Animal Welfare Policy

Animals in our care must be treated humanely.

Farm animals have a right to lives free from cruelty where they can express a range of natural behaviours.

Clear labelling means consumers can make informed decisions when purchasing animal related products.

Battery hen cages and other cruel farming practices must be phased out.

Key Principles

  • Humans must ensure that all animals in their care are free from disease, discomfort and distress and can express a range of natural behaviours
  • The most humane methods of controlling exotic pests should be used, so long as they are effective
  • Consumers should be able to make informed purchasing decisions based on a desire to avoid contributing to animal suffering
  • Non-violence and empathy towards all animals should be promoted
  • Experiments on animals should only be used where they are overwhelmingly beneficial and do not cause animal suffering
  • Animals must not experience suffering for economic or entertainment reasons

Specific Policy Points

Oversight and Advocacy for animal welfare

  • Establish a Minister for Animal Welfare to advocate for the interests of the welfare of animals, without having the current conflict with primary industries
  • Establish an Office for Animal Welfare to work with the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) to develop, implement, and monitor animal welfare codes.
  • Establish a Commissioner of Animal Welfare, independent of political parties and Ministries, which will report to parliament.

Animals in Agriculture

  • Phase out methods that cause suffering to agricultural animals, including reducing confinement of sows in farrowing crates, prohibiting new factory farming of animals, and phasing out painful techniques such as debeaking of hens.
  • Ensure that all agricultural animals are provided with shade, shelter and comfortable resting areas.
  • Require animals to be slaughtered as near as possible to the point of production and require specific transport conditions to minimise stress for animals.

Animals in Entertainment

  • Support a ban on the use of animals in rodeo events, as these events rely on inflicting pain and distress to animals to get them to perform.
  • Require all racing codes that use animals to make publically available the numbers of animals bred, raced, injured, euthanised, and re-homed, or retired from racing through birth to death reporting.

Companion Animals

  • Incentivise responsible pet ownership.
  • Increase funding to the RNZSPCA so that it is adequately resourced to undertake its animal welfare enforcement work.
  • Support measures such as microchipping and desexing of companion animals, particularly for cats and dogs.

Supporting understanding of animal welfare issues

  • Promotion of respect and empathy towards animals through education programs.
  • Require all producers to label their animal products according to strict criteria concerning the methods by which the animals were raised.
  • Require all products to carry labels indicating whether they contain animal products, have been tested on animals or contain ingredients which have been tested on animals.

Animal Experimentation

  • Make a legal presumption that non-animal methods of testing will be used.
  • Ensure that animal ethics committees have strong guidelines, are committed to minimising animal use and have a thorough knowledge of non-animal methods of research.
  • Require animal ethics committees to make records of all their deliberations available to the public.
  • Support the development of non-animal methods for testing products, and develop a public database of alternatives to animal testing.
Note: For the purposes of this policy, animals are defined as being all vertebrates, plus octopus, squid, crayfish, lobsters and crabs (consistent with the Animal Welfare Act 1999).

Read our full policy here