Consultation on proposed animal welfare regulations

Closing Date:

Contact: Animal welfare team

Email: animal.welfaresubmissions@mpi.govt.nz

Update – 13 July 2017

Public submissions released

This consultation closed on 19 May 2016. MPI received over 1,400 submissions from individuals, industry groups and advocacy groups. A wide range of views on animal welfare and the regulatory proposals were expressed in these submissions.

In developing the regulations, current science, good practice, and the views of all submitters are taken into consideration.

Most proposals were strongly supported by submitters.

Documents containing the submissions

Update – 28 July 2016

New rules for live animal exports have been announced:

During the consultation MPI received about 60 submissions on live animal exports. Submissions have been analysed and the Animal Welfare Amendment Act (No 2) 2015 Commencement Order 2016 and the Animal Welfare (Export of Livestock for Slaughter) Regulations 2016 have been approved.

The Animal Welfare Amendment Act (No 2) 2015 Commencement Order 2016 will come into force on 25 August 2016. This Order will bring into effect live animal export provisions in the Animal Welfare Act 1999 that would have otherwise commenced automatically in May 2020.

The provisions will give MPI’s Director-General more powers to:

  • require reports on the welfare of animals during their journey and for up to 30 days after their arrival in the importing country, and 
  • take that information into account when considering future export approvals.

In addition, the current regime under the Customs Export Prohibition (Livestock for Slaughter) Order 2013 will be moved to regulations under the Animal Welfare Act. The Animal Welfare (export of Livestock for Slaughter) Regulations 2016 will come into force on 21 December 2016.


Update – 26 July 2016

New regulations for young calves have been announced:

Update – 10 June 2016

Public consultation on proposed animal welfare regulations was held between 14 April and 19 May 2016. A number of the proposals covered the management of young calves, which primarily relate to bobby calves.

MPI received around 1,500 submissions about the proposed regulations – and about 120 of those were on the young calf proposals. Overall, the proposals on bobby calves were widely supported.

Government ministers have now agreed to progress a set of regulations for young calves. It's planned for some to come into force as close as possible to the start of the 2016 spring calving season. Others will have a delayed start date to allow enough time for farmers, transport operators and processors to make the business changes necessary to comply with them.

Regulations taking immediate effect will:

  • require that young calves must be at least 4 full days of age and physically fit before they are transported for sale or slaughter
  • set a maximum duration of 12 hours journey time for young calves being transported for sale or slaughter
  • prohibit the transport of young calves by sea across Cook Strait
  • prohibit the killing of any calves by use of blunt force trauma, except in an emergency situation.

Regulations that will be introduced later will:

  • require that young calves must be slaughtered as soon as possible after arrival at the slaughter premises, and within 24 hours of the last feed on farm. (Coming into effect in February 2017)
  • require that suitable shelter be provided for young calves before and during transportation, and at points of sale or slaughter. (Coming into effect August 2017)
  • require that loading and unloading facilities be provided and used when young calves are transported for sale and slaughter. (Coming into effect August 2017).

MPI thanks all those who were involved in the development of these proposals and those who took the time to make submissions.

Find out more

Consultation background

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) sought feedback on proposed animal welfare regulations designed to improve the already strong requirements we have around animal welfare in New Zealand.

Regulations we consulted on were in relation to:

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

Consultation ran from 14 April 2016 to 19 May 2016. A series of public meetings took place across the country as part of the consultation.

Why we're doing this

Animal welfare matters. It's important to animals, it's important to us as a society, and it's important to our economy. 

Last year, following an extensive consultation process, the Animal Welfare Act was amended to improve the enforceability, clarity and transparency of the animal welfare system. The changes to the Act have meant we have the ability to make regulations, which will provide detailed rules sitting under the Act.

Most animal welfare offences are of low to medium seriousness. The regulations introduce new penalties and fines to allow us to deal with these more effectively.

Our animal welfare system is considered among the best in the world, and these regulations will build on those good foundations.

Video: Animal Welfare Consultation 2016

Animal welfare matters. It's important to the animals, it's important to us as a society and it's important to the economy.

We are seeking feedback on our proposed regulations designed to take the next step in improving our already strong animal welfare system. 

Your feedback will help us ensure we have the best rules possible. The proposed regulations cover:

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

We know that most people take good care of their animals, whether they are farmers or pet owners. Most of the proposed regulations will mean no change for these people. 

The proposals set out tougher rules around animal management and would put new fines and infringements in place.

For more information, and to make a submission, head to www.mpi.govt.nz/animalwelfarefeedback.

Animal welfare matters. So make sure you have your say.

The proposals

The proposed regulations relate to live animal exports, the care of and conduct towards animals, and surgical and painful procedures.

The new rules are focused on keeping pace with changing scientific knowledge and good practice.

Regulations for the care of, and conduct towards animals, and regulations for surgical and painful procedures.

Most animal welfare offending is at a low to medium level of severity. The proposed regulations seek to set specific penalties – including fines – for low to medium level animal welfare offences so that this type of offending can be dealt with more effectively.

Most New Zealanders take good care of their animals whether they are farmers or pet owners.

However, some New Zealanders fail to look after their animals properly. The new rules mean we can effectively deal with all levels of offending, not just the most severe. Severe offences are currently dealt with under the Act.

The proposals also clarify what is considered a surgical or painful procedure, and the rules around how these procedures are performed to better protect animals.

Examples of what may change under the proposed regulations:

  • Dogs travelling on the back of vehicles on public roads must be secured so they don't fall off.
  • If you are dehorning cattle, sheep or goats, you would be required to administer pain relief.
  • If a dog shows signs of heat distress from being left in a hot vehicle, the person in charge of the dog will be liable for a fine.
  • De-clawing cats and de-barking dogs will be prohibited except for therapeutic purposes.
  • If you want to transport injured stock – a veterinary certificate would be required.
  • Hot branding any animal would be prohibited.

The consultation document has all the proposed regulations

Young calves (commonly known as bobby calves)

The care and conduct proposals include specific measures aimed at better protecting young calves from stress and injury. These relate to dairy and beef calves.

Examples of what may change under the proposed regulations:

  • The time between last feed and slaughter for young calves would be reduced from 30 hours to 24 hours.
  • Adequate shelter for young calves would be required.
  • Maximum truck journey times for young calves would be reduced.
  • Transportation across the Cook Strait would be banned.
  • There would be a requirement for young calves to be fit enough for transport. For example, they would have to be 4 days old, have dry navels and hard hooves.
  • Handlers of young calves will be required to handle them properly.
  • Following consultation, some regulations may be brought forward to be in place by the 2016 calving season. However, for practical reasons, some changes may need to be transitioned over time.

The consultation document has all the proposed regulations

More information

You can find out more about the proposed regulations in the consultation documents. If you are looking for specific rules related to a certain animal or activity, use the contents page at the start of the document to guide you.

If you have any questions about the care and conduct regulations, or the surgical and painful procedures regulations, email animalwelfarepolicy@mpi.govt.nz


Live Animal Export Regulations

The regulations relating to live animal exports will enhance the welfare of animals being exported from New Zealand and further strengthen New Zealand's reputation as a responsible exporter of animals and animal products.

The changes will give the Director-General more powers to:

  • require reports on the welfare of animals during and after export, and
  • take those reports in to account when considering future export approvals.

The changes will make permanent the existing ban on the export of livestock for slaughter.

More information

You can find out more about the proposed regulations in the consultation document.

If you have any questions about the live animal exports proposed regulations, email animalwelfarepolicy@mpi.govt.nz.

Consultation documents

Proposed Animal Welfare Regulations (Care & Conduct and Surgical & Painful Procedures) [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Proposed regulations for the transport of live animals from New Zealand [PDF, 269 KB]

Related documents

Workshop and meeting notes

MPI held 10 workshops and meetings in August and September 2015 with industry and animal welfare advocacy groups. These workshops considered options for potential regulations relating to the care of, and conduct towards animals; and to surgical and painful procedures.

MPI held 2 workshops in February 2016 with industry and animal welfare advocacy groups. These workshops considered options for potential regulations relating to young calves, focusing in particular on bobby calves.

(These notes have been reviewed by the participants and contain some minor revisions from Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Dairy NZ.)

Making a submission

Feedback closed at 5pm on 19 May 2016 and could be emailed to animal.welfaresubmissions@mpi.govt.nz

While we prefer email, you could also post your submission to:

Animal Welfare Policy
Ministry for Primary Industries
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6140.

The following information should have been included in your submission:

  • the term 'Submission on Animal Welfare Regulations' clearly in the email subject line or on the front of the envelope
  • your name
  • your organisation's name (if you are submitting on behalf of an organisation)
  • your contact details (for example, phone number, address and email).

All received submissions will be acknowledged.

Public meetings held

Wellington
27 April – 5.30pm to 8pm
St John's Church
Corner of Willis and Dixon streets

Palmerston North 
28 April – 5.30pm to 8pm
Massey University Sport and Rugby Institute
Albany Drive

Christchurch
2 May – 5.30pm to 8pm
Russley Golf Course
428 Memorial Avenue, Burnside

Auckland
2 May – 5.30pm to 8pm
Quality Hotel Parnell
10–20 Gladstone Road, Parnell

Invercargill
3 May – 5.30pm to 8pm
Ascot Park Hotel
Tay Street & Racecourse Road, Ascott

Hamilton
3 May – 5.30pm to 8pm
Hamilton Gardens (Chartwell Room) Hungerford Crescent, SH1


More about the proposals

This section covers all you need to know about how the proposals were developed, what effects they may have, how they differ from current requirements and what's coming in the future.

Who the proposals affect

The proposed regulations will directly affect almost everyone who either owns or is in charge of animals, and those who care for animals as part of their work, such as veterinarians and those people working on farms.

How the proposals differ from current minimum standards

Most proposals are based on existing minimum standards in codes of animal welfare. If you are currently meeting these standards you may not be greatly affected by any new regulations. However, some proposals do go beyond the current minimum standards and seek to update current practice to align with changes in societal expectation, scientific knowledge, good practice and available technology.

Regulatory proposals for live animal exports reflect current policy consulted on during the development and passage of the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill (the Amendment Act). The proposals therefore focus on the timing to implement the new provisions made by the Amendment Act. It is also proposed that the conditional prohibition on the export of livestock for slaughter currently implemented under the Customs and Excise Act 1996 be implemented under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

What the proposals mean for some people

It is anticipated that some proposals may impose new costs on affected parties.  However, additional costs are likely to be limited because many of the proposals are based on existing minimum standards.

You can provide us with feedback on the impacts of the proposals, including the costs of any changes. The Government is also seeking feedback on whether any of the proposals require an extended period before coming into force so that people have enough time to prepare.

How the proposed regulations would be enforced

The new regulations provide a tiered enforcement regime of offences, penalties and infringements. This will allow animal welfare inspectors to respond to animal welfare offending more effectively and at a level that is appropriate to the seriousness of the offence. In addition, new compliance notices will allow an animal welfare inspector to require a person to stop or start doing something in order to meet animal welfare requirements.

Penalties the proposed regulations would introduce

Any new regulations will have an associated penalty. The penalty can be either:

  • a criminal conviction with a fine of up to $5,000 in the case of an individual and a fine of up to $25,000 in the case of a body corporate, or
  • Infringement fees of either $300 or $500 have been proposed based on the level of harm to the animal.

The most serious offending will still be dealt with under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. Penalties under the Act can be up to 12 months imprisonment or a fine of up to $50,000 in the case of an individual or a fine of up to $250,000 for a body corporate.

How the proposals were developed

The proposed Care and Conduct and Surgical and Painful Procedures regulations have been developed by a joint working group, comprising MPI, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RNZSPCA), and the Veterinary Council of New Zealand.

Proposals were tested with a range of stakeholders in early-engagement workshops.

Regulatory proposals for live animal exports reflect policy consulted on during the development and passage of the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill (the Amendment Act). The proposals therefore focus on the timing to implement current policy.


Next steps

After consultation, we will analyse submissions, produce a summary and make the summary available on this website.

We will draw on submissions to put forward final proposals to Government.

The next stage would be to implement Government decisions that result from this process.

We expect regulations to be made by the end of 2016. However, we are investigating whether any new young calf regulations can come into force for the 2016 bobby season.

Submissions are public information

Any submission you make becomes public information. Anyone can ask for copies of all submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make the information available unless we have a good reason for withholding it. You can find those grounds in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA. Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission. Reasons might include, it's commercially sensitive or it's personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may require the information be released.

For more information and questions

If you have any questions about the proposals, email us and we will reply as soon as we can. Email animalwelfarepolicy@mpi.govt.nz.

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