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New Zealand Issue New Draft Code of Animal Welfare

03 November 2008

NEW ZEALAND - Minimum standards of animal welfare and recommended best practices for anyone responsible for sheep and beef cattle are outlined in a new draft code of welfare released for consultation by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.

The code is intended to encourage all those responsible for the welfare of sheep and beef cattle to exceed the minimum standards and adopt the best industry practices of husbandry, care and handling.


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"We want to know whether the minimum standards and recommendations being made go too far or not far enough"
Dr Cheryl O’Connor, MAF animal welfare programme manager.

The draft code covers all sheep and beef cattle farmed mainly for their meat, fibre (and/or their offspring) rather than being milked. Sheep and cattle of recognised dairy breeds are covered if they are weaned and farmed for meat production.

Proposed minimum standards cover all aspects of sheep and beef cattle husbandry, including stockmanship, handling, breeding and the provision of food, water, shade, shelter and housing. Requirements around shearing, protection from flystrike, the use of feed pads and selection for transport are also addressed.

A group designated by NAWAC wrote the draft code and it has been reviewed by representatives of farmers, the meat and wool industries, veterinarians and animal welfare organisations. NAWAC is seeking public feedback before finalising the code.

“There has yet to be any final decisions made. We want to know whether the minimum standards and recommendations being made go too far or not far enough,” says Dr Cheryl O’Connor, MAF animal welfare programme manager. “We welcome submissions from anyone interested in sheep and beef welfare or involved in their management”.

The draft code is available in the Public Consultation section of the MAFBNZ web. The closing date for submissions is 12 December 2008.

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