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27 May 2010
The Animal Welfare (Commercial Slaughter) Code of Welfare 2010, issued today
by the Minister of Agriculture, encourages all those involved in the commercial
slaughter of animals to adopt welfare requirements to ensure animals are
The code covers all aspects of commercial slaughter (defined as the killing
of animals where a business transaction takes place) and comes into effect from
28 May 2010.
It applies to everyone responsible for the welfare of animals being
commercially slaughtered, including primary processors, homekill service
providers, pet food operators and anyone operating a business where animals are
killed for human consumption. The code does not apply to on-farm slaughter for
personal consumption, or the killing of animals for pest control or recreational
National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) Chairman John Hellstrom
says the code provides clear guidelines with regard to the way people care for
animals beyond the farm.
"It sets out general principles and recommendations for best practice,
ensuring animals do not suffer unreasonable or unnecessary pain and distress
when they are killed."
"New Zealand's excellent animal health and welfare status is vigorous. The
commercial slaughter code of welfare is another component to a system ensuring
animals are treated appropriately from farm to fork."
Included in the code are requirements for pre-slaughter handling facilities,
procedures to minimise animal stress; and processes to ensure immediate loss of
consciousness during stunning to prevent animals from feeling pain. Minimum
"The code requires all animals slaughtered commercially in New Zealand to be
stunned prior to killing. This is to ensure animals at slaughter are treated
humanely and in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge.
Animals are killed for meat everyday for New Zealanders and international
markets. Treating animals humanely, especially at the time of killing or death,
is fundamental to good animal welfare" says John Hellstrom.
NAWAC was established by the Animal Welfare Act 1999. The Committee has a
number of prescribed functions including providing advice to the Minister on any
matter pertaining to the welfare of animals, identifying research requirements,
advice on legislative matters and the development of codes of welfare.
The Commercial Slaughter Code is available online at
http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/regs/animal-welfare/stds/codes or by request