Animal welfare system stronger from today

Damien O'Connor, Minister of Agriculture
Damien O'Connor.

Regulations to strengthen our animal welfare system come into effect from today.

“Two thirds of us have pets and we love them. Further, New Zealand’s economy relies on our social license to produce the finest food and fibre – and it can take one case of poor animal welfare to harm this,” Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor says.

“These regulations have been developed over the past three years, in consultation with industry and advocacy groups, and target lower-end offending.

“While most people care for their animals and are already doing it right, the regulations make it easier to take action against animal mistreatment and target specific behaviours that need to change.

“From today, Animal Welfare Inspectors from Ministry of Primary Industries and SPCA can issue fines for certain actions, such as allowing dogs in cars to get heat stressed, or failing to provide tethered goats with access to water and shelter.

“Some of the regulations are infringement offences, with a set fine, while others are prosecutable offences, which could result in a larger fine and criminal conviction.

“Farmers also need to be aware of the new regulations, which cover on-farm practices and transporting livestock. Most of the regulations reflect existing farm practices but a few set new requirements.

“Many of the transport-related regulations apply to farmers selecting lame, sick or injured stock, so farmers should check they are doing it right or face a $500 fine.

“Farmers and transporters can download the Fit for Transport app or go to the MPI website where an interactive tool brings together all regulations, guidance and minimum standards in the codes of welfare.

“Whether you are a farmer or live on a lifestyle block, own a pet or petting zoo, transport livestock or ride a horse, the regulations will apply to you,” says O’Connor.

Read more at www.mpi.govt.nz/animalregs

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