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Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is at the heart of any good farming business. Our responsibility for the wellbeing of stock starts at birth and continues, not only while they are in our care, but also beyond the farm gate.

As farmers we must make sure that all animals are treated with care and respect, in a healthy and safe environment.

Insisting on the highest standards of animal husbandry and welfare on our farms is good for

  • our animals,
  • us, our farms and farm teams,
  • our industry and for New Zealand

At DairyNZ we take animal welfare seriously and work with farmers and industry partners to raise awareness of our duty of care. We work to understand consumer and market expectations in animal welfare, provide training to build skills and develop resources to support the best standards of care.

The Animal Protection Index, which ranks 50 countries across the world on their animal welfare standards, places New Zealand (along with the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland) in first place.

Animal Welfare Act

The Animal Welfare Act 1999 (amended in 2015) establishes welfare obligations on every person who owns or is in charge of animals.

Welfare Codes

There are three codes of welfare that outline the industry agreed standards of animal care and good stockmanship practices.

They are the Dairy Cattle, the Painful Husbandry Procedures and the Transport of Livestock within New Zealand Codes of Welfare.

Who can I contact for more information?

Veterinary advice: Your local vet
Codes of Welfare:  MPI website
Specific issues: NAWAC
Report a welfare problem:

  • Ministry of Primary Industries 0800 00 83 33 
  • SPCA 0800 682 467   (Extn 1)

Legal advice: Your solicitor/legal professional

Calves in field

The welfare of bobby calves - Good practice guidelines

These guidelines are intended to help you meet the welfare needs of animals in your care and to comply with the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and the industry agreed standards detailed in the animal welfare codes.

Download here.

Bobby calf welfare issue Q&A

Here are some answers about the bobby calf welfare issue being discussed in New Zealand.

Bobby calves

As farmers we must make sure that all calves regardless of their use, are treated with care and respect, in a healthy and safe environment.

Cows grazing

Humane Slaughter

Humane slaughter - are you up to speed with changes in the Code of Welfare?
Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare 2014

Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare 2014

The purpose of this code is to provide information to the owners and persons in charge of dairy cattle about the standards they must achieve in order to meet their obligations under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

Painful Procedures Info Pack

Painful Procedures Info Pack

This pack includes animal welfare information sheets and the painful procedures poster.


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