2 Nov 2008

Draft welfare code for sheep and beef cattle released

9:54 pm on 2 November 2008

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee has released a new draft code of welfare for sheep and beef cattle.

The code outlines the minimum standards of animal welfare and recommended best practices for sheep and beef cattle farmed mainly for their meat and fibre.

It covers all aspects of sheep and beef cattle husbandry, including stockmanship, pest and disease control breeding and the provision of food, water and shelter.

In the section covering flystrike protection for sheep, it makes specific mention of the practice of mulesing, the surgical removal of the loose folds of skin around the rear end of merino sheep.

The document points out that many of the high country farmers running merino sheep have already stopped the practice and the New Zealand merino industry has declared that mulesing will cease from 2010.

The draft code has already been reviewed by farmer, meat and wool industry, veterinary and animal welfare representatives, but has been released for public consultation before it's finalised.