The Government is asking New Zealanders for their feedback on proposed changes to animal welfare rules.

Primary Industries Minister David Carter said the proposals set a strategic direction for animal welfare and improve the way the Animal Welfare Act operates.

"Animal welfare matters. It matters because how we treat animals says something important about us as a society," he said.

"It also matters for New Zealand's reputation because our trading partners and international consumers rightly expect us to maintain high standards of animal welfare."


"I encourage New Zealanders to provide input on this discussion to ensure we get the system right," he said.

The proposed national strategy is the first of its kind and will canvass the views of stakeholders with animal welfare interests.

A key proposal is that codes of welfare, which currently set the standards for animal welfare, are replaced with a combination of regulations and guidelines.

Regulations will be directly enforceable in law. Guidelines will provide information and advice but will have no legal effect.