New Zealand’s great animal welfare system enhances our reputation as world leaders – let’s keep it that way.
On October 1 2018, new animal welfare regulations come into effect. The regulations relating to transport do not impose new obligations on transporters or suppliers, as they are based on existing minimum standards in the codes of welfare.
While the majority of millions of livestock transported are in a fit condition, these regulations will make it easier for Animal Welfare Inspectors to address those that aren’t. New penalties such as fines will be issued for certain actions, while the worst offenders will continue to be prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
Transport is stressful for animals. The transport-related regulations help to ensure that livestock is transported only when they are fit to withstand the entire journey. Some of the transport regulations apply to transporters, some of them apply to suppliers, and some impose obligations on both transporters and suppliers.
Transporters need to take care during loading, transporting and unloading livestock, to prevent injuries including back-rub, or they can be fined $500.
Transporters need to be aware of the regulations that apply to people supplying livestock for transport, such as meat company buyers, farmers and livestock agents. These include restrictions on transporting livestock with:
- lameness –there are different signs of lameness for different animals. Sheep and goats are considered lame when they cannot bear weight on one or more limbs when moving or standing still, or have difficulty walking and holding their head below their backline almost continuously. Cattle, deer and pigs are considered lame when they cannot bear weight on one or more limbs when moving or standing still, or have a definite limp.
- eye cancer – that is more than 2 cm in diameter, it is not confined to the eye or eyelid, or if there is bleeding or discharging
- ingrown horns
- injured horns, antlers, or pedicles
- injured or diseased udders (mastitis) or udder lesions, and
- livestock in late pregnancy – and she then gives birth in the truck or within 24 hours of arrival at meat processors or sale yards