Safeguarding our Animals, Safeguarding our Reputation
This programme encourages everyone to take responsibility for the welfare of animals.
Improving voluntary compliance
The Safeguarding our Animals, Safeguarding our Reputation programme is about improving voluntary compliance with animal welfare laws. Activities include:
- developing resources to support farmers and veterinarians
- educating people who work with production animals through workshops and conferences
- improving awareness and understanding of regulations and codes of welfare.
The Animal Welfare Act, regulations and Codes of Welfare
The aim of the programme is to educate owners and people in charge of animals about their animal welfare responsibilities to improve compliance with the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
Codes of welfare provide information about the minimum standards required and recommended best practices for animal care. We encourage everyone who is an owner or who works with animals to be familiar with the code of welfare for their species or activities (for example, the Code of Welfare for Transport within New Zealand 2018).
Regulations have also been issued under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
Regulations currently in force are for young calves, stock transport, farm husbandry, companion and working animals, pigs, layer hens, crustaceans, rodeos, and exporting live animals. More regulations that clarify who can carry out some surgical procedures on animals, and under what circumstances, will come into force on 9 May 2021.
Find out more
- Animal Welfare Act 1999 – New Zealand Legislation website
- Codes of Welfare
- Animal welfare legal overview
- Guide to the Animal Welfare Care and Procedures Regulations
- Use an online tool to find all the requirements for your animal or activity – Zingtree website
Under the Animal Welfare Act, animals need shelter to be protected from weather-related problems that could affect their health.
Animals need careful management in winter. Find out about risks, requirements, and solutions, and about the Winter Grazing Taskforce.
A group effort needed
Many people are involved in the transport of farm animals, including farmers, stock agents, truck drivers, veterinarians and meat company staff. They all have a role to ensure fit and healthy animals are transported carefully to their destination.
Are your animals fit for transport?
The Animal Welfare (Transport within New Zealand) Code of Welfare:
- describes the minimum standards of care and management that need to be met when transporting animals
- encourages all those responsible for transportation of animals to adopt the highest standards of husbandry, care and handling.
Animals are fit for transport when there are no signs of injury, sickness or poor health.
Resources have been developed by MPI with help from industry to outline the core requirements when selecting and transporting animals.
Find out more
Changes to live animal export rules
The Animal Welfare Amendment Act (No 2) 2015 Commencement Order 2016 came into force on 25 August 2016.
The provisions 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
- 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 was moved to regulations under the Animal Welfare Act. The Animal Welfare (Export of Livestock for Slaughter) Regulations 2016 came into force on 21 December 2016.
Focus on people not meeting the minimum standards
MPI and industry groups have been working with suppliers, farmers, transporters and processors to improve the welfare of bobby calves that are being transported for processing. This works continues with a greater focus of targeting people who aren't meeting the minimum standards.
What is happening?
Significant improvements have been made in the welfare of bobby calves being transported for processing over the past few years. But we recognise these are young, vulnerable animals, so everyone across the supply chain must attend to their welfare needs appropriately.
Public consultation on proposed animal welfare regulations was held between 14 April and 19 May 2016. The first regulations for young calves came into force on 1 August 2016, with more in February and August 2017.
- Mortality rates in calves 2018 to 2019 [PDF, 1.2 MB]
- Mortality rates in young calves in the 2017 spring calving season [PDF, 742 KB]
- Mortality rates in calves 2008 to 2016 [PDF, 513 KB]
- Summary of the new regulations
- Animal Welfare (Calves) Regulations 2016 – NZ Legislation website
- Consultation on proposed animal welfare regulations
Check list for transporting calves
Suppliers must ensure calves being transported:
- are strong enough to withstand the stress of travel
- are healthy and free of disease, deformity, blindness or any disability
- have been adequately fed on milk or colostrum
- are alert and able to rise from a lying position and, once up, can move freely. They must not be listless and unable to protect themselves from trampling and being injured by other calves
- have hooves that are firm and worn flat – not bulbous with soft unworn tissue
- have a navel cord that is wrinkled, withered and shrivelled – not pink or red coloured, raw or fleshy
- are at least 4 days old.
This checklist is based on the minimum welfare standards.
Codes of welfare
Suppliers, farmers, transporters and processors should be familiar with the codes of welfare for:
This research identifies reasons for mortality and morbidity in dairy calves for slaughter (bobby calves), and potential new welfare indicators. Results are based on observations of calves, information from questionnaires given to farmers, transport operators, and slaughter plant personnel. The research links calf mortality to on-farm management practices, transport, time in calving season, and slaughter schedule. The results will be used for initiatives to further improve calf welfare.
The Safeguarding our Animals, Safeguarding our Reputation Programme has a vision of 'everyone taking responsibility for the welfare of animals'. To achieve this, we work with organisations across the supply chain to ensure people working with livestock know their responsibilities.
Who to contact
If you have questions about animal welfare or the programme, email email@example.com