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Draft Dog Code Needs Work

9 August 2005

Draft Dog Code Needs Work

A proposed animal welfare code of conduct for dogs has some serious shortcomings, said Don Nicolson, Vice President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

"Federated Farmers is working to fix these shortcomings," he said.

The code is being developed by a group designated through the New Zealand Companion Animal Council. The drafting committee includes a representative from Federated Farmers.

"Some of the more 'over-the-top' minimum standards in the draft include one that says dogs must not be carried on the open rear of a truck unless the dog is secured or enclosed in a crate. This requirement would make most farm work impractical," Mr Nicolson said.

"There is also a recommendation that four-to-nine month old dogs should be fed three times a day. Some dogs start working as young as nine months. Feeding them three times a day could cause twisted bowel, a potentially fatal illness. This is a well recognised problem among working dogs. To abide by this recommendation would quite possibly kill a young working dog," Mr Nicolson said.

Given that there are 250,000 dogs on New Zealand farms, Federated Farmers is taking the dog code seriously and will participate at all stages of its development.

"The problems in this code are almost certainly brought about through the majority of its writers being urban people who lack knowledge of the reality of life on the farm for a real working dog," Mr Nicolson said.


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