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Tougher animal welfare rules mooted

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/04/2016

Tougher animal welfare rules, including specific regulations covering the care of bobby calves, are in the works.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has begun consultation on a raft of proposed new regulations to clarify and bolster the animal welfare system.

It comes after changes were made last year to the Animal Welfare Act to improve the enforceability, clarity and transparency of it.

The mooted changes include banning the hot branding of any animal, banning the de-barking of dogs except for therapeutic reasons, and explicitly banning the killing of a dog or cat by drowning.

"We know the vast majority of New Zealanders treat their animals well, whether they are farmers or pet owners," Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said.

"Most people who look after their animals will see little change with the proposed regulations."

Meanwhile, MPI is also consulting on specific rules around the care and treatment of bobby calves.

These follow a number of high-profile cases of mistreatment of bobby calves, which have led to investigations by MPI.

New rules include requiring access to adequate shelter, reducing the number of hours between a calf's last feed and slaughter, banning the use of blunt force trauma for killing bobby calves, and banning the transportation of bobby calves across the Cook Strait.

The new regulations would be brought in progressively from the end of this year.

Changes relating to bobby calves may be brought in before the start of the 2016 calving season.

Consultation closes on May 19.

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