The Veterinary Association says a national animal welfare strategy is overdue, and it is supporting the latest government move to develop one.
It is one of the organisations advising the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on the strategy, along with other stakeholders such as livestock industries and animal advocacy groups.
Veterinary Association animal welfare co-ordinator Virginia Williams says there has been debate in the past about whether the country needs a national strategy and previous attempts to form one came to nothing.
She says a strategy would provide a guide for animal welfare legislation, which is also under review.
Dr Williams says vets regard the 12-year-old Animal Welfare Act as a good piece of legislation, but one change they want to see is tighter controls on who can carry out significant surgical procedures, which aren't defined in the existing act.
She says there will be public consultation on the animal welfare strategy and legislation review later this year.