2 Jul 2012

More regional approach to animal welfare issues

6:28 am on 2 July 2012

The Ministry for Primary Industries says animal welfare issues in the primary sector will be dealt with on a more regional level in the future.

Compliance director Dean Baigent told Federated Farmers national conference in Auckland that the ministry is reviewing the Animal Welfare Act, with final proposals expected by the end of the year.

He wants to see ministry inspectors working more closely with farmers, stock agents, SPCA officers and vets in a region, with a focus on education instead of prosecution.

Mr Baigent says currently animal welfare staff are flown into a region to deal with an issue they're not familiar with.

He says he expects that ministry inspectors will try to form a relationship with all the relevant local people working in that area.

"That includes their aligned industry players, mentoring some of the SPCA and our technical skills to the wider remit, know the stock and station agents, know the local vets and actually build a closer relationship and ownership in mitigating the risks as opposed to being these people that fly in from around the country to deal with the issue".

Mr Baigent says cases of animal abuse are highest in the Waikato, Taranaki, Southland and Canterbury regions.