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Extension Granted On Animal Welfare Codes

Extension Granted On Animal Welfare Codes

An extension to the time required for completing the four deemed codes of animal welfare was issued today.

Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said the extra year was needed to guarantee completed codes reflected the full breadth of issues raised during the consultation phase.

"At the outset nobody could have predicted the complexity and the level of public interest the codes of animal welfare would attract. Consultation is fundamental to the drafting of these codes, but it is also time consuming and involves considerable review of drafts."

Once the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, established to draft the codes, present their recommendations to the minister, the original writer has the opportunity to review changes and provide comment.

These comments may either be incorporated into the final drafting or a recommendation will be made to NAWAC to review the code. MAF must also complete a report assessing costs involved in enforcing the new code.

Mr Sutton said the drafting of the codes of welfare was a rigorous and lengthy process.

However, he said, this was necessary to ensure that people responsible for animals affected by the codes of welfare could continue to comply with the statutory requirements outlined under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

"Not replacing or extending the life of the deemed codes places individuals at risk of prosecution and could impact on New Zealand's high international animal welfare reputation."

Despite the extension, NAWAC expects to make recommendations to Mr Sutton on layer hens by January 2004, circus animals by March 2004, and exhibit animals by April 2004. The pig code, presented in November, is currently being considered by Mr Sutton.

ENDS

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