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Animal Welfare Key Civil Emergency Consideration

Animal Welfare A Key Consideration In Civil Emergency Situations

"The plight of animals caught in a civil defence emergency has been overlooked in legislation currently being considered by the Government Administration Select Committee," Tom Lambie Vice-President of Federated Farmers told MPs.

He called for greater recognition of the need to manage New Zealand's 60 million productive animals under the powers of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Bill.

"Even a regional disaster, such as a volcanic eruption, could see us facing issues of the humane slaughter and disposal of thousands of animals. There is no question we could face scenes such as those currently on our TV screens as UK officials and farmers struggle with the aftermath of foot-and-mouth in the UK. The situation would be just as grim here," he said.

"Too often we see scant regard given to the rural implications of regional management issues. Federated Farmers has asked that this piece of legislation be amended to give greater rural representation. This is essential to satisfy the need for both technical knowledge of animal behaviour, welfare and management and also for local knowledge of rural areas and systems.

"Local knowledge is invaluable in the management of a civil emergency where existing structures and services have broken-down." He said that there is a danger that local knowledge will be overlooked in the enthusiasm to realise economies through centralisation."

Mr Lambie told the Committee that prompt restoration of electricity in the event of an emergency would help avoid adverse animal welfare issues

"Farming families often need electricity to meet the welfare needs of their animals. While being in a similar situation to urban consumers and business owners in their dependence on electricity for domestic supply, many have additional concerns with the need to milk cows, and provide heating for animals such as pigs and chickens."

Mr Lambie said rural communities also have a unique dependence on electricity to maintain vital communication links. Telecommunications in many places is based on battery dependent microwave links. Most of these batteries have a very limited life and require recharging through mains electricity.

"Given the importance of the rural sector to the New Zealand's economic wellbeing Federated Farmers looks to Government to address the deficiencies identified in the Bill," Mr Lambie concluded.


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