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Annual report released

Annual report released

The 2003 National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) Annual Report was issued today.

Professor David Mellor, Chairman of NAWAC said the bulk of the committee’s work has been focused on the development of the Codes of Welfare.

These codes, issued under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, outline the minimum standards required for the care and protection of animals.

During 2003, the broiler chicken and rodeo codes were completed with the expectation that the pig, layer hen, and circus codes will be in place during this year.

Professor Mellor acknowledges that drafting the codes is a time consuming and complex issue.

“A number of factors need to be taken into account such as public submissions, consultation processes, available technology and good practice and scientific knowledge in relation to the management of animals.”

Other codes currently underway include those for the circus animals and zoo (exhibit) animals and for commercial slaughter. Drafting will begin on the codes for deer, cats, dairy cattle, transport of animals by sea, and painful husbandry procedures.

Professor Mellor said the committee has considered welfare issues associated with practices such as deer velveting, dubbing which is the removal of part of the comb of male poultry, electroimmobilisation, electronic dog collars, live animal exports, and vertebrate pest control.

The NAWAC Annual Report also provides details on research projects into animal welfare funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF). The following is a selection of research initiated during 2003/2004: transport and heat stress, the economic cost of improving animal welfare on farms, wintering systems for deer, shelter for lambing, key poultry welfare indicators, and prolapses in pigs.

NAWAC is an independent advisory committee to the Minister of Agriculture. The committee is established under section 56 of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 to provide advice the Minister on matters relating to the welfare of animals in New Zealand and to develop codes of welfare.

A copy of the annual report is available at: http://www.maf.govt.nz/biosecurity/animal-welfare/nawac/annual-report/nawac-ar-03.pdf

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