2 May 2013

Strategy to improve animal welfare launched

5:40 pm on 2 May 2013

The Government has launched a strategy aimed at improving animal welfare.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the Animal Welfare Strategy, released on Thursday, was prompted by over 2000 public submissions to a discussion document in 2012.

Mr Guy said the strategy sets out responsibilities New Zealanders have towards animals and ways that their welfare can be improved, including better husbandry.

"We want to have better planning to prevent animal welfare problems, better animal husbandry, science and technology, clear expectations and sanctions for people so they know to comply and if they don't what are the consequences, and then measuring animal welfare performance."

The document will form the basis of an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act.

SPCA national president Bob Kerridge says the strategy has good intent, but it must be put into practice before it can be successful.

"The real proof of this one is going to be the way in which the Animal Welfare Act is reviewed, and it is up for review very shortly.

"That is where we will see the measure of this paper. Will the Animal Welfare Act be amended sufficiently to create a better world for animals."

Mr Kerridge says the amended act should start with a statement that animals are capable of feeling pain, and everything in it should reflect that idea.

But the Green Party described the strategy as gutless, saying it doesn't tackle the real issues.

Animal welfare spokesperson Mojo Mathers said it would allow animals to continue to suffer.

Ms Mathers said the ministry has a conflict of interest in monitoring animal welfare, as it is also focused on maintaining economic interest in the agricultural industry.

She said an independent body is needed to monitor animal welfare.