NAWAC Review of the Pigs Code of Welfare

16 December 2009

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) announced today that the review of the Animal Welfare (Pigs) Code of Welfare 2005 has been delayed and will not be completed until early next year.

NAWAC was on track to review the code by the end of 2009 in order to meet the wish of the Minister of Agriculture who asked the committee to make it a priority in light of specific issues around the use of dry sow stalls and farrowing crates.

"However, the New Zealand Pork Industry Board has threatened legal action regarding release of the draft code for public consultation" says John Hellstrom, NAWAC Chairman.

"In light of this, NAWAC wants to ensure its processes are as robust as possible and so will be further consulting with the pig industry and other affected parties before releasing a draft code for public consultation" says John.

"Unfortunately this will delay the public release of the code but NAWAC is committed to ensuring due process is followed in preparing the draft and we are aiming to begin the public consultation process some time early in 2010."

NAWAC is currently proposing that the use of dry stalls be restricted to four weeks from December 2012, which the pig industry has provisionally agreed with. A further proposal to ban the use of sow stalls at some future date is still being discussed with MAF, the New Zealand Pork Industry Board, New Zealand Veterinary Association and the Royal New Zealand SPCA. However, the industry has so far indicated that it is strongly opposed to any future ban.

"The Minister has been advised that despite its best efforts NAWAC has been unable to complete the legislated process for finalising the draft."

The Animal Welfare Act requires all people responsible for animals to meet the physical, health and behavioural needs of animals in their care. When NAWAC develops and reviews codes it expands on this by developing codes with standards and best practices best designed to provide for animals' overall needs. The code is intended to encourage all owners and persons in charge of pigs to adopt high standards of husbandry, care and handling, that equal or exceed the minimum standards.

For more information about NAWAC and codes of welfare visit: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/regs/animal-welfare/nz/nawac.

Media contact:

Lisa Gibbison
04 894 0432 / 029 894 0432

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