MAF and RNZSPCA complete poultry welfare investigation

06 April 2001

The Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RNZSPCA) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) have completed their investigations into an allegation relating to the way that Tegel Poultry destroyed 5000 chicks, unwanted in the egg laying industry.

Key findings of the investigation are:

  • There is no evidence that Tegel broke the law;
  • Use of the maceration machine was not illegal;
  • Tegel staff were insufficiently prepared for the unpleasantness of the task.

RNZSPCA Poultry Welfare Spokesman Peg Loague and MAF Director of Animal Welfare David Bayvel said Tegel would now be putting time into staff training.

The RNZSPCA's Mrs Loague said that while the idea of maceration (instantaneous fragmentation) was disturbing to people it remained the most humane method of disposal currently available.

'The process kills chicks instantaneously. It isn't pleasant for people to see and it isn't pleasant to hear about. I find it horrible myself. My job, however, is to advocate for what is least distressing to animals. And at the present time maceration is the least distressing method available to kill unwanted chicks.'

David Bayvel said that new animal welfare legislation (the Animal Welfare Act 1999) was introduced on 1 January 2000. This Act makes legal provision for codes of welfare, which include minimum animal welfare standards.

The existing layer hen code, which permits the use of instantaneous fragmentation for the humane disposal of day old chicks, will be reviewed prior to consideration by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC). The revised draft code will be made available for public comment later in the year.

NAWAC is an independent advisory committee to the Minister of Agriculture and includes nominees from the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, New Zealand Veterinary Association, and Federated Farmers plus members with scientific expertise, ethics expertise and a consumer perspective.

For more information contact MAF's Director of Animal Welfare, David Bayvel, on 04-4744251 or 025-2209313; or RNZSPCA Immediate Past President Peg Loague on 07-3787630 or 025-762824.

Contact MPI

for general enquiries phone

0800 00 83 33