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Press Release: New Zealand Government
Wednesday, 23 September 1998
A bill covering animal welfare was introduced today by the Minister of Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control, John Luxton.
The Bill reforms existing legislation which is now nearly 40 years old and no longer meets the expectations of New Zealanders or international consumers.
"The Bill imposes obligations on owners and those in charge of animals to ensure that the physical, health and behavioural needs of animals are met and that pain and distress is alleviated. This contrasts with the current Animal's Protection Act with its narrower focus on punishing acts of Cruelty" said Mr Luxton.
"The Bill will also provide for Codes of Welfare. These will be developed after public consultation" said Mr Luxton.
"Codes will set out minimum standards and guidelines for best practice and will be reviewed from time to time in response to changing attitudes and knowledge. This provides greater flexibility than the current legislation where the standards are set in the Act itself"
Additional features of the Bill are the more comprehensive and detailed provisions relating to the use of animals in research, testing and teaching and to the approval of animal exports. In both cases the Bill responds to increasing community concern about these areas.
Consultation over the content of the Bill began in 1990 but due to pressures on the Government legislative programme a higher priority was given over the next few years to other bills. Late last year a very similar private members bill on animal welfare was introduced by Labour's Pete Hodgson.
The Government supported Mr Hodgson's Bill. However it became apparent that there were a number of policy gaps and issues that required clarification. The Government decided that it would be much easier for the Select Committee to work with a Government bill whose policy and drafting format was closer to that which would be enacted.
"The Government Bill will not replace the Hodgson Bill. Under standing orders the Primary Production Select Committee will still be required to give full consideration to the Hodgson Bill."
"Many aspects of the two bills are in fact similar. Key differences are that the Government Bill does not apply to hunting, fishing and pest control, it does not prohibit the tail- docking of dogs and it includes more comprehensive provisions relating to animal export, research, testing and teaching and the approval of organisations to enforce the legislation"