The importance of animal welfare
Animal welfare is important to animals, to society, and to the economy.
Increasingly, consumers at home and around the world want to know that New Zealand's animals are being properly cared for. There's a lot at stake to get animal welfare right and we've all got a part to play.
As the regulator of animal welfare in New Zealand, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is responsible for enforcing animal welfare legislation on our farms and promoting policies for the humane treatment of animals.
Our animal welfare inspectors
To help us enforce the rules, we need people on the ground to visit farmers and follow up on complaints.
Our animal welfare inspectors put in a lot of work with the community to ensure people understand their responsibilities. We know most people don't want to break the law, so it's always our preference to intervene early to prevent animal welfare issues arising.
The role of the animal welfare inspector is complex and varied. It requires a diverse skill set and good communication skills.
Video: an animal welfare inspector at work [2.18]
[Aerial shot of Pamu, Landcorp farm, Balcutha.]
Title key Tony Paku Animal Welfare Inspector
[Tony driving the car and speaking.]
"Basically, every job we do starts off as an inspection, but sometimes they tend to develop into investigations depending on the sort of stuff that we find. Largely it is to do with I guess the well-being of the animals and making sure that they're being looked after as they should and then secondly also it's about holding those people to account."
[Aerial shot of Pamu Landcorp farm, Balclutha and Tony's car drives down the road to the farm.]
[Aerial shot of Pamu farm buildings.]
[Tony's car drives along driveway and pulls in. Tony gets out of the car and shakes the farmer's hand.]
[Tony speaking to camera]
"Our animal welfare inspectors work very hard to ensure that where animal welfare is being neglected, the actions required to remedy the situation are taken as quickly as possible. The role of the inspector is two-fold – to consider the condition of animals and to hold people to account.
"So, today we're going to a Pāmu, Landcorp farm based here in Balclutha. The farm we're going to is a pretty good farm, we've done a little bit of work with Matt over the last couple of years."
[Tony speaking to camera in the barn at the farm.]
"So I guess for me, as an animal welfare inspector, I guess I'm not too dissimilar to most inspectors that are employed by MPI.
[The farmer and Tony walk together in the farm barn.]
"I have a farming type background. I grew up on a beef and sheep property in the Hawke's Bay. We are also arable farm growers, so when we turn up onto farm I guess we look at the job in two ways."
[High angle of Tony and the farmer walking in the barn towards a herd of cows in the shed.]
"First and foremost, it's about those animals that we're there to see. I mean the Animal Welfare Act is just about the animals, and so of course we want to ensure that the animals are, you know, anything that's going on, we can work toward towards rectifying issues."
[The farmer opens a gate and Tony and farmer enter a paddock with cows.]
"But I guess the second part of our job which is as equally important is that we need to be working with the people as well."
[The farmer and Tony walk in the paddock. Footage of cows.]
"People ask if our officers care about the animals and what that level of care means for us is actually about ensuring that the welfare concerns of those animals are actually being met."
[The tractor pulls the feed cart with cows following it who eat the hay.]
"Making sure they're being fed properly, making sure they're being watered properly."
[Tony speaking to camera. He is in the barn on the farm.]
"So when we get a complaint from the public, generally they come through an 0800 number and so that complaint is then picked up by the animal welfare coordinators."
[High angle shot looking down at cattle on the farm below.]
"And then basically what will happen from there is that the jobs are graded."
[Tony speaking to the camera. He is in the barn.]
"So our jobs are graded from grade one through to grade three. Grade one requires us to actually respond to that job within 24 hours."
[Tony herds cows in the barn, and there is a high-angle camera shot of cows being herded on the farm.]
"And then as the different grades go down, the animals aren't dead or dying, but they still require us to respond within a certain period of time."
[Tony speaking to camera. He is outside on the farm.]
"We should be looking after animals and giving them the best life that they can have while on farm."
[Profile shot of Tony, standing in the barn followed by a high-angle camera shot of cows in a paddock below.]
“And I guess for us as animal welfare inspectors, that's entirely why we're here to ensure that is actually happening."
[Graphic: For information about how to become an animal welfare inspector, visit the MPI website.]
[End graphic: Ministry for Primary Industries – Manatū Ahu Matua]
[End of transcript]
The skills you need to be an animal welfare inspector
We are interested in a wide range of people when looking for new animal welfare inspectors. You need to have:
- experience with large animals, like cows, sheep, or horses. If you grew up on a farm or worked on a farm, this would help
- some enforcement experience
- ideally some NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing programme) experience
- a driver's licence, with a clean driving record.
You'll need to be:
- enquiring and alert
- firm and fair
- observant, with an eye for detail
- a good communicator
- able to relate to people from a range of cultures
- able to work well under pressure.
Find out more
Who to contact
If you have any questions about animal welfare inspectors or working at MPI, email firstname.lastname@example.org