Animal welfare codes attracted huge public interest

By Teuila Fuatai

Photo / File
Photo / File

A new welfare code for goats and tougher standards for chicken cages were some of the issues consulted on by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee last year.

According to the committee's newly released annual report for 2012, the review of the layer hens code - which banned new battery hen cages and implemented a phasing-out of existing cages over the next decade - attracted a huge amount of public interest.

Committee deputy chairwoman Dr Karen Phillips said more than 300 submissions and over 35,000 cards and emails requesting the banning of batter cages were received.

Under the revised code, 45 per cent of existing cages will be removed by 2018.

"NAWAC considered the feedback carefully and sought information from a variety of other sources before finalising its advice to the Minister [for Primary Industries]."

The 13-strong committee, which provides independent advice to the Minster for Primary Industries and develops codes of welfare, was also continuing to work on a new code for horses and a revised code for rodeos.

Best practise guidelines for chickens being farmed for meat were also implemented last year - putting more onus on farmers to consider environmental factors like litter and air quality, lighting and temperature when deciding how to house their animals.

Under the new goat code, minimum standards of care and recommended best practice were developed for owners. The code has been in operation for about 14 months.

The committee also reassessed the dairy cattle code to address problems with housing systems.

In addition to this, the ongoing development of advice on proposals for an Animal Welfare Strategy and revisions of the Animal Welfare Act were also under consideration.

"The effect of these proposals is likely to result in some significant changes in the way NAWAC operates in the future," Dr Phillips said.

- APNZ

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