New Zealand is a poor performer (“E”) under the VACI, just ahead of Canada. The country has a very high level of production and consumption of animal products, and has taken steps to improve farmed animal protection although some cruel farming practices are still permitted.
New Zealand slaughters the third highest number of animals on a per capita basis globally, with around 31.8 land-based animals slaughtered per person per year, compared with the global average of 10.1. The country has the third highest dependence on farmed animals of all VACI countries, with around 13.1 farmed animals per person, versus a global average of 4.1. Factory farming is prevalent, particularly with pigs, chickens and other farmed birds. Livestock products account for about half of all exports.
While 10% of the population are predominantly vegetarian, the average diet in New Zealand still contains a very high proportion of animal products, with around 54% of the average person’s diet made up of land-based animal protein, compared to the global average of 35.2%. Each person consumes around 45.2g of land-based animal protein per day, versus a global average of 27.2g.
New Zealand is rated as an adequate performer (“C”) under the Animal Protection Index (API), and its farmed animal protection legislation achieved the same rating under the index. New Zealand has recognised the sentience of animals and endorsed amendments designed to make species-specific animal protection standards enforceable, partly as a result of effective public advocacy campaigns. For example, battery cages for egg-laying hens are due to be phased out by 2022. On the other hand, broad exceptions are still allowed (e.g. colony hen cages), official surveillance of slaughter facilities remains weak, and penalties for legislative infractions are still mild. Learn more about the quality of New Zealand’s legislative protections on the API here.