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Animal Welfare Amendment Bill Fails Animals

29 August 2013

Animal Welfare Amendment Bill Fails Animals

The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, which had its first reading under urgency today, indicates that the Government is willing to condone the ongoing cruel treatment of animals, says animal advocacy group SAFE.

SAFE says the Bill, the final stage in changes to the Animal Welfare Act 1999, fails to introduce much needed improvements, and some changes even threaten to legalise the suffering of millions of animals.

“New Zealanders do not want to see animals abused, but this Bill allows cruel practices that breach animal welfare standards to be carried out indefinitely,” says SAFE executive director Hans Kriek. “By deliberately inserting loopholes that will allow the ongoing incarceration of millions of factory farmed animals, the Government undermines the otherwise good intentions of the Act.”

Practices that do not allow animals to express their normal behaviour, and are in breach of the Animal Welfare Act (such as battery cages for laying hens and farrowing crates for pigs) are set to continue if the Bill is left unchanged. “SAFE is concerned that the process will be too rushed to properly debate the key failings of the Bill and that important animal welfare issues will be ignored,” says Mr Kriek.

SAFE wants to see a phase out of any practice that does not meet the obligations of the Act, an immediate ban of exotic animals in circuses, dolphins in captivity, cosmetic and party pill testing on animals and live export of animals for slaughter.

“Reviews of animal welfare legislation do not happen very often and we must use this unique opportunity to make sure that the plight of animals is heard loud and clear,” says Mr Kriek.

SAFE urges the public to make submissions to the Primary Production Committee to ensure that any changes to the Act will bring meaningful improvements to the lives of animals in New Zealand.

ends

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