VAWA submitted an extensive feedback document to NAWAC/MPI on the Code of Welfare | Deer.
We note that the Deer Industry New Zealand media comment on the draft Code was positive - great news!
“Deer Industry New Zealand chief executive Innes Moffat said a draft code was "a positive forward-looking document. Most of the proposed changes to minimum standards are based on good farming practice."
We strongly supported the inclusion of Minimum Standard 20 – Velvet Antlers and Pedicles. It is arguably the most significant of the painful husbandry practices, given benefit to the stags is not the primary purpose of undertaking the procedure, rather financial gain for producers.
We are concerned that postoperative pain relief is not included as a Minimum Standard:
"Until such stage as it is proven that such analgesia is unnecessary, a precautionary approach ought to be engaged with regards to provision of pain relief following amputation of an appendage."
We also made strong comments about the milking of deer, including the need for daily oxytocin injections, shade and heat stress, both on farm and during transport.
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 deer in Aotearoa.