News 593 views update:Oct 15, 2008

NZ: Animal welfare and agriculture, a conflict of interests

Animal welfare organisation New Zealand Open Rescue has produced a documentary reviewing intensive farming in the country, and calls for party policy on Animal Welfare.

The organisation would also like to have separate Ministry's of Animal Welfare and Agriculture, as Welfare currently falls under Agriculture.
Spokesperson for NZ Open Rescue, Deirdre Sims: "The fact that the Minister of Agriculture, Jim Anderton, is also responsible for Animal Welfare, results in a severe conflict of interest on his part. Agriculture is one of our primary industries, earning New Zealand billions each year. So it comes as no surprise that a Minister in charge of both Animal Welfare and Agriculture would put economics before the interests of farmed animals."
Sims went on to say that in 2006, Parliament's Regulations Review Committee found battery cages were illegal as they don't allow hens to engage in natural behaviours, but Anderton over-ruled this decision on economic grounds.
Next year the Codes of Welfare for pigs, layer hens and broilers will be reviewed. These Codes Currently permit restriction of natural behaviours, which is a breach of the Animal Welfare Act 1999, says Sims, adding htat the organisation is calling for concrete change for battery hens, pigs and broiler chickens in the 2009 Code reviews.
"While Jim Anderton claims that New Zealand has 'much to be proud of in our standards of animal care' and that our Animal Welfare legislation is 'state of the art', as a nation we are far behind more progressive countries," added Sims.
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