The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) has today released a report on animal welfare issues associated with selective breeding in New Zealand.
NAWAC's role is to provide independent advice on animal welfare to the Minister for Primary Industries.
NAWAC Chair Dr Gwyneth Verkerk says the committee recently identified several subjects that needed a formal committee position developed and documented in order to fulfil its advisory function. One subject of concern was the effects of selective breeding on the welfare of animals.
"Selective breeding has refined modern day pets and production animals in many ways to change behaviour, appearance and productivity. The committee has explored these matters and our collective views are presented in this paper.
"We have worked with different sectors to understand their genetic selection parameters and how technology is being used. In the paper we offer an independent view on whether selective breeding practices used in New Zealand impart animal welfare concerns. These views have been shared with the different sectors covered in the paper.
"Selective breeding offers many opportunities to improve both animal welfare and production like breeding animals that are resistant to disease. NAWAC found that good practices are generally being applied across the board, but noted some examples of concern since they affect animal's welfare.
"We have had really useful conversations with different sectors and we trust the report will continue to inform progress on this significant animal welfare subject," says Dr Verkerk.
NAWAC will continue to encourage implementation of the recommendations, and will take note of progress as codes of welfare and regulations are developed in the future.