Animal welfare issues dominate New Zealand bill

16-09-2010 | | |

Political parties and animal activists in New Zealand are at odds with one another over an upcoming bill aimed at ruling out “cruel practices”.

Labour, the Green Party and United Future are in support of the Animal Welfare (Treatment of Animals) Amendment Bill that could lead to a phase-out of production practices such as battery hen cages and sow crates. SAFE says Act and the National Party remain unwilling to support this Bill. 

“The Animal Welfare (Treatment of Animals) Amendment Bill, drafted by Green MP Sue Kedgley, will prohibit cruel factory farming practices that do not meet the obligations of the Animal Welfare Act. The Bill seeks to phase-out any cruel practices within five years,” says SAFE campaign director Hans Kriek.

“Opinion polls show that eight out of ten New Zealanders are opposed to sow crates and battery hen cages,” added Kriek.

New Zealand Agriculture Minister David Carter said the Government would not be supporting the bill, as it would mean challenges for New Zealand farmers. “The way the bill has been written is problematic and would probably stop the transportation of any group of animals from a farm to a meat processing company, for example,” he said.

“You’ve got to decide whether you want a pork industry and a chicken industry in New Zealand. If we make it so difficult for farmers to farm chickens and pork, then New Zealand will ultimately rely entirely on imported pork. And we will have no control on the way that pork is farmed in other countries. It’s a matter of being very balanced.” 

The Bill will have its first reading on 22 September.