New animal welfare regulations welcomed

The deer industry, along with dairy, beef and sheep, has welcomed the new animal welfare regulations, which are to be introduced on October 1. Photo: Yvonne O'Hara
The deer industry, along with dairy, beef and sheep, has welcomed the new animal welfare regulations, which are to be introduced on October 1. Photo: Yvonne O'Hara
Southern Rural Life reporter Yvonne O’Hara asked DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Deer Industry New Zealand for their thoughts about the new animal welfare regulations, which will be in place on October 1.

DAIRYNZ

DairyNZ strategy leader Jenny Jago said they welcomed the new regulations as New Zealand dairy farmers prided themselves on excellent animal care and animal welfare was at the heart of any good dairy farm.

She said DairyNZ worked closely with farmers throughout New Zealand to ensure dairy cattle were treated with care and respect, but some farmers would still need to make changes.

''Most of the regulations coming into effect on October 1 reflect existing standards in the Animal Welfare Code and most farmers are already exceeding the requirements.

''DairyNZ also makes available to all dairy farmers and those who support farmers, a wide range of animal welfare information, support, resources and training opportunities.

''A new requirement is a ban on cow tail docking.

''Most farmers do not dock tails (it is considered an out-dated practice).

''The only exception to this practice allowed in the new regulations is if docking is necessary due to injury, in which case veterinarian advice and pain relief will be required.''

She said DairyNZ also welcomed the new disbudding and dehorning regulations coming into effect in October 2019, which required the use of local anaesthetic.

DEER

Deer Industry New Zealand's quality assurance manager John Tacon said as an industry they welcomed the new regulations.

''Although animal welfare is everybody's responsibility, the regulations clearly define specific responsibilities of people involved throughout the supply chain from farm to processors.

''Most of the regulations relating to deer are already reflected throughout the Deer Industries Quality Assurance Programmes as standards or best practice, so there's not going to be much change from current practices for the majority of people owning deer,'' he said.

However, the use of veterinary certificates for the transport to slaughter only for any unfit animal (deer) takes on more of an importance under the new regulations.

BLNZ

BLNZ manager technical policy Chris Houston said BLNZ knew for farms to be productive and profitable, their animals had to be healthy and happy and New Zealand had a well deserved reputation in leading the world on farm animal welfare standards.

''We're supportive of the new rules which will build on and help secure that reputation, and we'll be working with our farmers to ensure they comply with them,'' he said.

''With regards to disbudding, this is largely not an issue for beef cattle, with horns having been bred out of our herds.

''However, where disbudding is required, we expect our farmers to comply with all animal welfare regulations, and will be exploring with the Ministry for Primary Industries ways to make pain relief and local anaesthetic for calves available in a more practical way for farmers.''

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