Animals in farming, sport and entertainment deserve better legal protection
The Animal Welfare Act is two decades old. The underlying principles of the Act are good in theory. However, it’s so full of loopholes and exceptions that it fails to give adequate protection to animals – millions of farm animals, especially.
The law needs to be rewritten, with a focus on ensuring all animals have lives worth living.
What would this involve?
All animals in Aotearoa New Zealand should be given the basic protections of the Act. If there are to be codes and regulations, they must not be allowed to undermine these basic protections. Economics must not prevail over welfare.
What the new law should do:
- ban all live animal exports;
- make cameras in slaughterhouses compulsory;
- prohibit rodeos and greyhound racing and provide for speedy phase-outs of testing on animals and factory farming.
The responsibility for animal welfare must be removed from The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). And the new law should provide for a Minister for Animal Welfare and an independent Commissioner for Animal Welfare who is properly resourced to monitor and enforce animal welfare.
A budget of at least $100 million a year should be provided to make this possible.
Tell the Government to update the law to offer legal protection to all animals. Together, we can give New Zealand’s animals better protection.
Why is this necessary?
Currently, the Codes of Welfare legalise cruel practices such as live exports, permanently confining animals in tiny spaces, and calf roping. That’s why farrowing crates, hen cages, greyhound racing and rodeos all continue to flourish. That’s why winter grazing continues, even though animals can be kept in shocking conditions.
The farming industry has a massive influence in drafting the law. The problem is that the law emphasises economics and practicality over animal welfare. And enforcement is toothless with insufficient animal welfare inspectors to monitor 160 million farmed animals.
Also, the law assumes that testing on animals is necessary and, therefore, authorises it.
This is no life for Aotearoa New Zealand animals. Our law should lead the way by banning animal testing and requiring that other methods be used.
Our law is stuck in the past
It’s important to note that the current law was written at a time when the Five Freedoms of animal welfare were the standard for good animal care. They have since been replaced by the Five Domains and the concept that animals deserve “a life worth living”.
We have an opportunity to make Aotearoa New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Act the most progressive in the world and a model for other countries to follow.
Tell the Government Aotearoa New Zealand’s animals deserve better protection. Together, we can make a real difference for all animals.