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New Zealand Aims for World Leading Animal Welfare

17 August 2012, at 7:13am

NEW ZEALAND - Federated Farmers will continue to work with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), to ensure New Zealand’s farmers have the highest levels of practicable rules around animal welfare.

“I know good animal welfare pays you back commercially and is why animal welfare legislation and associated codes of welfare matter,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers joint animal welfare spokesperson.

“Federated Farmers is active with the MPI, in ensuring pastoral farmers treat our animals in a humane and ethical way.

“These animals are for many of us why we farm and farmers, right now, are working in atrocious conditions to ensure the well-being of their animals.

“It is why New Zealand’s animal welfare system is regarded as world-leading but we can’t sit back. We know consumers’ views on what is acceptable and what isn’t constantly evolves.

“This is why Federated Farmers supports the continued development of the animal welfare system. The review, announced this week, is a chance to showcase that much of what we do is informed and led by science.

“There is also a dimension of common-sense because it is easy to forget farm animals have evolved to live outdoors. In many respects, they are tougher than us farmers and is why we call them livestock.

“Farmers know full well stressed or maltreated animals do not produce well or gain condition. It is why we have to guard against going overboard with compliance when we know good animal welfare has strong commercial drivers.

“With enforcement, Federated Farmers does not want a militant approach. Our experience of working with the MPI on farm animal welfare cases is that most involve farmers overwhelmed by a number of issues.

“It is often just not stock that have been let go, but the farmer themselves. In such cases we work at the grassroots with the MPI and other agencies in the interests of the animals involved. It is thankfully uncommon but does demand sensitivity.

“What I can say is that there is no place in farming for thugs who deliberately maltreat farm animals. A recent high profile case underscores how abhorrent it is from both a commercial and ethical standpoint.

“It is why we support farm animals having the highest possible standard of care and hope this review will provide farmers with even more clarity and support in this area,” Mrs Maxwell concluded.