Guide to the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations

The Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 took effect on 1 October 2018 and 1 October 2019. Check the regulations and MPI guidance to make sure you're complying with these laws.

About the regulations

The Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 allow better enforcement of low to medium animal welfare offending. Severe animal cruelty is covered under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. 

When the regulations apply

Most of the regulations came into effect on 1 October 2018. Regulations on disbudding and dehorning cattle came into effect on 1 October 2019.

Codes of Welfare have been updated and reissued in line with the new regulations.

What you need to do

Most of the regulations are based on existing minimum standards in the codes of welfare, so if you're already doing it right you won't see a lot of change. But some people may need to:

  • change farm policies
  • provide additional staff training
  • make other changes to the way they care for their animals.

'Ask Reg' for all the details

Use an online tool – Ask Reg – to find all the requirements for your animal or activity.

Selecting an animal or activity (such as goats or transporting) in Ask Reg will provide you with applicable:

  • regulations
  • guidance on those regulations
  • minimum standards and recommended best practices from across the codes of welfare

Check the codes of welfare

Guidance on regulations by animal type or activity

We've also grouped our guidance on the regulations on this web page by animal type or activity. Note, there are no regulations relating solely to deer – check the regulations under 'Stock transport' and 'Regulations for all animals'.

Information on this page is guidance only. You can check the full regulation by clicking its numbered title – this will take you to the regulation on the NZ Legislation website.

You can also download leaflets on different animals and activities.

Regulations for all animals

47. Collars and tethers


Poorly fitted collars can cause pain and distress. Check your animal’s collar regularly.

You’ll be OK if the collar you use meets these requirements:

  • Right size and fit for each individual animal.
  • Allows normal breathing, panting and drinking.
  • Not so tight or heavy that it can cause skin abrasions, cuts or swelling.
  • Not so loose that it can cause an injury, for example by getting a leg caught in the collar.

Otherwise, you can be fined $300.


If you need to tether your animal, ensure that the tether you use:

  • is an appropriate length and material to allow normal breathing, panting, and drinking
  • keeps the animal from being caught up on nearby objects and injured.

Otherwise, you can be fined $300.

A tether is any form of restraint that secures any part of an animal to an object or the ground.

48. Use of electric prodders

Use of electric prodders is restricted.

  • In some limited circumstances, electric prodders can be used on the muscled hind or forequarters of:
    • cattle over 150kg
    • pigs, over 150kg, during loading or unloading for transport, or when loading into stunning pens
    • deer, when loading into a stunning pen.
  • If you use a prodder in these limited circumstances, the animal must be able to move away from the prodder.
  • If you use an electric prodder for any other purpose, you can be fined $500.
  • This regulation doesn’t cover situations where your personal safety is at risk.

49. Prodding animals in sensitive areas

Striking or prodding an animal in sensitive areas causes unreasonable pain and distress, and is prohibited.

  • Do not strike or prod an animal with a goad in the udder, anus, genitals or eyes.
  • If you don’t comply, you can be fined $500.
  • A goad is an object used to make an animal move but doesn't include an electric prodder.

Regulations by animal type or activity

Regulation penalties

Each regulation has an associated penalty. The penalty level is determined by whether the offence is:

  • an infringement offence – resulting in an infringement fee but no criminal conviction
  • a prosecution under regulations – more serious than an infringement offence and may result in a criminal conviction. The court can impose a fine up to the maximum in the Regulations. There is no imprisonment for regulation offences.

View a list of offences and related penalties  [PDF, 193 KB]

If you get an infringement notice

If you are issued an infringement notice you should read the 'Notes' on the back.
You can:

  • pay the infringement fee in full
  • request a waiver of the infringement if you think there are circumstances that are grounds for a waiver
  • request a defended or non-defended court hearing.

Find out more about:

If you have been charged with a prosecutable offence

If you are charged with a prosecutable offence under the Regulations or the Act, you or your legal representative will have to appear before a judge in a District Court under normal criminal court processes.

Who to contact

If you have questions about animal welfare, email

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