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Animal abuse: nearly 200 investigations underway

Animal abuse: Government reveals nearly 200 investigations underway
Eric Frykberg, Reporter

The government has revealed there are 183 active investigations into animal welfare underway at present.

A screenshot of the video released by Farmwatch from the case of a Northland sharemilker who was filmed beating cows. Photo: Farmwatch

This includes the highly publicised case of a sharemilker in Northland beating his cows, which the Ministry for Primary Industries is investigating.

Meanwhile, the ministry has refused to give details about the Northland investigation.

Following the incident, Associate Minister of Agriculture Meka Whaitiri revealed in parliament the government has considered establishing a special body to look at animal welfare in a bid to fix the problem.

"Since becoming the minister responsible for animal welfare, I have heard many views calling for an independent voice for animal welfare," Ms Whaitiri told parliament yesterday.

"As part of this, Cabinet will consider the possibility of establishing an independent voice such as an animal welfare commissioner."

It is understood a commissioner for animals would act in a similar way to the Commissioner for Children and other group commissioners in place.

Associate Minister of Agriculture Meka Whaitiri says the government is considering establishing a special body to look at animal welfare. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

However in response to a question from Green MP Gareth Hughes, Ms Whaitiri made it clear she was ruling out installing video surveillance cameras in milking sheds.

Mr Hughes claimed this was done in several other countries, including France, the UK and Israel.

A spokesperson for animal welfare group SAFE said MPI needed to speak up for a law change to enable them to secretly film animal abuse.

Regarding the animal welfare investigations, Meka Whaitiri suggested to parliament that it was a big task.

There were 23 animal welfare inspectors across New Zealand looking at 4.9 million milking cows and 14 million hectares of farmland, she said.

Ms Whaitiri said she wanted to make sure it was done in a timely and effective way, and that the department was developing methods to ensure this was achieved.

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