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SAFE Pleased To See The Role Of Minister Responsible For Animal Welfare Returned

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today announced her Ministerial list, which saw Meka Whaitiri reinstated as Associate Minister of Agriculture with responsibility for Animal Welfare.

She will be a Minister outside of cabinet.

SAFE CEO Debra Ashton said she’s pleased that the Labour Government are putting a focus back on animal welfare.

"This Ministerial role with a focus on animal welfare has been vacant for nearly two years," said Ashton.

"The reinstatement of Meka Whaitiri in this role is welcome news, because there’s much work to be done."

Ashton said priorities for the incoming Labour Government is to ban live export and end the caging of hens.

The freshly minted Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson also picked up Minister for Racing as part of the Ministerial announcement. Ashton said this is a role that should be disestablished.

"Racing is a dying industry with a poor track record on animal welfare. It shouldn’t deserve its own portfolio."

"We’d like to see racing responsibilities wrapped into the Sport and Recreation portfolio, and for the new cabinet to put a focus on improving our country’s appalling record on animal welfare."


For more information contact:

Will Appelbe | Media Manager, SAFE NZ

Email: will@safe.org.nz, Tel: +64 (0)3 379 9711, Mobile: +64 (0)21 242 2927

SAFE Media Centre

SAFE is New Zealand’s leading animal rights organisation.

We're creating a future that ensures the rights of animals are respected. Our core work empowers society to make kinder choices for ourselves, animals and our planet.

Notes for editors:

Live Export

- Images of cows in holding pens on the Gulf Livestock 1 on a voyage in 2019.

- Footage of a live export ship loading cows at PrimePort Timaru.

- New analysis from The Guardian has found that live export ships are twice as likely to be lost at sea as cargo vessels.

- The live export of cattle, sheep, goats and deer for slaughter was banned in 2003. However, it is still legal to export these animals for breeding purposes.

- Animals exported for breeding purposes and their young will still eventually be slaughtered, potentially by means too cruel to be legal in New Zealand.

- The Government has been reviewing the live-export trade since June 2019. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has expressed his preference for a conditional ban on cattle exports.

Cage eggs

- On 1 January 2023 battery cages will be illegal in New Zealand and will be replaced by colony cages.

- A 2020 Colmar Brunton poll found 76% of New Zealanders were opposed to colony cages.

- In 2014 and 2017 the Labour Party committed to banning the caging of layer hens. The Green Party’s current policy is to phase out intensive farming, which includes the caging of hens.

- Colony cages only give a hen a living space of about the size of an A4 piece of paper. Up to 80 hens may live in each colony cage. The hens cannot move around freely, stretch their wings or perform innate and natural behaviours such as dustbathing, foraging or nesting.

- Hens are intelligent, curious and socially complex animals with a strong need to carry out their natural behaviour. When free to roam outdoors, a hen will spend her days scratching at the ground, searching for food, dust bathing, stretching her wings and basking in the sun.

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