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  • Writer's pictureVAWA

Submissions & Advocacy

Updated: Jan 22

At this site, you can see submissions and advocacy work that VAWA has undertaken as we seek to create better lives for animals.


To achieve this, we use our knowledge and expertise in veterinary and animal welfare science and our five tools - education, advocacy, submissions, consultation and collaboration.


We aim to influence decision-makers and help make progress for animals and their welfare. We work for all of Aotearoa's animals from wildlife to farmed animals, from those that are our companions to those in entertainment and those that are unwanted introduced mammalian species.


UPDATE: January 2024 - this consent has been Gazetted.


VAWA submitted on and opposed an application that sought to create intensive fish farms in the Cook Strait. We posited that in approving the application for the proposed aquaculture system, animal welfare, the long-term risks to New Zealand’s reputation and social licence to operate must be considered.


A stated aim of the 53rd New Zealand Government’s Aquaculture Strategy was to grow the aquaculture industry revenue to $3 billion annually by 2035. Briefings provided to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries did not discuss animal welfare and neither does the Strategy. Enabling the development of high intensity, low-welfare (including during slaughter) fish farming systems is not a sustainable, long term.


VAWA contends that consideration of animal welfare must be included in any fish farming consent process because:

1.              the Animal Welfare Act 1999 (‘the Act’) requires us to farm animals in a certain way (i.e., so that their welfare is adequately protected (or at least the worst of their suffering is mitigated); and,

2.              the Resource Management Act 1991 (‘the RMA’) also requires the effects on the environment (which includes animals) to be considered and managed.


VAWA supports high-welfare fish farming such as the systems being developed by Plant and Food Research.[1]



UPDATE: June 2023 - this consent has been withdrawn by the applicant.


VAWA submitted on and opposed an application that is seeking to create four composting barn/feedlots housing up to 2200 cattle at Kaituna Valley on Banks Peninsula.


"1. VAWA opposes this development

2. Like National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, we do “not consider permanent management of dairy cattle in {off-paddock systems} consistent with the {Animal Welfare} Act.” That is, animal sentience is not adequately supported."


VAWA voiced concerns about the lack of attention to local food security and the total focus on growing exports, despite an increasingly unstable geopolitical environment that affects New Zealanders' ability to feed themselves.


"Furthermore, we consider that the Public Sector Act, Schedule 6, section 8(2)(a); requires MPI to address things that affect NZ and NZ society, and we consider this in the first instance ought to address our local supply chains and food security.

Currently, despite being a massive exporter of dairy, meat and some fibre, we have citizens that can’t afford milk nor cheese. This ought to be THE primary concern for the Ministry and the Government."


Following on from the extensive work done by VAWA for the NZVA's Companion Animal Veterinarians, we were delighted to see consultation on a regulation for non-veterinarians to be able to legally perform some dental procedures.


"VAWA fully supports, in its entirety, the proposed subgingival dental procedure regulation.


For rationale on why this is a critical criteria and in addition, why this regulation is urgently needed, we refer you to the NZVA’s presentation and submission to the Regulations’ Review Select Committee (RRSC)."


We also submitted on tethering of dogs and made sure our submission supports the SPCA's advocacy and their inspectors' needs.


Not only did we submit on this important issue, we shared our submission with others so they could add their support, either through their own submission or writing a supporting letter for VAWA's submission.


"Every year, hundreds of seabirds including albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels are caught on hooks by New Zealand fishing vessels.

"Given there are known (mens rea) and the predictable outcomes, these deaths cannot be described as being inadvertent or accidental. This recklessness kills birds, and their blood is on the hands of those that choose to pursue, and via regulation (or lack of) allow, unmitigated, this reckless practice."


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