Guide to the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations

The Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 cover a range of animals and situations, such as farm husbandry, companion animals, stock transport and surgical procedures. Check the regulations and MPI guidance to make sure you're complying with these laws.

About the regulations

The Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 allow better enforcement of low to medium animal welfare offending. They also clarify who can carry out some surgical procedures on animals, and under what circumstances. Severe animal cruelty is covered under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. 

When the regulations apply

Most of the regulations relating to stock transport, farm husbandry, and the care of animals came into effect on 1 October 2018. Regulations covering the treatment of young calves have been in force since 2016. Regulations on disbudding and dehorning cattle came into effect on 1 October 2019.

Two regulations came into force on 27 August 2020. These relate to the use of electric prodders at slaughter premises and the introduction of an infringement fee for non-compliance with a Compliance Notice.

More regulations will come into force on 9 May 2021. These will clarify who can carry out some surgical procedures on animals, and under what circumstances.

Find out more about how these regulations were developed:

Read the regulations on the New Zealand Legislation website:

We will add more guidance to this page before the regulations come into force on 9 May 2021.

Codes of Welfare will be updated in line with the new regulations.

What you need to do

Most of the regulations are based on current practice or existing minimum standards in the codes of welfare, so if you're already doing it right you won't see a lot of change. But some people may need to:

  • change their practices
  • provide additional staff training
  • make other changes to the way they care for their animals.

'Ask Reg' for all the details

Use an online tool – Ask Reg – to find all the requirements for your animal or activity.

Selecting an animal or activity (such as goats or transporting) in Ask Reg will provide you with applicable:

  • regulations
  • guidance on those regulations
  • minimum standards and recommended best practices from across the codes of welfare

Check the codes of welfare

Guidance on regulations by animal type or activity

We've also grouped our guidance on the regulations on this web page by animal type or activity. Note, there are no regulations relating solely to deer – check the regulations under 'Stock transport' and 'Regulations for all animals'.

Information on this page is guidance only. You can check the full regulation by clicking its numbered title – this will take you to the regulation on the NZ Legislation website.

You can also download leaflets on different animals and activities.

Check our list of leaflets on the Animal Welfare Regulations

Regulations for all animals

Collars and tethers

Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018: 47. Collars and tethers – NZ Legislation

Collars

Poorly fitted collars can cause pain and distress. Check your animal’s collar regularly.

You’ll be OK if the collar you use meets these requirements:

  • Right size and fit for each individual animal.
  • Allows normal breathing, panting and drinking.
  • Not so tight or heavy that it can cause skin abrasions, cuts or swelling.
  • Not so loose that it can cause an injury, for example by getting a leg caught in the collar.

Otherwise, you can be fined $300.

Tethers

If you need to tether your animal, ensure that the tether you use:

  • is an appropriate length and material to allow normal breathing, panting, and drinking
  • keeps the animal from being caught up on nearby objects and injured.

Otherwise, you can be fined $300.

A tether is any form of restraint that secures any part of an animal to an object or the ground.

Use of electric prodders

Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018: 48. Use of electric prodders – NZ Legislation

Use of electric prodders is restricted.

  • In some limited circumstances, electric prodders can be used on the muscled hind or forequarters of:
  • cattle over 150kg
  • pigs over 150kg, during loading or unloading for transport, or when loading into stunning pens
  • pigs over 70kg, if the pigs are in a single-file slaughter race leading into, and within 15m of, the stunning pen
  • deer, when loading into a stunning pen.
  • If you use a prodder in these limited circumstances, the animal must be able to move away from the prodder.
  • If you use an electric prodder for any other purpose, you can be fined $500.
  • This regulation doesn’t cover situations where your personal safety is at risk.

Prodding animals in sensitive areas

Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018: 49. Prodding animals in sensitive areas – NZ Legislation

Striking or prodding an animal in sensitive areas causes unreasonable pain and distress, and is prohibited.

  • Do not strike or prod an animal with a goad in the udder, anus, genitals or eyes.
  • If you don’t comply, you can be fined $500.
  • A goad is an object used to make an animal move but doesn't include an electric prodder.

Regulations by animal type or activity

Expand All
Stock transport

A number of regulations relate to both:

  • supply of animals for transport
  • how animals are transported.

Supplying stock for transport

Regulations around the supply of stock apply to the owner of, and every person in charge of, an animal.

44. Responsibilities of transport operators

Regulations 33(1), 35(2) and 38 to 43 don't apply to transporters. However, they still have responsibilities under the:

  • codes of welfare
  • Animal Welfare Act 1999
  • instructions on any veterinary certificate.

Where a breach of a regulation has a severe impact on an animal, any owner or person in charge (including transporters) can be prosecuted directly under the Animal Welfare Act. 

45. Obligations of transporters in relation to animals to which regulations 38 to 43 apply
  • Transporters must comply with all of the conditions on a veterinary certificate. If they don’t they can be fined $500.
  • Farmers (or the person who selects stock for transport) can be fined $500 for transporting animals with ingrown horns, injured horns or antlers, lameness, injured or diseased udders, eye cancer, or in late pregnancy, without a veterinary certificate. Check the sections below for more information.
  • Transporters must make sure young deer (spikers) arrive at the meat processors no later than 72 hours after having their velvet removed, and the rubber rings must still be in place. If you don’t get spikers to the meat processors on time, you can be fined $500.
  • Transporters must reject stock that isn't fit for transport (under the Animal Welfare Act).
38. Restrictions on transporting animals with ingrown horns

Ingrown horns are painful. An ingrown horn is when either the tip or the side of the horn pierces, inflames or causes abrasion to any part of the body. For sheep, this can happen when their curled horns press against the side of their face.

  • If you allow horns to become ingrown, you can be fined $500.
  • Do not transport an animal with ingrown horns. If you do, you can be fined $500.
  • The only time you can transport an animal with an ingrown horn is if it's a short distance for treatment, and the horn is only touching the skin, eyelid or surface of the eye.
  • Check with your veterinarian if you are unsure if your animal is fit for transport.
39. Restrictions on transporting animals with injured horns or antlers

Injured horns and antlers are painful and the injury can worsen during transport.

  • Don't transport an animal with an injured horn or antler, including pedicle (the structure that the antler grows from).
  • Young deer (spikers) can be transported to the works within 72 hours of having their first velvet removed when the rubber rings are still attached.
  • If you transport animals with injured horns or antlers you can be fined $500.
  • The only time you can transport an animal with an injured horn or antler is a short distance, for treatment.
  • Check with your veterinarian if you are unsure if your animal is fit for transport.
40. Restrictions on transporting lame animals (cattle, sheep, deer, pigs, and goats)

Lameness is painful and can worsen during transport.

  • Don't select lame cattle, sheep, deer, pigs or goats for transport. 
  • You can be fined $500 if you transport cattle, pigs or deer that can't bear weight on one or more limbs when moving or standing still, or with a definite limp.
  • You can be fined $500 if you transport sheep or goats that:
    • can't bear weight on one or more limbs when moving or standing still, or
    • have difficulty walking and hold their head below their backline almost continuously.
  • The only time you can transport a lame animal is a short distance for treatment.
  • Check with your veterinarian if you are unsure if your animal is fit for transport.
  • Manage and treat lameness on-farm.
41. Restrictions on transporting animals (cattle, sheep, deer, pigs, and goats) in late pregnancy
  • Don't transport cattle, sheep, deer, pigs or goats in late pregnancy.
  • If you transport an animal in late pregnancy, and she gives birth on the truck, or within 24 hours of arrival at the meat processors or sale yards, you can be fined $500.
  • Don't transport hinds (female deer) within 21 days of their estimated fawning/calving date. You need to have a system in place to make sure you comply with this.
42. Restrictions on transporting cattle, sheep or goats with injured or diseased udders
  • Don't transport an animal with an injured or diseased udder (mastitis), or lesions on her udder.
  • If your animal has signs of mastitis that include inflammation or discharge, she is not fit for transport.
  • If you transport an animal with an injured or diseased udder, you can be fined $500.
  • The only time you can transport an animal with an injured or diseased udder is a short distance for treatment.
  • Check with your veterinarian if you are unsure if your animal is fit for transport.
  • Manage and treat mastitis on-farm.
43. Restrictions on transporting cattle, sheep or goats with eye cancer

The transport of animals with eye cancer is restricted.

  • Don't transport an animal with eye cancer that:
    • is larger than 2cm in diameter, or
    • isn't confined to the eye or eyelid, or
    • has any bleeding or discharge.
  • If you transport cattle, sheep or goats in this condition you can be fined $500.
  • The only time you can transport an animal in this condition is a short distance for treatment.
  • Check with your veterinarian if you are unsure if your animal is fit for transport.

Preventing injuries during transport, loading or unloading

30 , 32 . Prevention of injury and back rub
  • Transporters – don't load, unload, or transport an animal in a manner that causes injury, including backrub. If you do, you can be fined $500.
  • Farmers – if you have large stock, make sure you let your stock agent and transporter know, so they can plan for it.

31. Transport of animals with horns or antlers
  • Transporting animals with horns or antlers increases the risk of injury and should be avoided where possible.
  • If you select or transport an animal with horns or antlers, and it is transported in a manner that causes injury to itself or others, you can be fined $500.
  • Farmers - if you have animals with horns, make sure you let your stock agent and transporter know, so they can plan appropriately. From 1 October 2019, you must use local anaesthetic if you dehorn cattle before transport. Check regulation 58 for more information.

Transporting calves less than 14 days old

Specific requirements apply when transporting young calves (less than 14 days old) for:

  • fitness for transport
  • maximum transport time
  • shelter requirements
  • loading and unloading facilities
  • prohibited transport across the Cook Strait.

More information is in the 'Calves' section.

Stock transport resources


Find out more

 

Calves

The young calf regulations, issued in 2016, are still in effect but are now incorporated in the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018. Because of this, some:

  • titles and numbers for the young calf regulations have changed
  • regulations have been split to better reflect transporter and farmer responsibilities.

Where a regulation specifically refers to 'young calves', it means calves up to 14 days old that have been separated from their mother.

8. Prohibition on killing calves by blunt force to the head

  • Calves (not just young calves) must not be killed using blunt force to the head except in an emergency situation.
  • Calf means any bovine that hasn't had milk (or milk replacer) permanently removed from its diet.

9. Maximum time young calves may be off feed before slaughter

  • Young calves must be slaughtered as soon as possible after arrival at the slaughter premises.
  • There are also feeding requirements if it isn't possible to slaughter the calf within 24 hours of the last feed on farm.

10. Shelter requirements for young calves before transportation and at points of sale or slaughter

Suitable shelter must be provided for young calves:

  • before transportation off the farm for the purpose of sale or slaughter, or as a result of sale 
  • at points of sale and slaughter.

33. Ensuring young calves are fit for transport

  • Young calves must be at least 4 full days (96 hours) old before being transported.
  • They must also have certain physical characteristics, including:
    • no injury, disease or impairment that could affect the calf's welfare during the journey
    • the ability to rise from lying, stand evenly on all 4 limbs, move freely, and protect itself from being trampled or injured
    • firm, worn flat hooves and a shrivelled navel cord.

34. Maximum duration of transport for young calves

  • The total journey time for young calves mustn't be more than 12 hours.

35. Requirements for loading and unloading facilities used with young calves

  • Loading and unloading facilities must be provided when young calves are transported for sale or slaughter, or as a result of sale, so that they can walk onto and off vehicles.
  • You must take all reasonable and practicable steps to use these facilities.

36. Shelter requirements for young calves during transportation

  • Suitable shelter must be provided for young calves during transport.

37. Prohibition on transporting young calves by sea across Cook Strait

  • Transport of young calves by sea across Cook Strait is prohibited.

57. Disbudding cattle

Disbudding is painful.

  • From 1 October 2019, local anaesthetic must be used when disbudding and dehorning cattle.
  • If you disbud calves without using effective local anaesthetic you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business
  • This procedure isn't limited to veterinarians – have a conversation with your veterinarian about training and the supply of local anaesthetic.
  • Talk to your disbudding contractor and make sure they’re up to speed with the requirements.

Find out more

Read more about the regulations, some commonly asked questions, and actions people in charge of calves need to take to meet the requirements under the Care and Procedures Regulations.

Further information on the regulations that apply to young calves [PDF, 841 KB]

Guidance on preparing, selecting and transporting calves
Bobby calf season reports

Reports highlighting progress made to improve bobby calf welfare.

Cattle

5. Cattle with ingrown horns

Ingrown horns are painful. An ingrown horn is when either the tip or the side of the horn pierces, inflames or causes abrasion to any part of the body.

  • If you allow horns to become ingrown, you can be fined $500.

6. Prohibited methods of milk stimulation in cattle

  • The outdated practice of inserting objects into cows to stimulate milk let-down is prohibited.
  • If you stimulate milk let-down in this way you can be fined $300.

7. Use of traction in calving

  • You are prohibited from calving a cow using a moving vehicle, or any instrument that doesn't allow for the immediate release of tension.
  • If you calve a cow this way, you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.

50. Docking cattle tails

  • You are prohibited from removing any part of a cow's tail.
  • If a cow's tail needs to be docked due to injury, talk to your veterinarian as it needs to be done using pain relief.
  • If you dock a cow’s tail you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.

Find out how to manage tails without docking – DairyNZ website

53. Castrating cattle and sheep

  • You must not castrate cattle and sheep over 6 months old, without using local anaesthetic.
  • You must not castrate cattle and sheep at any age with a high tension band, without using local anaesthetic.
  • Failure to comply with this regulation could result in a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.
  • A high tension band is one that is mechanically tightened during application (doesn't include a rubber ring).

57. Disbudding cattle beasts
58. Dehorning cattle beasts

Disbudding and dehorning are painful.

  • From 1 October 2019, local anaesthetic must be used when disbudding and dehorning cattle.
  • If you disbud calves without using effective local anaesthetic you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.
  • If you dehorn cattle  without using effective local anaesthetic you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual, or $25,000 for the business.
  • This procedure isn't limited to veterinarians – have a conversation with your veterinarian about training and the supply of local anaesthetic.
  • Talk to your disbudding contractor and make sure they’re up to speed with the requirements.
  • Avoid having to dehorn older cattle by using polled breeds, or disbudding them as young calves. Consider horn management with purchasing cattle.

Find out more

Crabs, rock lobster, crayfish, and kōura

11. Killing of crabs, rock lobster, crayfish, and kōura

  • You must not kill any farmed or commercially caught crab, rock lobster, crayfish, or kōura (freshwater crayfish) for commercial purposes unless it is insensible first (for example stunned or chilled).
  • This doesn't apply if you catch it in the wild and kill it immediately (for example, by splitting crayfish).
  • If you don't comply, you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual, or $25,000 for the business.
Dogs

12. Muzzles on dogs

Restrictive muzzles can cause your dog pain and distress.

You'll be OK if the muzzle you use meets these requirements:

  • Right size and fit for each dog. A muzzle which works for one dog may not work for all.
  • Doesn't cause cuts, swellings or abrasions.
  • Allows the dog to open its mouth for normal breathing, panting, drinking, and vomiting.

Otherwise, you can be fined $300.

  • You can use a more restrictive muzzle when giving treatment, including preventative treatment, but the dog must be under constant supervision. For example, a vet vaccinating a dog that is a safety risk can use a restrictive muzzle, provided the dog isn't left unsupervised.
  • Check with your local authority for specific rules if you are required to muzzle your dog.

13. Dogs must have dry and shaded shelter

  • Your dog must have access to appropriate shelter.
  • Check on your dog regularly.

Your dog's shelter and living area must meet these requirements:

  • Your dog can access a sheltered area at any time that is clean, dry, shaded, and ventilated – but not draughty – and protects them from extremes of heat and cold.
  • The sheltered area must be big enough for the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down in a natural position.
  • The dog has constant access to water.
  • The dog's droppings and urine don't accumulate where they live.

Otherwise, you can be fined $300.

14. Dogs left in vehicles

Leaving your dog in the car on a warm day is a risk. Dogs quickly suffer and die in hot cars.

  • If you leave a dog in a hot car and it becomes heat stressed, you and the owner of the vehicle can be fined $300.

Thinking about bringing your dog on a journey? Plan ahead and ask yourself:

  • What's the weather like?
  • Will you have to leave your dog in the car?
  • How long will the dog be in the car?
  • Is it better to leave the dog at home?

A hot dog seeks shade and may pant, drool, and hyperventilate.

  • If you see a dog suffering in a hot car, take immediate action. Find the dog owner or call the:

15. Dogs on moving vehicles

Dogs transported unsecured on the back of trucks, utes, and trailers can fall off or hang off the side, suffering severe injuries.

You’ll be OK when travelling on a public road if your dog is:

  • secured in a cage or crate, or
  • tied up safely when it's on the back.

If you use a rope or leash, it must:

  • allow the dog to stand and lie down in a natural position
  • prevent the dog from getting its legs over the side of the vehicle.

Otherwise, you and the owner of the vehicle can be fined $300.

  • Farm dogs can be loose on a vehicle, including on public roads, when they are actively working.

47. Collars and tethers

Collars

Poorly fitted collars can cause pain and distress. Check your dog's collar regularly.

You'll be OK if the collar you use meets these requirements:

  • Right size and fit for each individual dog.
  • Allows normal breathing, panting, and drinking.
  • Not so tight or heavy that it can cause skin abrasions, cuts or swelling.
  • Not so loose that it can cause an injury – for example, by getting its leg caught in the collar.

Otherwise, you can be fined $300.

Tethers

If you need to tether your dog, make sure the tether:

  • is an appropriate length and material to allow normal breathing, panting, and drinking
  • doesn't let the dog get caught up on nearby objects and injured.

Otherwise, you can be fined $300.

  • Don’t forget dogs need time off tethers for exercise.

51. Docking dogs' tails

  • Routine tail docking (or 'banding') is no longer allowed.
  • If you dock your dog's tail or allow it to be docked, you could face a criminal conviction and fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.
  • If your dog's tail is injured, go to the vet.
  • If you see docked puppies for sale, report it to:

56. Removing dogs' dewclaws

  • There are new restrictions on removing dogs' dewclaws.
  • If you remove a front limb dewclaw, or an articulated hind limb dewclaw, from a dog of any age you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to:
    • $3,000 for an individual, or
    • $15,000 for a business
  • If your dog's claws are injured, go to the vet
  • If you see puppies for sale that have their articulated dewclaws removed, report it to:

Report on tail docking

Due to the high interest in tail docking, MPI commissioned an independent review of the science and arguments supporting or opposing the practice. The report concluded that dog tail docking is:

  • a significant surgical procedure with the potential to cause considerable pain and distress
  • not justified by any benefit to the dog.

Affected parties were given a chance to comment on the report.

Find out more

Goats

16. Tethered goats must have access to food, water, and shelter

Goats are social and prefer company – it's best not to tether them.

  • If you have to tether a goat, it must have access to an appropriate shelter. Goats are not as tough as they seem.
  • Check on your goat regularly.

You'll be OK if your tethered goat has:

  • a sheltered area it can access at any time which is dry, shades it from sun and rain, and protects it from extreme heat and cold
  • access to water and food at all times.

Otherwise, you can be fined $300.

17. Goats with ingrown horns

Ingrown horns are painful. An ingrown horn is when either the tip or the side of the horn pierces, inflames or causes abrasion to any part of the body.

  • If you allow horns to become ingrown, you can be fined $300.

Find out more

Horses and donkeys

Regulations 18 to 20 apply to any member of the horse family (equids), including any:

  • horse
  • pony
  • donkey
  • hybrid of the above.

The regulations don't apply to zebras.

18. Horses tethered for grazing

Tethering your horse for grazing is not recommended.

  • If you have to tether your horse for grazing, it must have constant access to water, food, shade, and protection from heat and cold. 
  • If you don’t provide this, you can be fined $300.
  • Check your horse regularly when tethered. Tethering for grazing is not appropriate for long periods of time, as horses need exercise.
  • Check the code of welfare for horses and donkeys for further tethering requirements.

19. Use of equipment that may injure horses

  • Equipment must not cause injuries to a horse, such as cuts and abrasions that bleed or discharge, or swelling around the head or neck.
  • Equipment (including halters, bridles, lead ropes, bits, and nosebands) must allow the horse to breathe and drink normally. 
  • Keep equipment clean, and make sure saddles and covers are fitted correctly. Horses that wear equipment need to be checked regularly (daily).
  • If you use equipment that causes injury to horses you can be fined $300.

20. Persons must not strike a horse on its head

  • Horses must not be struck on the head, with hands or any object.
  • If you strike a horse on its head you can be fined $500.

54. Castrating horses

Castration is a painful, surgical procedure.

  • Castration must be carried out by a vet using local or general anaesthetic.
  • If a horse is castrated without local or general anaesthetic you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to:
    • $5,000 for an individual, or
    • $25,000 for a business.
  • This applies to any horse or pony but doesn't include donkeys. We're currently developing the next set of regulations that will include donkey castration. These will be in place by the end of 2019 and come into force in May 2020.

Find out more

Layer hens

Although these regulations are more relevant to commercial producers, if you own hens on a small scale you still need to meet these requirements.

21. Phased prohibition on the use of conventional cages

  • From 1 October 2018, using conventional cages after the transition dates listed in the regulation will be an offence. 
  • If you don't comply, you could face a criminal conviction and be fined up to:
    • $5,000 for an individual, or
    • $25,000 for a business.

22. Induced moulting

  • If you induce moulting in hens you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to:
    • $5,000 for an individual, or
    • $25,000 for a business.
Llamas and alpacas

23. Use of equipment that may injure llama or alpaca

  • You must not use any equipment on a llama or alpaca that:
    • causes injuries, such as cuts and abrasions that bleed or discharge, or
    • causes swelling, or
    • prevents normal breathing or drinking.
  • If you don't comply, you can be fined $300.
  • Fit halters, lead ropes, packs, and other equipment correctly for each animal.
  • Use equipment designed specifically for llamas and alpacas.
  • Don't leave llama and alpaca unattended if they are wearing equipment continuously.
Pigs

24. Pigs must have access to shelter and dry lying areas

  • Pigs must have a:
    • structure they can access at any time which is dry and ventilated – but not draughty – and protects them from extreme heat and cold
    • dry area big enough for them to stand up, lie down, and turn around in easily (except when in a mating stall or farrowing crate).
  • Don't allow droppings or urine to accumulate – either clear them away or cover with dry material.
  • If you don't comply with this regulation, you can be fined $300.

25. Minimum lying space for grower pigs

Pigs like to have space and as they grow they need more. Piglets quickly grow into big pigs – they can get to 150kg or more in as little as 9 months. Unexpected piglets? You will need more space.

  • Grower pigs need enough unobstructed space for them to lie down in. The formula used to determine the minimum lying space provided for each pig is now a regulation. 
  • If you don't comply with this regulation you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for a business.
  • Note, this is the minimum lying space requirement, and may not be the ideal space for welfare requirements in all situations.
Unobstructed floor space

The regulation defines unobstructed floor space as including "unobstructed feeding or dunging floor space."

When calculating the area, you can include the:

  • feed court
  • dunging area
  • wet area in front of troughs.

You can't include the:

  • hospital area
  • troughs
  • any area a pig can't physically lie on.

MPI considers an area as obstructed if there is excessive mud or water pooling in the area. You can't include obstructed areas in the available space.

The formula for minimum lying space for grower pigs:

Minimum area (m2) = 0.03 x (live weight (kg)) 0.67

An online calculator is available to do the calculation for you.

Note: This formula calculates the minimum space needed for all pigs to be able to lie down together at the same time. Providing more space than this allows pigs to keep cool more efficiently in warm weather.

26. Farrowing crate requirements

  • You must not keep a pig in a farrowing crate unless the crate allows the pig to avoid touching:
    • both sides of the crate simultaneously, and
    • the front and back of the crate simultaneously, and
    • the top of the crate while standing.
  • Check your equipment to make sure it meets these requirements.
  • If you don't comply you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for a business.

27. Prohibition of stalls other than for mating

  • Stalls must only be used for mating and the sow must be:
    • confined for no more than 7 days per reproductive cycle
    • released as soon as practicable after mating.
  • You must keep records to show compliance, such as weaning date, mating date(s), number of sows mated per week or per batch.
  • If you don't comply, you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual, or $25,000 for the business.

52. Docking pigs' tails

For pigs under 7 days old
  • Docking must only be done by a trained person.
  • It must be done with a sharp clean cut with no tear.
  • If done incorrectly you and the tail-docker can be fined $500.
For pigs 7 days old and over
  • Docking is a vet procedure only, using pain relief.
  • Failure to comply with this regulation could result in a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for a business.
  • Tail docking is done in commercial piggeries to prevent tail-biting and is not necessary for all piglets.
  • Consider other methods of managing tail biting before tail docking, such as providing straw, more food, and extra space.

Docking tails is painful and if improperly done can be fatal. Speak to your vet if you think your pigs have a tail-biting problem.

55. Castrating pigs

  • Removing testicles is painful and is not normally necessary outside of commercial piggeries.  
  • Castration must only be done by a veterinarian using pain relief.
  • If you don't comply, you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual, or $25,000 for the business.

Find out more

Rodeos

46. Prohibition on fireworks at rodeos

  • The use of fireworks at rodeos is prohibited.
  • If you organise a rodeo or practice event, you must make sure that fireworks, pyrotechnics, and gas-fired explosions of any type are not used at the rodeo or any practice event for it.
  • If you don't comply with this regulation, you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual, or $25,000 for the business.
Sheep

28. Sheep with ingrown horns

Ingrown horns are painful. An ingrown horn is when either the tip or the side of the horn pierces, inflames or causes abrasion to any part of the body. For sheep, this can happen when their curled horns press against the side of their face.

  • If you allow horns to become ingrown, you can be fined $500.

29. Use of traction in lambing

  • Traction isn't used by farmers for lambing; however, the regulations prohibit it to align with the regulations for calving.
  • You are prohibited from lambing a ewe using a moving vehicle, or any instrument that doesn't allow for the immediate release of tension.
  • If you lamb a ewe this way you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.

53. Castrating cattle and sheep

  • You must not castrate cattle and sheep:
    • over 6 months old without using local anaesthetic
    • at any age with a high tension band without using a local anaesthetic. A high tension band is one that is mechanically tightened during application (doesn't include a rubber ring).
  • If you don't comply with this regulation you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.

59. Prohibition on mulesing sheep

  • Mulesing is prohibited.
  • If you mules a sheep by any method you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.
  • Mulesing is the surgical or chemical removal of the breech, tail skin folds, or tail skin wrinkles of a sheep. 

Find out more

Regulation penalties

Most regulations have an associated penalty. The penalty level is determined by whether the offence is:

  • an infringement offence – resulting in an infringement fee but no criminal conviction
  • a prosecution under regulations – more serious than an infringement offence and may result in a criminal conviction. The court can impose a fine up to the maximum in the Regulations. There is no imprisonment for regulation offences.

View a list of offences and related penalties  [PDF, 193 KB]

Some regulations do not have an associated penalty. The main purpose of these is to provide clarity about who can carry out a surgical procedure and how it must be done. If the animal’s welfare was compromised, penalties under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 would apply. 

If you get an infringement notice

If you are issued an infringement notice you should read the 'Notes' on the back.
You can:

  • pay the infringement fee in full
  • request a waiver of the infringement if you think there are circumstances that are grounds for a waiver
  • request a defended or non-defended court hearing.

Find out more about:

If you have been charged with a prosecutable offence

If you are charged with a prosecutable offence under the Regulations or the Act, you or your legal representative will have to appear before a judge in a District Court under normal criminal court processes.

Who to contact

If you have questions about animal welfare, email animalwelfare@mpi.govt.nz

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