New Animal Welfare Regulations

On 1 October this year new animal welfare regulations come into effect. Whether you’re a commercial farmer or live on a lifestyle block, own a pet or run a petting zoo, transport livestock or ride horses; if you’re responsible for an animal – these regulations could apply to you.

Check out the information here – www.mpi.govt.nz/animalregs

 These changes build on what is already required and also set some new rules. Regulations make it easier for MPI and the SPCA to take action against animal mistreatment. New penalties such as fines will be issued for certain actions. We will continue to prosecute the worst offenders under the Animal Welfare Act.

We’re making life better for animals, and you can help others get it right too.

  • Check! Are you doing it right? Encourage others to check too - www.mpi.govt.nz/animalregs

  • Ask! Email us your questions -  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Tell! Call us about an animal welfare issue - 0800 00 83 33

Animal Husbandry Practices

Cattle with ingrown horns

  • Ingrown horns are painful.

  • An ingrown horn is when either the tip or the side of the horn pierces, inflames or causes abrasion to any part of the body.

  • If you allow horns to become ingrown, you can be fined $500.

Use of traction in calving

  • It is prohibited to calve a cow using a moving vehicle, or any instrument that doesn't allow for the immediate release of tension.

  • If you calve a cow this way, you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.

Goats with ingrown horns

  • Ingrown horns are painful.

  • An ingrown horn is when either the tip or the side of the horn pierces, inflames or causes abrasion to any part of the body.

  • If you allow horns to become ingrown, you can be fined $500.

Sheep with ingrown horns

  • Ingrown horns are painful.

  • An ingrown horn is when either the tip or the side of the horn pierces, inflames or causes abrasion to any part of the body. For sheep, this can happen when their curled horns press against the side of their face.

  • If you allow horns to become ingrown, you can be fined $500.

Use of traction in lambing

  • Traction is not used for lambing, and the regulations prohibit it to align with the regulations for traction for calving.

  • It is prohibited to lamb a ewe using a moving vehicle, or any instrument that doesn't allow for the immediate release of tension.

  • If you lamb a ewe this way you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.

Castrating cattle and sheep

  • You must not castrate cattle and sheep over 6 months old, without using local anaesthetic.

  • You must not castrate cattle and sheep at any age with a high tension band, without using local anaesthetic.

  • Failure to comply with this regulation could result in a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.

  • A high tension band is one that is mechanically tightened during application (doesn’t include a rubber ring).

Disbudding and dehorning cattle

  • Disbudding and dehorning are painful.

  • From 1 October 2019, new rules require you to use local anaesthetic when disbudding and dehorning.

  • If you disbud without local anaesthetic you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.

  • If you dehorn without local anaesthetic you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $5000 for an individual, or $25,000 for the business.

Use of electric prodders

  • The use of electric prodders is restricted.

  • There are some limited circumstances where electric prodders can be used on the muscled hind or fore quarters of:

    • Cattle over 150kg.

    • Pigs, over 150kg, during loading or unloading for transport, and when loading into stunning pens.

    • Deer, when loading into a stunning pen.

  • If you use a prodder in these limited circumstances, the animal must be able to move away from the prodder.

  • If you use an electric prodder for any other purpose, you can be fined $500.

  • This regulation is not intended to capture situations where your personal safety is at risk.

Prodding animals in sensitive areas

  • Striking or prodding an animal in sensitive areas causes unreasonable pain and distress to animals and it is prohibited.

  • Do not strike or prod an animal with a goad in the udder, anus, genitals or eyes.

  • Failure to comply with this regulation can result in a $500 fine.

  • A goad is an object used to make an animal move, but does not include an electric prodder.

Transporting livestock

Prevention of injury and back rub

  • If you have large stock, make sure you communicate with your stock agent and transporter, so they can plan appropriately.

Transport of animals with horns or antlers

  • Transporting animals with horns or antlers increases the risk of injury and should be avoided where possible.

  • If you select or transport an animal with horns or antlers, and it is transported in a manner that causes injury to itself or others, you can be fined $500.

  • If you have animals with horns, make sure you communicate with your stock agent and transporter, so they can plan appropriately. If you decide to dehorn cattle prior to transport, from 1 October 2019 you will be required to use local anaesthetic.

Restriction on transporting animals with ingrown horns

  • Ingrown horns are painful.

  • An ingrown horn is when either the tip or the side of the horn pierces, inflames or causes abrasion to any part of the body.

  • If you allow horns to become ingrown, you can be fined $500.

  • Do not transport an animal with ingrown horns! If you do, you can be fined $500.

  • The only time you can transport an animal with an ingrown horn is a short distance, for treatment, if the horn is only touching the skin, eyelid or surface of the eye.

  • Consult your veterinarian if you are unsure if your animal is fit for transport.

Restrictions on transport of cattle, sheep and goats with injured horns

  • Injured horns are painful and the injury can worsen during transport.

  • Do not transport an animal with injured horns.

  • If you transport animals with injured horns you can be fined $500.

  • The only time you can transport an animal with an injured horn is a short distance, for treatment.

  • Consult your veterinarian if you are unsure if your animal is fit for transport.

Restrictions on transporting lame cattle, deer or pigs

  • Do not select lame cattle, deer or pigs for transport. Lameness is painful and can worsen during the journey.

  • If you transport cattle, pigs or deer that cannot bear weight on one or more limbs when moving or standing still, or have a definite limp you can be fined $500.

  • The only time you can transport a lame animal is a short distance, for treatment.

  • Consult your veterinarian if you are unsure if your animal is fit for transport.

  • Manage and treat lameness on-farm.

Restrictions on transporting lame sheep and goats

  • Do not select lame sheep or goats for transport. Lameness is painful and can worsen during the journey.

  • If you transport sheep or goats that cannot bear weight on one or more limbs when moving or standing still, or have difficulty walking and hold their head below their backline almost continuously, you can be fined $500.

  • The only time you can transport a lame animal is a short distance, for treatment.

  • Consult your veterinarian if you are unsure if your animal is fit for transport.

  • Manage and treat lameness on-farm.

Restrictions on transporting cattle, sheep, pigs or goats late in pregnancy

  • Do not transport cattle, sheep, pigs or goats in late pregnancy.

  • If you transport an animal in late pregnancy, and she gives birth on the truck, or within 24 hours of arrival at the meat processors or sale yards, you can be fined $500.

Restrictions on transporting hinds late in pregnancy

  • Do not transport hinds within 21 days of their estimated fawning/calving date. You need to have a system in place to ensure compliance with this regulation.

  • If hinds are transported in late pregnancy and give birth on the truck, or within 24 hours of arrival at meat processors or sale yards, you can be fined $500.

Restrictions on transporting cattle, sheep or goats with injured or diseased udders

  • Do not transport an animal with an injured or diseased udder (mastitis), or lesions on her udder.

  • If your animal has signs of mastitis that includes inflammation or discharge, she is not fit for transport.

  • If you transport an animal with an injured or diseased udder, you can be fined $500.

  • The only time you can transport an animal with an injured or diseased udder is a short distance, for treatment.

  • Consult your veterinarian if you are unsure if your animal is fit for transport.

  • Manage and treat mastitis on-farm.

Restrictions on transporting cattle, sheep or goats with eye cancer

  • The transport of animals with eye cancer is restricted.

  • Do not transport an animal with eye cancer if it is larger than 2cm in diameter, or it is not confined to the eye or eyelid, or if there is any bleeding or discharging.

  • If you transport cattle, sheep or goats in this condition you can be fined $500.

  • The only time you can transport an animal in this condition is a short distance for treatment.

  • Consult your veterinarian if you are unsure if your animal is fit for transport.

Pigs

Pigs must have access to shelter and a dry lying area

You’ll be fine if your pig’s shelter and living area ticks these boxes…..

  • They have a structure they can access at any time which is dry and ventilated – but not draughty – and protects them from the extremes of heat and cold.

  • They have a dry area big enough for them to stand up, lie down and turn around in easily.

  • Their droppings and urine do not accumulate where they live.

….otherwise you can be fined $300.

Minimum lying space for grower pigs

  • Grower pigs need enough unobstructed space for them to lie down in.

  • Pigs like to have space.

  • As pigs grow the space available needs to increase. Piglets quickly grow into big pigs, they can get to 150kg or more in as little as 9 months.

  • Unexpected piglets? You will need more space.

Prodding animals in sensitive areas

  • You must not strike or prod an animal in sensitive areas with a goad.

  • Failure to comply with this regulation can result in a $500 fine.

  • A goad is an object used to make an animal move. Electric prodders are also restricted and are not recommended to use at all.

Docking pigs’ tails

  • Tail docking is only done in commercial production units where tail biting is a problem. Speak to your vet if you think you have a problem.

  • Docking tails is painful and if improperly done can be fatal.

You’ll be fine if you make sure any tail docking done to your pig when:

Under 7 days old

  • is only done by a trained person and results in a sharp clean cut.

….otherwise you and the tail-docker can be fined $500 each

7 days and over

  • is only done by a veterinarian using pain relief.

…otherwise you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.

De-sexing pigs

  • Removing testicles is painful and is not normally necessary on lifestyle blocks.

  • You must ensure your pig’s castration is only done by a veterinarian using pain relief.

  • If not, you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $5000 for an individual, or $25,000 for the business.

Companion animals

Muzzles on dogs

  • Restrictive muzzling can cause your dog pain and distress.

You’ll be fine if the muzzle you use ticks these boxes…

  • Right size and fit for each dog. A muzzle which works for one dog may not work for all.

  • Does not cause cuts, swellings or abrasions.

  • Allows the dog to open its mouth for normal breathing, panting, drinking and vomiting.

…Otherwise you can be fined $300.

  • You can use a more restrictive muzzle when administering treatment, including preventative treatment. If doing so, it must be used under constant supervision to achieve a particular goal (e.g. veterinary treatment or first aid).

  • Check with your local authority for specific rules if you are required to muzzle your dog.

Dogs must have dry and shaded shelter

  • Your dog must have access to an appropriate shelter.

  • Check on your dog regularly.

You’ll be fine if your dog’s shelter and living area ticks these boxes….

  • They have a sheltered area they can access at any time which is clean, dry, shaded and ventilated – but not draughty – and protects them from the extremes of heat and cold.

  • The sheltered area must be big enough for them to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position.

  • They have constant access to water.

  • Their droppings and urine do not accumulate where they live.

…Otherwise you can be fined $300.

Dogs left in vehicles

  • Leaving your dog in the car on a warm day is a risk. Dogs quickly suffer and die in hot cars.

  • If you leave a dog in a hot car you and the owner of the vehicle can be fined $300.

Thinking about bringing your dog on your journey? Plan ahead! Ask yourself…

    • What’s the weather like?

    • Will you have to leave your dog in the car?

    • How long will the dog be in the car?

    • Is it better to leave the dog at home?

  • A hot dog will be shade seeking and may be panting, drooling and hyperventilating.

  • If you see a dog suffering in a hot car, take immediate action. Alert the business or event owner to help you find the dog owner, or call Police or the SPCA.

Dogs on moving vehicles

  • Dogs being transported that are loose on the back of trucks, utes and trailers can fall off or hang off the side, suffering severe injuries.

You’ll be fine when travelling on a public road if your dog is secured in a cage or crate, or tied up safely when it’s on the back.

Any rope or leash used must allow the dog to stand and lie down in a natural position, and prevent them from reaching their legs over the side of the vehicle.

…Otherwise you and the owner of the vehicle can be fined $300.

  • Farm dogs can be loose on a vehicle, including on public roads, when they are actively working.

Tethered goats must have access to food, water and shelter

  • Goats are social and prefer company. It’s best not to tether goats.

  • If you have to tether a goat, it must have access to an appropriate shelter. Goats are not as tough as they seem.

  • Check on your goat regularly.

You’ll be fine if your tethered goat’s shelter and living area ticks these boxes….

  • They have a sheltered area they can access at any time which is dry, shades them from sun and rain, and protects them from the extremes of heat and cold.

  • They have access to water and food at all times.

…otherwise you can be fined $500.

Collars

  • Poorly fitted collars can cause pain and distress. Check your animal’s collar regularly.

You’ll be fine if the collar you use ticks these boxes…

  • Right size and fit for each individual animal.

  • Allows for normal breathing, panting and drinking.

  • Not so tight or heavy that it can cause skin abrasions, cuts or swelling.

  • Not so loose that it can cause an injury e.g. getting a leg caught in the collar.

…Otherwise you can be fined $300.

Tethers

If you need to tether your animal, you’ll be fine if you ensure that the tether you use…

  • Is an appropriate length and material to allow for normal breathing, panting and drinking.

  • Keeps them from being caught up on nearby objects and injured.

…Otherwise you can be fined $300.

  • (For dogs) Don’t forget dogs need time off tethers for exercise.

Docking dogs’ tails

  • Routine tail docking (or ‘banding’) is no longer allowed.

  • If you dock your dog’s tail, or allow it to be docked, you could face a criminal conviction and fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.

  • If you see docked puppies for sale, report it.

  • If your dog’s tail is injured, go to the veterinarian.

Removing dogs’ dew claws

  • While not commonly done, there are new restrictions on removing dogs’ dew claws.

  • If you remove a front limb dew claw, or an articulated hind limb dew claw, from a dog of any age you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business.

  • If you see puppies for sale that have their articulated dew claws removed, report it.

  • If your dog’s claws are injured, go to the veterinarian.

Horses

Horses tethered for the purpose of grazing

  • Tethering your horse for grazing is not recommended.

  • If you have to tether your horse for grazing, your horse must have constant access to a supply of water, food, shade, and protection from heat and cold. 

  • If you don’t provide this to horses tethered for grazing, you can be fined $300.

  • Check your horses regularly when tethered. Tethering for grazing is not appropriate for long periods of time, as horses need exercise. (Need to include link to code of welfare)

Use of equipment that may injure horses

  • Any equipment used on a horse must not cause injuries such as cuts and abrasions that bleed or discharge, or swelling around the head and neck.

  • Equipment used on a horse must ensure the horse is able to breathe and drink normally. Equipment can include, but is not limited to: halters, bridles, lead ropes, bits, and nosebands.

  • Keep your equipment clean, and ensure saddles and covers are fitted correctly. Horses that wear equipment need to be checked regularly/daily.

  • If you use equipment that causes injury to horses you can be fined $300.

Persons must not strike a horse on its head

  • Horses must not be struck on the head, with hands or any other object.

  • If you strike a horse on its head you can be fined $500.

Castrating horses

  • Castration is a painful, surgical procedure that must be carried out by a veterinarian using local or general anaesthetic.

  • If a horse is castrated without local or general anaesthetic you could face a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $5000 for an individual or $25,000 for the business.

Llamas & Alpacas

Use of equipment that may injure llama or alpaca

  • Any equipment used on a llama or alpaca must not:

    • cause injuries, such as cuts and abrasions that bleed or discharge, or

    • cause swelling, or

    • prevent normal breathing or drinking.

  • Failure to comply with this regulation can result in a $300 fine.

  • Halters, lead ropes, packs and other equipment should be fitted correctly for each animal.

  • Equipment used should be designed specifically for llamas and alpacas.

  • Llama and alpaca wearing equipment continuously should not be left unattended.

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