Code of Welfare for Llamas and Alpacas issued

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A code of welfare is now in place for the estimated 15,000 South American camelids (Ilama, alpaca, guanaco and cross breeds of these) that are owned and cared for by New Zealanders.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy today issued the Animal Welfare (Llamas and Alpacas) Code of Welfare 2013, which has been developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) in consultation with the New Zealand Llama Association and the Alpaca Association of New Zealand.

NAWAC Deputy Chair Karen Phillips says llama and alpaca have become increasingly popular in New Zealand.

“These are unique animals, that require experience, skill and understanding for their proper care,” Dr Phillips says.

The new code of welfare sets the minimum standards required for owners and those who care for these animals to meet their responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act. The minimum standards in the code relate to all aspects of llama and alpaca ownership and care including food, water, shelter, behaviour and socialising. The code also provides recommendations for best practice in camelid husbandry and handling.

“These are highly social and hierarchical animals that have a strong need for the companionship of others. The code requires that they must always live with another animal, preferably of the same species,” Dr Phillips says.

“Young llamas and alpacas also need to be reared with their own species in order to develop normal behaviours.”

The code and the explanatory report that accompanies it are available on the MPI website at: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/animal-welfare/codes/llamas-and-alpacas

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