Proposed animal welfare regulations on significant surgical procedures

Closing Date:
Contact: Animal welfare policy team

Consultation background

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) sought feedback about proposed regulations for significant surgical procedures on animals.

We proposed clearer rules about who can carry out certain procedures on animals and how they must be done. To ensure the well-being of animals, such procedures must be carried out by the right people with the right skills and care.

The proposed rules mostly allow competent people to continue doing routine procedures on animals. Some proposals raise the standard.

We asked to hear from people who work with and care for animals, and anyone else who is interested in animal welfare regulations.

Submissions closed on Wednesday, 24 July 2019.

We also held public meetings around the country.

Consultation documents

The proposed regulations under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 cover a wide range of significant surgical procedures on a wide variety of animals.

They build on the information stakeholders gave us as part of a 2016 consultation on animal welfare regulations.

Full details of the proposed regulations are in the consultation documents.

Related information

You can download these posters, flyers, and email tiles if you're planning to share information about the consultation.

Make your submission

Submissions closed at 5mp on Wednesday, 24 July 2019.

Submissions are public information

Any submission you make becomes public information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make the information available unless there is a good reason for withholding it. You can find those grounds in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission (such as commercial sensitivity or personal information). Any decision MPI makes to withhold information can, however, be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may require the information be released.

Make your submission online

The regulatory proposals are divided into Sections A-G below. There is a survey for each section.

You can complete the surveys for some or all of the sections, and answer some or all of the questions in each section.

Sections A-E deal with 26 proposals that are new or have changed substantially since the 2016 consultation.

Section F deals with general issues relating to all the regulatory proposals: pain relief, competency, the compliance and enforcement regime, implementation and reviewing the impact of the regulations.

Section G deals with nine proposals that are largely unchanged since the 2016 consultation.

All surveys are hosted on an external website called SurveyMonkey.

Email your submission


Post your submission

Send your submission to:

Animal Welfare Policy
Ministry for Primary Industries
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6140.

List of questions in the Discussion Paper and on-line surveys [PDF, 522 KB]

What to include in submissions sent by email or post

If you are emailing or posting your submission, make sure you tell us:

  • your name and title
  • your organisation's name (if you are submitting on behalf of an organisation)
  • your contact details – phone number, address, and email.

Public meetings

We're holding public meetings around the country during the consultation period.

Location Date Time Venue
Wellington 24 June 6pm to 9pm Conference Centre, St John's in the City Church, corner Willis and Dixon Streets, Wellington.
Palmerston North 27 June 6pm to 9pm  Conference Room, Sport & Rugby Institute, Massey University, 56 Albany Drive, Palmerston North.
Hamilton 2 July 6pm to 9pm  Chartwell Room, The Pavilion, Hamilton Gardens, Hungerford Crescent, off Cobham Drive (State Highway 1), Hamilton.
Auckland 3 July 6pm to 9pm  Victoria Room, Quality Hotel Parnell, 20 Gladstone Road, Parnell, Auckland.
Whangārei* 4 July 1pm to 3:30pm

Barge Showgrounds Events Centre, 474 Maunu Road, Whangārei

Invercargill 10 July 6pm to 9pm  Ascot Park Hotel, corner Tay Street and Racecourse Road, Invercargill.
Christchurch 11 July 6pm to 9pm  Blossom Lady Lounge, Level 3 Addington Events Centre, Addington Raceway, 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch.

* This meeting will focus on horses and other equids but you are welcome to discuss any animal.

Background to proposed regulation changes

Under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 (the Act), ‘significant surgical procedures’ may only be undertaken by a veterinarian (or a veterinary student under the direct supervision of a veterinarian) unless regulations provide otherwise.

From May 2020, new criteria will be brought in to the Act to make it easier to determine whether a procedure is a ‘significant surgical procedure’.

To go with these criteria, MPI is proposing regulations to make it clear who can carry out certain procedures and what requirements must be met.

The proposed regulations:

  • continue allowing competent non-veterinarians to undertake some procedures, with certain conditions ensuring proper skill and care – an example is treating sheep vaginal prolapses (bearings)
  • confirm that some procedures must only be carried out by a veterinarian – an example is castrating donkeys
  • confirm that some procedures are prohibited meaning no-one, not even a veterinarian, can perform them – an example is cropping dogs’ ears to make them stand up
  • require that for specified procedures, suitable pain relief must be used – an example is disbudding goats.

We are seeking submissions on the proposed regulations and asking general questions to do with the proposals on issues such as compliance and enforcement.

We want to understand the possible impacts, benefits and costs of the proposals to animals and the people who work with and care for them. Where the proposed regulations will mean changes to current practice, we want to hear whether a lead-in time is necessary.


You can download these posters, flyers, and email tiles if you're planning to share information about the consultation or meetings.

We've got resources for the public meetings, too.

Past meetings

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