New Zealand to improve animal welfare measures

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

New animal welfare regulations are due to come into force next year
New animal welfare regulations are due to come into force next year

Related tags Animal welfare Cattle Lamb

New Zealand has unveiled plans to develop new animal welfare regulations. 

The country’s Ministry for Primary Industries has announced that it will be implementing 46 new animal welfare regulations. Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said: “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% in mortality rates for bobby ​[unwanted male] calves during the 2016 season.”

This comes after the Ministry consulted on 91 animal welfare regulations last year and received more than 1,400 submissions from a wide range of individuals and organisations, all with different perspectives on animal welfare.

It 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 to allow farmers, processors, transporters and others to ensure that their systems are up and running before the new regulations take effect.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) welcomed these new regulations, saying: “They’re a win for the wellbeing of our animals and further reinforce New Zealand’s internationally recognised animal welfare standards”.

Areas of interest for the Veterinary Association included cattle disbudding [removing the horn buds from a young animal] and animal transportation.

“Pain relief when disbudding cattle will be mandatory under the new regulations,”​ it said. “The NZVA have long signalled the importance of pain relief for procedures such as this. The NZVA views pain relief for disbudding as being accessible, practical, effective, and affordable.

“The proposed regulations will make existing restrictions on the transportation of lame, diseased or ill animals enforceable. This reinforces the critical role that veterinarians have to play in New Zealand in protecting animal welfare through ensuring that only animals that are fit and sound are transported.”

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