Animal Welfare

What's new

Changes to the Code of Welfare: Dairy Cattle


MPI Key Messages on 1080 and other Vertebrate Toxic Agents

May 2014

Pest control drops

  • In many parts of New Zealand, the drive to reduce possum numbers is underway, using poisons such as 1080.
  • Possum control is a vital part of tuberculosis control. The amount of TB in cattle and deer will be reduced as a result, and native forest areas will benefit too.
  • There are strict measures in place for the use of 1080. All areas where pesticides have been laid are clearly identified with warning signs. Take note of signs when entering an area or check the DOC and your regional Council website at the links below.
  • Dog owners should keep dogs well away from 1080-treated areas. If in an area where 1080 has been dropped keep dogs on a lead and preferably muzzled to protect them from inadvertently ingesting 1080.
  • Most Regional Councils will provide information leaflets on request about poisoning operations, and information about specific operations can be obtained from the approved operator involved. Muzzles can be purchased at various outlets including veterinary clinics, and the open wire types which allow dogs to pant are best.
  • If it is suspected that a dog has eaten poison or a poisoned carcase, it is important not to wait to see if signs develop, but to seek immediate veterinary attention.
  • Operators must be licensed to use 1080 and make every effort to keep accidental deaths to a minimum. This includes publishing the intention to lay poison and posting notices around the area to be poisoned giving the dates of the operation and the poison used.
  • MPI supports the continued use of 1080 and other pest control tools, where they are needed to manage bovine tuberculosis and threats to agriculture, horticulture and biodiversity
  • However, MPI acknowledges public concern about the ethical principles and animal welfare impacts of pest control, and encourages efforts to use appropriate control tools in ways that minimise unwanted impacts on animal welfare

Core messages

  • The Environmental Protection Authority five-year review of the aerial use of 1080 (2008 – 20012) confirms the findings of the 2007 Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) reassessment of the use of 1080 in New Zealand - that the benefits of 1080 use outweigh the risks.
  • The 2007 reassessment approved continued aerial and ground use and imposed a tighter management regime on the use of 1080.
  • The current five-year review shows that the tighter regime is being followed and that there have been improvements in the use of aerial 1080. It also highlights the pest control industries commitment to continuous improvement in the way that it uses pest control tools, including 1080.
  • MPI supports the continued use of 1080 and other pest control tools, where they are needed to manage bovine tuberculosis and threats to agriculture, horticulture and biodiversity
  • Without tools like 1080, New Zealand would currently lose the battle to protect our native fauna, including kiwi, from the impacts of possums, stoats and rats, and New Zealand’s dairy and meat export trade from the impacts of bovine Tb and rabbits.
  • Government supports and funds the development of practical and humane pest control tools, with a view to increasing the use of alternatives over time. For example, Government has made a $4 million commitment for trialling self-setting traps on a large scale

Other messages / background information

  • 1080 is the most effective method for some pest control operations. For instance, it is the main method of initial control for high rabbit populations on rabbit prone land. Without it, farming in highly rabbit prone areas of the South Island would be at risk
  • The sale (and use) of poisons to kill pests in New Zealand is regulated by the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 and the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997. Strict controls are placed on their use to manage risks to users, animal welfare, the public and the environment
  • The Environmental Protection Authority and the Ministry of Health also have strict monitoring requirements for certain chemicals to protect users, the public and the environment
  • A copy of the 2007 ERMA reassessment of 1080 and its findings is available at (offsite link to
  • In 2011the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released a report ‘Evaluating the use of 1080: Predators, poisons and silent forests’ on the use of 1080 for killing possums, rats and stoats to protect native forests and wildlife
  • Her overall conclusion based on careful analysis of the evidence was that ‘not only should the use of 1080 continue (including in aerial operations) to protect our forests, but that we should use more of it’.
  • A copy of the PCE report is available at (offsite link to
  • MPI is charged with leadership of the biosecurity system for New Zealand, which includes pest management, and is working with other agencies in addressing the PCE’s recommendations.
  • MPI notes that to improve transparency Tb Free New Zealand is now subject to the Official Information Act 1982 following amendments made in the Biosecurity Law Reform Act 2012.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) leads and facilitates the management of animal welfare policy and practice in New Zealand. It promotes policies for the humane treatment of animals, and is a key participant in the ongoing animal welfare debate.

New Zealand Animal Welfare Strategy

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy released the New Zealand Animal Welfare Strategy on Thursday 2 May 2013.

To report an animal welfare issue or complaint please call 0800 008 333

Complaints made about non- compliance with the Animal Welfare Act 1999 including cases of animal ill-treatment or cruelty are investigated by MPI and the SPCA. While the vast majority of complaints are dealt with through consultation and education, successful prosecutions against persistent or blatant offenders are routinely undertaken.

The Animal Welfare Act provides for codes of animal welfare to be created and reviewed at least every 10 years. You can make submissions on any codes open for consultation.

Animals being exported from New Zealand require an animal welfare export certificate, as set out in the Animal Welfare Act 1999. Information about AWECs can be found under Animal Exports.

Animal Welfare Amendment Bill introduced

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy introduced the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill on 8 May 2013.

To find out more about the group's activities click below:

Page last updated: 8 August 2014