Statement from Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has introduced a Bill to Parliament today to update and strengthen animal welfare in New Zealand.
“The Bill will allow us to create enforceable regulations that set out how farm and domestic animals should be treated. It also gives wider powers to deal with people who breach welfare laws,” says Mr Guy.
“This comes from a comprehensive review of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 which found that while the principles are sound, the time is right to update and improve how it operates. This will make the legislation easier to enforce, and make it clearer and more transparent.
“It matters how we treat animals, both to ourselves and for our international trading reputation. This Bill will make that reputation even stronger.
“This is important to New Zealanders because around 68% of households have a pet, and we earn around $20 billion a year by exporting animal products such as meat, milk and wool.
“The new regulations will be developed to support our 15 codes of welfare, and future codes, which cover a wide variety of animals.
“The codes that are currently developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) will be strengthened by these new regulations.
“The Bill also includes new direct protections for New Zealand’s wild animals, animals being exported to other countries, and those being used in research.
“These proposals have been through rigorous consultation and as a result several changes have been incorporated since the discussion document.
“We have one of the best animal welfare systems in the world, but at the same time we are always looking for improvements.
“The vast majority of New Zealanders who take great care of their animals will hardly notice the changes made in this Bill. However there will be greater sanctions for the few who mistreat animals.
“Last week, I released the New Zealand Animal Welfare Strategy, which sets the direction for animal welfare in New Zealand. This Bill is an important step toward that future,” says Mr Guy.
Further information on the Bill is available at http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/biosec/consult/proposals-for-aw-strategy-and-aw-act