in a cruelty free manner.
The SPCA Blue Tick logo tells you for sure the eggs have been produced humanely. Whether free range or barn eggs, the logo is your guarantee the hens who laid the eggs are well treated and cared for throughout their lives.
By choosing products that carry the Blue Tick logo you will be joining a worldwide movement aimed at bringing food production into the 21st century.
You can send a message to battery egg or pork producers in the language they understand, the language of money! Instead of buying pork or eggs produced under cruel conditions, you can opt for Blue Tick products. Look for the Blue Tick at your local supermarket. You can also ask your local supermarket to stock Blue Tick products.
RNZSPCA stands for the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. We are a voluntary charity organisation which provides help to animals and owners 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Blue Tick programme is just one of a number of animal welfare services and programmes we provide.