New animal amendment bill introduced

NZ Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan GuyA new Animal Welfare Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament on 8 May to update and strengthen animal welfare in New Zealand.

“The Bill will allow us to create enforceable regulations that set out how farm and domestic animals should be treated,” said Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy. “It also gives wider powers to deal with people who breach welfare laws.”

The Bill comes from a comprehensive review of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 which found that while the principles are sound, the time is right to update and improve how it operates, the Minister explained, adding that it will make the legislation easier to enforce and make it clearer and more transparent.

“It matters how we treat animals, both to ourselves and for our international trading reputation. This Bill makes that reputation stronger.”

The new regulations will be developed to support New Zealand’s 15 codes of welfare and future codes, which cover a wide variety of animals.

The news followed the release of New Zealand’s new Animal Welfare Strategy, setting the direction for animal welfare in New Zealand.

The strategy – Animal Welfare Matters – sets out a formal foundation for new Zealand’s animal welfare legislation and policy, Guy said. It lists four main routes to improved animal welfare:

  • Better planning to prevent animal welfare problems
  • Better animal husbandry, science and technology
  • Clear expectations and sanctions, with help for people to comply, and
  • Measuring animal welfare performance.

Aside from 68 percent of New Zealand households owning at least one pet, the country also earns around $20 billion a year exporting animal products, such as meat, milk and wool.

The Strategy follows public consultation last year when over 2,000 public submissions were received.

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