MPI enforcement under Animal Welfare Amendment Act

This is information provided by MPI about the actions it has taken since the Animal Welfare Amendment Act was passed. The information was provided under the Official Information Act to someone who requested it. We thought this information might be of interest to others.







7 APR 2016






Ministry for Primary Industries

Manato Ahu Matua



I refer to your official information request transferred to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on 8 March 2016 relating to changes following the Animal Welfare Amendment Act (No.2) 2015 . Your questions are quoted and answered below.


The following information is released to you under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA):


  1. 1.        What general progress has been made towards achieving each of the above broad outcomes  in the first nine months of the Act being in   force?


In the 2015/16 Budget, Government provided $10 million over four years to support the implementation of the Animal Welfare Amendment Act.


Changes that came into force immediately after the commencement of the Amendment Act include:

  • the ban on the use of animals to test cosmetic products or ingredients to be used exclusively in cosmetics ;
    • explicit obligations on Animal Ethics Committees to consider the suitability of using alternatives to animal testing;
    • the power for an Animal Welfare Inspector to uplift an animal at risk of imminent harm; and
  • the appointment of a further six specialist animal welfare inspectors.


In the first nine months of the Act being in force MPI has recruited an additional six specialist Animal Welfare Inspectors, produced Animal Welfare Inspector training programmes for powers that came into effect immediately, commenced development of a package of animal welfare regulations, and worked with central and local agencies to prepare for the management of animals in a civil defence emergency .









G-rowing and Protecting New Zealand

Policy and Trade Biosecurity and Animal Welfare Policy Pastoral House, 25 The Terrace

PO Box 2526, Wellington 6140 , New Zealand Telephone: 0800 00 83 33, Facsimile:+64-4-894 0300






  1. 2.         What regulations have been and/or are currently being developed to enforce the Act and supplement  codes of welfare?  What are the time frames for public   consultation?


Following the amendments to the Animal Welfare Act 1999 (the Act), regulatory proposals are currently under development  relating to live animal exports, care of and conduct  towards  animals, and surgical and painful procedures. These will enhance the   transparency,  enforceability,  and clarity  of the Act.


MPI anticipates commencing a public consultation process for the regulatory proposals in April 2016. We have added your details to the contact list for alerts on public consultation updates for  animal welfare  issues to keep you notified of upcoming  consultation  dates.


3a.    How have compliance  and enforcement  capability been improved  to date?  Has the range of enforcement tools been broadened? How is the penalty scheme targeted at low-to-medium  offending  working so far?


The enforcement capability with regard to animal welfare has increased. MPI now has 17 specialist Animal Welfare  Inspectors on the ground who  are experienced  and  highly trained, compared to 11 previously. An additional 25 existing MPI compliance officers have been trained in animal welfare compliance and cross-warranted to perform animal welfare duties.


New infringement offences, targeted at addressing low to medium level offending, are being considered  as part of the regulatory proposals  referred to  above.


3b.     How many of the new compliance    notices have been issued by animal welfare inspectors,  in what situations  and with what outcomes?


Compliance notices are intended to work in tandem with animal welfare regulations which have yet to come into force. Once the regulations are in place Animal Welfare  Inspectors will be able to exercise their new powers to issue compliance and infringement notices to ensure compliance with the Act or any regulations made under it. MPI will provide Animal Welfare  Inspectors with focused education and training to ensure that they are well  prepared to  appropriately  perform their  new duties.


3c.     Have any animals  'at clear risk of imminent harm' been uplifted by    animal welfare inspectors  and if so, in what  circumstances?


MPI enforces the Animal Welfare Act in partnership with the RNZSPCA. MPI Animal Welfare Inspectors have not been required to uplift any animals 'at clear risk of imminent harm'. This  response does not include the activities of the   RNZSPCA.


  1. 4.         Have any acts of willful or reckless ill-treatment of wild animals been dealt with under this legislation yet,  and if so, in what  contexts?


MPI has not dealt with any acts of wilful or reckless ill treatment of wild animals under the new provision (section 30A of the Act). This does not include the activities of the   RNZSPCA.


  1. 5.         How is the transparency of research involving animals being improved,  and what are the relevant  timeframes here?


Since the Amendment  Act, several changes have been made to  Part 6 of the Animal  Welfare Act which covers use of animals in research, testing, and teaching. Some of these changes are currently in effect, while others will come into effect over the next two years in order to allow Animal Ethics Committees (AECs) to update their processes, and to synchronise  with  annual data collection cycles.


There was an immediate ban on the use of animals to test finished cosmetic products or ingredients intended exclusively for use in cosmetics.


Since November 2015, AECs have been required to consider whether a project proposal has adequately  assessed the suitability  of using non-sentient  or non-living  alternatives.


From January  2018, the meaning of 'manipulation'  under the Act will  be expanded to  include animals killed for the purpose of undertaking research on their body parts or tissue and the act of breeding an animal for the purpose of using the offspring for research. After these new meanings come into effect, any person intending to carry out these new manipulations  must apply to their AEC  for project  approval.


The Animal Welfare (Records and Statistics) Regulations 1999 will be reviewed  in light of the above amendments. This review will take place at the end of 2016, once work on the regulations relating to live animal exports, care of and conduct towards  animals, and  surgical  and painful procedures  has been completed.


  1. 6.        What information is available about actual and planned expenditure of the $1O million allocated  to support changes in the Animal  Welfare Amendment  Act  over the next four years?


So far in the 2015/16 financial year, MPI has:

  • recruited six  additional  specialist Animal Welfare  Inspectors;
  • employed  a  National  Manager for Animal Welfare Compliance;
    • worked closely with other agencies and industry to  prepare for animal management  in a civil defence emergency;  and
    • worked  to develop  a package of regulatory  proposals,  as mentioned above.


Over the remaining years funds will be allocated   to:

  • support the ongoing improvement of compliance and enforcement  capability  through the implementation  of animal welfare  regulations  and supporting  compliance  notices;
  • enhance education  and community  awareness  of animal welfare  matters; and
  • continue our work  in emergency  management  of animal welfare.


7.         What initiatives are underway to improve management of the welfare of animals in a

civil defence  emergency?


The  revised  National  Civil  Defence  Emergency  Plan 2015 clarified  roles  and responsibilities of the Plan's lead and support agencies . MPI now has explicit  responsibility  for co-ordinating and preparing for the animal welfare aspects of all emergencies, such as animal  rescue, animal shelter , food, water , husbandry, and veterinary  care for  all animals.


MPI works closely with, and is supported in, delivering these services through groups such as the Rural Support Trust, Local Authorities , Federated Farmers, New Zealand Veterinary Association , RNZSPCA, and the New Zealand Companion Animal Council.


MPI is collaborating with the Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management  (MCDEM) to finalize an ' MP/ Animal Welfare Emergency Managemenf technical reference document.  This will  be published on  MPl's website.


I trust this information satisfies your request.




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