20 Jul 2017

New animal welfare regulations to be introduced

3:51 pm on 20 July 2017

The Ministry for Primary Industries is developing nearly 50 new animal welfare regulations this year.

Cattle

Cattle Photo: courtesy Beef and Lamb NZ

The 46 new rules follow the stricter bobby calf regulations introduced last year after several cases of abuse were filmed by SAFE and Farmwatch.

The most recent changes include a ban on docking dogs' tails unless a vet approves it, mandatory pain relief for cattle being de-horned, and prohibiting the transportation of lame, diseased, or sick animals.

Last year, the Ministry for Primary Industries had more than 1400 submissions on its proposed 91 animal welfare regulations. The ministry has confirmed 46 regulations to be developed this year and said the remaining will be looked at next year and potentially introduced in 2019.

The Minister, Nathan Guy, said the changes would give the Animal Welfare Act more teeth.

Most of the new regulations would come into force next October, but he said some would take more time.

"The one that we are taking a bit longer to get right is the dis-budding and de-horning, so we've rolled that out to October 2019. We're very mindful of the cost there, although we don't think that will be too high.

"The other one is, farmers won't be able to dock their cows tails and that has been phased out over time."

Mr Guy said overall the changes shouldn't affect most farmers, but for the "odd few" who weren't up to scratch, it would mean MPI will have more 'enforcement tools in the toolbox'.

The regulations also cover the way animals are accounted for in research, testing and teaching.

Veterinarians 'thrilled' with changes

The New Zealand Veterinarian Association (NZVA) said veterinarians across the country were celebrating the news that tail docking will be banned.

Veterinarians have been campaigning against the practice for two decades and the association's companion animal spokesperson, Rochelle Ferguson, said veterinarians have refused for many years to provide non-therapeutic tail docking services.

"The new regulation will finally put an end to the practice of allowing people to dock puppy's tails without pain management through the accredited tail banders scheme."

The new regulations also ban dew claws being removed from newborn puppies, unless by a veterinarian in the case of injury or disease.

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