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Animal Welfare tips and advice for the holidays

21 January 2001 - For Immediate Release

Animal Welfare tips and advice for the holiday season

It’s that time of year again – summer sun and holidays. But in organising that holiday, you need to spare a thought for your animals says MAF Animal Welfare adviser Dr Wayne Ricketts.

"Providing for animal welfare is a must whatever the species, or whether the animals are on the farm or are domestic pets. Furthermore supplying ‘proper and sufficient food and water and adequate shelter’ is an essential requirement under the Animal Welfare Act 1999," says Dr Ricketts.

"Good organisation is the key to avoiding stock problems over the holiday period remembering that some farm animals, such as intensively farmed dairy cows, pigs and poultry, still need every day attention whether it’s holiday time or not," says Federated Farmers president Alistar Polson.

On the other hand sheep and cattle farmers have less pressure to provide every day attention. Mr Polson advocates setting up the farm to minimise dependence on trough water for these farmers and agrees ensuring stock have adequate supplies of water is an important consideration for farmers.

“Rather than relying on the pumping system, it’s best to leave a few more gates open so animals have access to the dam or the river. It takes the stress off the water pump. Otherwise you’ve really got to have somebody checking it once a day - it will cost you a lot in terms of animal performance if you don’t”.

Peter Blomkamp, CEO of the RNZSPCA, says people planning a holiday away from home, really must make sure their pets are cared for. That could mean boarding them in a kennel or cattery, leaving them in the dedicated care of a friend or neighbour, or, in some cases, taking their pet along on holiday.

Dr Virginia Williams, from the New Zealand Veterinary Association, says pet owners should ensure they provide their animals’ caregivers with the name of their veterinarian. “99% of the time, it won’t be necessary, but if they need that information in a hurry, they don’t want to be trying to locate you at the other end of the country,” she says.

Dr Williams also warns of the potential pitfalls of travelling with animals.

“It’s important to carry water for your pet, and to make regular stops for exercise and watering,” she says. “Ventilation is extremely important, particularly if you have to stop for any length of time. The temperature inside a stationary car can build up to dangerously high levels very quickly - every year we see deaths, particularly in dogs left in cars without adequate ventilation.”

"Our interest," says MAF’s Dr Ricketts "is to urge everyone preparing that much anticipated holiday break to take the time to ensure their animals are also well taken care of".

ENDS

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