A call for McDonald's New Zealand to use pork products with high animal welfare standards has been applauded by the SPCA.
The Green Party earlier this week called for McDonald's to follow in the footsteps of its international counterparts and set welfare standards for pork products.
United States McDonald's announced earlier this year they would phase out the use of sow crates within 10 years, and McDonald's in the United Kingdom has strict standards for the pork products they buy.
The SPCA said McDonald's NZ should buy locally sourced pork, where producers have higher welfare standards than most other countries.
"Companies like McDonald's can change the face of our farming in New Zealand," said Juliette Banks, the national accreditation and marketing manager for SPCA Blue Tick.
The SPCA runs a certification scheme for farm animals known as the Blue Tick, which is seen on chicken, pork and egg products.
McDonald's NZ communications advisor Kelly Armitage said pork is one of the few things the fast-food chain sources offshore.
"Our pork comes from Canada as loins and is converted to bacon in Australia for both markets."
Armitage said the company abides by local laws and regulations for animal welfare standards.
"McDonald's follows relevant local animal welfare practices while adhering to our strict local company guidelines requiring the humane treatment of animals."
However, Green Party animal welfare spokesperson Mojo Mathers said these markets have lower standards than NZ.
"Australia and Canada have lower animal welfare standards than those that our New Zealand pork producers have to meet.
"Big purchasers like McDonald's have a responsibility to support their local producers who are working to improve animal welfare standards."
Mathers said NZ consumers want higher welfare standards, citing a Government ban on sow crates by 2015.
Armitage said a decision for McDonald's to use a local supply of pork would have to go through a rigorous process to take into account a possible price increase.
"Research has shown that New Zealanders are very price sensitive," she said.
Mathers said after reporting its biggest dividend in a decade, "surely McDonald's can afford to commit to cruelty free pork that will support our local producers and reduce suffering for the pigs."
Armitage said McDonald's NZ met with New Zealand Pork last week, which said it was "happy" to discuss supply.