Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor has today announced the members of a new action group tasked with implementing recommendations to improve animal welfare in winter grazing systems.
The establishment of the Winter Grazing Action Group, made up of 15 representatives from industry organisations, government, vets, farmers, and other rural professionals, follows the final report by the Winter Grazing Taskforce.
In its report, the Taskforce, established by Minister O'Connor in August 2019, made 11 recommendations to help ensure that animal welfare became a key part of all winter grazing decisions in the pastoral supply chain.
"The new Winter Grazing Action Group met for the first time last week and is eager to progress the work begun by the Taskforce. I will continue to take a strong interest in the progress and they will continue to report to me as that work takes shape" said O'Connor.
"I know there's a lot of concern about managing winter grazing for cattle, sheep, and deer. This is an issue across the country.
"Farmers around New Zealand, whatever their particular winter grazing system, need to meet animal welfare and environmental outcomes. I encourage them to reach out to their levy organisations if they need any support or additional information ahead of winter."
Action Group Chair Lindsay Burton said the group was engaged and ready to get to work.
"We don't have all the answers but we have a work programme, a high level of expertise across the sector and a drive to succeed. The work that the Taskforce has done to date has set us up very well to move forward and should be applauded" he said.
The Winter Grazing Action Group members are:
• Lindsay Burton, Independent Chair
• Ash Keown, Veterinary Manager (Large Animal), NZ Veterinary Association
• Caroline Murray, Technical Advisor, Dairy Companies Association NZ
• Helen Thoday, Animal Care Manager, DairyNZ
• Tony Pearse, Production Manager, Deer Industry NZ
• Julie Geange, Policy Adviser, Federated Farmers
• Milton Munro, Technical Team Manager, PGG Wrightson
• Miranda Hunter, Consultant, Roslin Consultancy
• Peter Young, Consultant, Farm Advisory Services
• Pania King, Sheep & Beef Farmer and Taskforce member
• Tim Driscoll, Dairy Farmer, Southern Dairy Development Trust
• Will Halliday, Senior Adviser Animal Welfare & Biosecurity, Beef+Lamb NZ
• Leonie Ward, Manager Animal Welfare Sector Liaison, MPI
• Penny Timmer-Arends, Adviser Animal Welfare Sector Liaison, MPI
• Gray Harrison, Manager Animal Welfare & NAIT Compliance, MPI