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24 June 2002
"The codes of animal welfare should not be dominated by single issues, but must be considered as part of an integrated package," said Professor David Mellor, Chairman of the advisory committee, which advises the government on animal welfare.
Professor David Mellor said in the 2001 Annual Report of the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) that although certain groups may try to turn the codes into single issues, the committee must not fall into that trap.
"While there will be some particular issues that require our focused attention we need to keep in mind that the codes must be seen as a package of measures dealing with the many facets of animal care and management," he said.
Professor Mellor said the preparation of draft codes for broiler chickens, layer hens, pigs, rodeos, zoos, circuses and commercial slaughter is well advanced, and public comment on three of them - broilers chickens, pigs and rodeos has been sought.
"The public consultation process has been a vital component of the drafting of the codes and the level of response certainly shows how importantly New Zealanders view animal welfare with 700 written submissions and over sixty thousand postcard submissions received for the pig code."
The codes set out the minimum standards of care for the welfare of animals and provide guidelines and recommendations for owners of animals or people in charge of animals.
Professor Mellor said throughout the year the committee had investigated and considered a number of welfare issues including: deer velveting; the practice of dubbing which involves the removal of the comb of male poultry, and electroimmobilisation as a means to temporarily restrain domestic animals such as cattle and deer.
The NAWAC Annual Report also provides details of research projects into animal welfare issues funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF). These include, amongst others, the welfare and mortality of newborn calves in the dairy industry, chronic pain in ruminants after painful husbandry practices, and animal health and welfare on lifestyle blocks and hobby farms.
NAWAC is an independent advisory committee to the Minister of Agriculture. The committee is 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.
On the 27th of June in Hamilton, NAWAC, alongside the International Society for Applied Ethology and MAF is sponsoring the conference Animal Welfare and Behaviour - From Science to Solution.
The primary purpose of the conference is to show how scientific investigations can and have advanced farm animal welfare, understanding of the behaviour of farm and wild animals, and humane management methods for wildlife. An additional purpose is to highlight some of the benefits of the operational research funds made available for MAF during the last eight years.
For further information please contact:
Professor David Mellor, Chairman NAWAC, 06 350 4807
Philippa White, MAF Biosecurity Communications Adviser, 04 498 9948 or 025 223 1875