Animal welfare regulations

Changes to the Animal Welfare Act in May 2015 gave MPI the ability to make regulations under the Animal Welfare Act. This means that MPI can better enforce the Act by setting out clear rules to protect animal welfare. Some regulations were released in July 2016 after a consultation. More will be released as they are developed.

Consultation on regulations

In April and May 2016, MPI sought feedback on 91 proposed animal welfare regulations designed to improve the already strong requirements we have around animal welfare in New Zealand.

Regulations consulted on were about:

  • live animal exports
  • care of, and conduct towards animals
  • surgical and painful procedures.

Regulations covering the welfare of calves

After the consultation, a number of regulations relating to the welfare of calves – particularly young calves – were developed quickly to ensure they were in place for most of the 2016 spring calving season.

Seven new regulations have been developed to strengthen the rules around young calf welfare with a range of fines and infringements. For information on these regulations please see the Caring for bobby calves section of our website

Regulations for the export of live animals

New regulations covering the export of live animals were confirmed on 28 July 2016. These regulations under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 will replace the current rules under the Customs Export Prohibition (Livestock for Slaughter) Order (CEPO) 2013. This means that the export of cattle, sheep, deer and goats (livestock) for slaughter cannot occur unless approved by the Director-General of MPI. No applications for the export of livestock for slaughter have been made or approved since 2007. The new regulations will come into force on 21 December 2016.

Reporting requirements brought forward

The provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 that enable the Director-General of MPI to require exporters to provide reports on the welfare of exported animals during their journey and for up to 30 days post-arrival will come into force on 25 August 2016.

These provisions would have come into force in May 2020 but a Commencement Order allows for their earlier introduction.

More regulations in development

MPI will release more animal welfare regulations as they are developed.

Who to contact

If you have questions about animal welfare, email

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