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  • Writer's pictureVAWA

Helping our dairy cows

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

VAWA submitted an extensive feedback document to NAWAC/MPI on the Code of Welfare | Dairy Cattle.

We made the following introductory comments:

"... heartened to see the draft Code of Welfare for Dairy Cattle make changes that once implemented and on the assumption of farmer compliance, will significantly improve the welfare of dairy cattle. These improvements are in line with good practice and scientific knowledge, including the more sophisticated understanding of animals and their physical and emotional welfare.

While practicality, including economics may be considered by NAWAC in preparing Ministerial advice, VAWA refers NAWAC to the Hansard from 27th August 2013 during the first reading of the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill. In it, the then Minister of Agriculture, the Hon. Nathan Guy (a National party MP), stated:

“The bill also makes it explicit that the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee may consider the practicality and economic impact when developing minimum standards and codes of welfare. These factors will not be able to override animal welfare considerations, but making them explicit in the Act will ensure that minimum standards are realistic and achievable.”

While being mindful of pervasive regulatory capture, and the magnitude of this dynamic’s influence in trading off animal welfare for economics, there are clear signals that prioritising animal welfare in agriculture is increasingly important, and indeed, necessary."

We hope that NAWAC and the Minister of Agriculture accept the feedback of experts like VAWA and take a strong stance to provide additional welfare protections for dairy cattle in Aotearoa.

We also had a chat with Agrivet about our views.

“As always, it comes down to farmers being able to implement recommendations, and making sure change is reasonably practical – animal welfare is about continuous progress and these proposals help us achieve that and retain our good reputation in

this space.”

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