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Codes of welfare for zoos and circuses published

17 December 2004

Codes of welfare for zoos and circuses published

Two new codes of welfare under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 have been issued, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

The codes outline the minimum standards and recommended best practices for the care of circus and zoo animals. Standards cover the general aspects of care such as food and water, physical and social environments, health and disease.

Both codes were developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and were subjected to two rounds of consultation. The first was a targeted round aimed at those most affected by the codes. The second was a general consultation where comments were sought from the public.

The zoo code does not have minimum standards specific for each individual species because of the large number of species held in New Zealand zoos. Instead, the code takes a more generalist approach so the standards will apply to any species.

In contrast, the circus code does include specific standards for the exotic species currently held in New Zealand, including lions, primates and an elephant.

Submissions were received on both codes which questioned the value of having animals in both zoos and circuses for entertainment, education or conservation.

The Animal Welfare Act allows zoos and circuses to operate in New Zealand. NAWAC is of the opinion that exotic animals can be kept in zoos and circuses, as the benefits from keeping such animals outweighs the harm.

Failure to comply with minimum standards may lead to a prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act.

ENDS


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