Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the bill will strengthen the protection of animals in New Zealand by improving the enforceability, clarity, and transparency of the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
“New Zealanders care deeply about how animals are treated. Sixty eight per cent of New Zealand households have at least one pet, and we earn around NZ$25 billion a year by exporting animal products such as meat, milk and wool,” said Mr Guy.
“How we treat animals matters not just to animals, but to ourselves and overseas markets.”
The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill will:
- Provide for regulations to set mandatory animal welfare standards
- Broaden the range of enforcement tools, including new tools that will enable animal welfare inspectors to prevent animal suffering as well as punish perpetrators
- Remove uncertainty around the ill-treatment of wild animals by targeting acts of wilful or reckless ill-treatment (but not affecting ordinary hunting, fishing, and pest management)
- Improve the transparency of research involving animals.
The Bill provides for a penalty scheme to enable low-to-medium level offending to be dealt with more effectively, and gives animal welfare inspectors the power to issue compliance notices.
It also bans the use of animals to test finished cosmetic products or ingredients that are intended for use exclusively in cosmetics.
“I want to thank members of the public, industry and Parliament who have submitted on this bill. New Zealand has a proud reputation on animal welfare and this is another important step forward,” said Mr Guy.