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11 July 2007
The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) issued its 2006 Annual Report today.
Chairman of NAWAC, Dr Peter O’Hara, said 2006 was a busy year that saw the committee involved in the development and release of two codes of welfare – one for deer, the other for companion cats, host a stakeholder workshop to discuss the future of pain relief, and establish an advisory committee to plan and encourage the research needed for the reviews of the broiler and layer hen codes of welfare.
He said codes, issued under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, “challenge current practices or perceived wisdom” about animal welfare.
“For example, the deer code raised the issue of shelter for deer, both for protection in extreme weather and to allow the instinctive hiding behaviour of hinds for their fawns. As it stands, it is currently commonplace to see herds of deer in bare paddocks with no access to shelter.”
Giving the example of the worldwide move to replace battery cages for layer hens, Dr O’Hara said the challenge is for welfare codes to keep pace with on-going research and innovation. The committee’s response has been to “explore ways of expressing minimum standards in codes as welfare outcomes to be achieved, rather than prescribing standards for facilities”.
Other codes of welfare currently under development cover commercial slaughter, dairy cattle, sheep and beef cattle, dogs and transport of animals within New Zealand.
To determine how best to introduce the pain management measures signalled by the Painful Husbandry Procedures Code of Welfare, NAWAC held a successful workshop in September involving a range of industry representatives. Participants identified the key elements of a strategy to progress this objective. This code, issued in 2005, covers all procedures that involve physical interference with sensitive tissues that are carried out for reasons other than the treatment of injuries or diseases.
NAWAC is an independent advisory committee to the Minister of Agriculture. The committee was established under section 56 of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 to provide advice to the Minister on matters relating to the welfare of animals in New Zealand and to develop codes of welfare.
A copy of the annual report is available at www.biosecurity.govt.nz/regs/animal-welfare/nawac/annual-reports or by request from email@example.com.
Helen Keyes, Senior Communications Adviser
Phone: 0-4-894 0161 or 029-894 0161