MPI’s director-general, Ray Smith, wants his staff to engage more with the rural sector.
MPI and the SPCA mostly enforce the rules under the Act. They jointly investigate about 16,000 complaints each year. NZ Police also has power to enforce the rules.
Fines for infringement can be up to $50,000 or up to 12 months in prison for individuals, and fines up to $250,000 for a corporate.
The 1999 Act was amended in 2015 to improve the enforceability, clarity and transparency of the animal welfare system. Those amendments have progressed in three lots:
The first, in 2016, covered bobby calves and the export of livestock for slaughter
The second, in 2018, was on the care and conduct of animals
The third and final lot, now being discussed, looks at ‘significant surgical procedures’, i.e. who may do procedures on animals and in what circumstances.
The proposed changes will, if adopted, take effect on May 9, 2020.
MPI says the regulatory proposals build on submissions received in 2016, with 26 proposals either new or markedly different from the 2016 starting point.
The proposals are in six sections:
Section A - animal husbandry, affecting cattle, sheep, pigs and goats
Section B - equids such as horses and donkeys
Section C - poultry and game fowl
Section D - animals in research, teaching and testing environments
Section E & F - electric prodders, pain relief and ‘competent persons’.
Some proposals are on farmers giving animals pain relief or local anaesthesia for, say, disbudding or de-horning as authorised by a vet.