Animal Welfare Act

Animal Welfare Act

Freddy is flicking through the old family photo album, when Pebbles walks into the kitchen with some fresh strawberries.

“Hi Dad, thought I’d bring you the last of my strawberries from my garden, what’s that you’re looking at?” asks Pebbles.

“Hi Pebbles, thanks I’d be foolish to turn down your strawberries!  Remember these, Pebbles?  They’re photos of you as a wee nipper riding the sheep at the local rodeo,” explains Freddy.

“Ah yes, I remember.  That was a lot of fun, rodeo day, and the sheep were the highlight.  That was some time ago Dad,” says Pebbles.

“Yes, I’m not sure who came off better, you or the sheep,” ponders Freddy.

“Probably the sheep Dad, I was no match for them really.  But did you know that is all now a thing of the past?  There’s a new Animal Welfare Code, released by the Ministry of Primary Industries that beefs up the rules about the treatment of animals at rodeos, including the banning of the use of sheep,” explains Pebbles.

“Animal Welfare Code? Ministry of Primary Industries? Sounds like the fun police are at it again, Pebbles.  As you say it was a lot of fun, and not to mention a great local community fund raiser, and you probably walked away with more bruises than the sheep.  These are family events and children tend to become involved from an early age,” exclaims Freddy.

“The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (or NAWAC), which is the independent advisor to the Ministry of Primary Industries reviewed both sheep riding, and calf riding events.  While, NAWAC considered that calves of a certain size and weight could be ridden without being subjected to unreasonable pain or discomfort, they found there were inherent problems with sheep that put them at increased risk.

“Whatever side of the fence you sit on, Welfare Codes prescribe minimum standards for the care of animals.  There are Codes not just covering rodeo events, but also Codes that apply to the care of dairy cattle, and sheep and beef cattle.  It’s important to know about them.  Evidence of a failure to meet the minimum standards in a welfare code may be used to support a prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.  If found guilty, you could be fined up to $50,000 or imprisoned for up to 12 months.  For body corporates the maximum penalty is a fine up to $250,000,” explains Pebbles.

“Where can I find the Codes?” asks Freddy.

“The codes can be found at the Ministry of Primary Website  See here, I can show you now on your tablet,” says Pebbles.

“Thanks Pebbles.  Well I guess then there won’t be any photos of grandkids riding the sheep then,” says Freddy.

“No that’s right, and who said anything about grandkids anyway,” Pebbles says with a smile.


The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document. 

If you would like more information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser.

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Philip McCarthy