Forty-six new animal welfare regulations are to be developed this year, says the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy.
“Changes we made to the Animal Welfare Act in 2015 have allowed us to create directly-enforceable regulations. This has given the act more teeth, and creates more tools to deal with mistreatment of animals.
“These 46 regulations include stock transport, farm husbandry, companion and working animals, pigs, layer hens and the way animals are accounted for in research, testing and teaching.
“These follow the Young Calf and Live Animal Export regulations which we fast-tracked and introduced last year. These regulations contributed to a reduction of more than 50 per cent in mortality rates for bobby calves during the 2016 season.”
Last year, the Ministry for Primary Industries consulted on 91 animal welfare regulations and received more than 1400 submissions from a wide range of individuals and organisations, all with different perspectives on animal welfare.
MPI will now focus on having the next 46 regulations ready to be delivered by the end of this year and to come into effect before October 2018. The delayed lead-in time will enable farmers, processors, transporters and others to ensure that their systems are up and running before the new regulations take effect.
The remaining regulations that were consulted on last year will be considered in a third package of work in 2018, for introduction in 2019.
“In 2014, New Zealand’s animal welfare system was ranked first equal out of 50 countries assessed by the global animal protection charity World Animal Protection,” says Nathan.
“Animal welfare is extremely important to New Zealanders and to our international consumers. We take good care of our animals but one bad incident can damage our reputation.
“That’s why these new regulations are important, providing greater enforcement and helping protect animals.”