Despite New Zealand being the highest ranked country under the Animal Protection Index, it is only a marginally adequate performer under the VACI due to its high levels of animal production and consumption.
New Zealand slaughters the third highest number of animals on a per capita basis globally, with around 29.3 land-based animals slaughtered per person / year (compared with a global average of 9.7). The country also has the highest dependency on farm animals, with around 13 farm animals per person (compared with a global average of around 4). Factory farming is prevalent, particularly with poultry and pig production. The use of sow stalls for pig meat production has been banned, and battery cages are due to be phased out by 2022.
The New Zealand diet contains a relatively high proportion of animal products, with around 56.1% of the average person’s diet being made up of land-based animal protein (compared with a global average of 35.2%). This equates to each person consuming around 48.2g of land-based animal protein per day (compared with a global average of 26.7g). A 2015 Roy Morgan poll found an increase of 27% in vegetarianism since 2011.
New Zealand was given an “A” under the Animal Protection Index (API), and is also a high performer under the Sanctioning Cruelty category. As a result, New Zealand is recognised as a world leader with respect to the quality of its animal welfare legislation. Nevertheless, cruelty to farm animals – particularly in the dairy industry – remains a significant issue, and cultural attitudes present a barrier to progress in this area. Learn more about the quality of New Zealand’s legislative protections on the API here.