NZ Pork is urging the Government to take some action and ensure that imported pork meets the same animal welfare standards as New Zealand-born and raised pork following what they are calling a 'disappointing decision' by Parliaments Primary Production Select Committee.
A petition was signed by almost 3500 Kiwis calling for this equal animal welfare standard to be applied to imported pork but it was not enough to impact a decision change.
NZ Pork Chief Executive Brent Kleiss told REX host Dominic George Aotearoa is well ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to welfare standards.
"When we know that there is potentially more changes on the horizon to the animal welfare standards in New Zealand we wanted to make sure that it was known and that it was recognised by those that are making decisions around that, that we desire the same standards and the same rules be applied to this pork that is being sold alongside New Zealand produced products," he said.
While he said they saw a lot of support for the petition, including some of their traditional industry opponents, Kleiss is disappointed but not surprised by the result.
"We know there are challenges when it comes to trade. We know it's hard to impose rules on the big boys like Europe and the US, which might be seen negatively.
"We certainly think there is a legal avenue to do it and we've discovered it doesn't seem there is an appetite, that is the disappointing thing."
He is also keen on improving labelling rules to make it easier for consumers to identify where their pork has come from.
"If you go to the supermarket and you try and find New Zealand-produced ham I think you would really struggle.
"If you want to find ham or bacon from a country that you're comfortable with the ethics in their farming practices you'll really struggle at the moment and we think that's wrong too."
Kleiss told George they won't stop pushing for equal welfare standards for imported meats but might have to change tact to push for real change.
Part of the argument against NZ Pork's call for clearer labelling is that you can't be seen to give an unfair advantage to New Zealand products over other products but Kleiss doesn't believe naming the country of origin on the packaging does that.
Gestation stalls were banned in New Zealand in 2015 whereas countries like the US and Canada are allowed to keep their sows in gestation stalls for the entirety of their pregnancy.
Listen to the full chat between NZ Pork Chief Executive Brent Kleiss and Dominic George above.