Code of welfare for rodeo animals out for consultation
12 October 2012
New Zealanders are being invited to have their say on the updated animal welfare standards for rodeos.
The proposed Animal Welfare (Rodeos) Code of Welfare describes the minimum standards and best practice guidelines for all rodeo animals, including those used in training and rodeo schools. This code will replace the exisiting code set down in 2003.
Public consultation begins today and will run until Monday 26 November 2012.
John Hellström, chair of the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), which reviewed the 2003 code, says maintaining the welfare of rodeo animals depends on the experience and training of those handling and caring for the animals. NAWAC is an expert committee formed to give advice about animal welfare to the Minister for Primary Industries.
“The proposals in this code of welfare are designed to encourage all those responsible for the care of rodeo animals to adopt the highest standards of husbandry, care and handling, and to equal or exceed the minimum standards,” Dr Hellström says.
“Input from the general public is also an important part of the review of this code of welfare. NAWAC welcomes submissions from anyone interested in the welfare of rodeo animals or involved in their management.”
The proposed minimum standards relate to stockmanship; food and water; selecting and handling animals; the arena; gear; saddle and bareback bronc riding; bull and steer riding; rope and tie; team roping; steer wrestling; calf and sheep riding; barrel racing; health, injury and disease; and emergency humane destruction.
Codes of welfare expand on the requirements in the Animal Welfare Act 1999 with minimum standards and best practices designed to provide for animals’ overall physical, health and behavioural needs.
You can read the proposed code on the web, here http://www.mpi.govt.nz/biosecurity-animal-welfare/animal-welfare
Anyone wanting to make a submission on the draft code should do so in writing to email@example.com
Media contact: Sid Pickering, T: 04 894 2465, M: 029 894 2465, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What is a code of welfare?
Codes of welfare play an important role in improving animal welfare standards in New Zealand. They outline minimum standards of animal care and establish best practices to provide guidance for those who own or look after animals.
What is the process for developing codes of welfare?
Codes of welfare are developed by an independent committee which provides advice to the Minister for Primary Industries about animal welfare. The group, called the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), has a wide range of expertise across animal welfare, science and ethics.
When developing codes of welfare NAWAC takes into account public submissions, and comments from those affected by the code, as well as the latest scientific knowledge, available technology and good practice.
Under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, NAWAC has to be satisfied that the proposed minimum standards are the minimum necessary to ensure that the purposes of the Act will be met and that the recommendations for best practice are appropriate.
Once NAWAC is satisfied with the code it recommends it to the Minister. The Minister then holds the responsibility to decide if it will come into force.
Why now for a rodeo code?
The code is being reviewed according to the requirement in section 78 (1) of the Animal Welfare Act that codes must be reviewed at intervals of not more than 10 years. The last code of welfare for rodeo animals came into effect in 2003.
How does this code differ from the previous rodeo code?
Changes that NAWAC is proposing in this reviewed draft of the code include an increase in the weight of stock used in some events, preventing the use of fully locked rowels on spurs in any event and shortening the length of the timed events to a maximum of 30 seconds. NAWAC is also seeking comment in relation to the calf and sheep riding events and the rope and tie event.
Does the code have a legal standing?
The minimum standards in codes have legal effect in two possible ways:
- Evidence of a failure to meet a relevant minimum standard may be used to support a prosecution for an offence under the Animal Welfare Act
- A person who is charged with an offence against the Act can defend him/herself by showing that he/she has equalled or exceeded minimum standards.
Government is conducting a review of the Animal Welfare Act, which includes the role of codes of welfare. You can find out more on the web, here: www.biosecurity.govt.nz/biosec/consult/proposals-for-aw-strategy-and-aw-act
How does this code relate to other codes?
This code of welfare applies to all animals used in rodeos, including animals used in training and rodeo schools. Further details on the care of sheep and cattle can also be found in the relevant species-specific codes of welfare. Details on the transport of livestock can be found in the Animal Welfare (Transport of within New Zealand) Code of Welfare.
More information about codes of welfare, and a list of current codes is on the web, here: www.biosecurity.govt.nz/regs/animal-welfare/stds/codes