Party Policies

People power has put animal welfare on the political agenda and people power will keep it there!

Political parties have different policies in all sorts of areas, and animal issues are no exception. Some parties don’t even have an animal welfare policy at all. This makes it hard to know what party will do the most to improve the lives of animals in New Zealand.

To make it as easy as possible for you to know, we asked all the political parties what their stand was on a variety of animal issues. We’ve summarised the responses here and given them a score out of a possible of 26.

Animal welfare is one of many important issues to consider this election,
for information on other issues check out the people’s agenda website.

Has an animal welfare policy 2 1 0 2 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 0 1
Ban farrowing crates 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 -1
Ban colony cages 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 -1
Ban all factory farming 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 0 -1 0 0 -1
End Live export 1 1 0 2 2 2 0 0 0 -1 0 0 -1
Independent animal welfare body 2 2 2 2 1 0 0 0 2 -1 0 0 -1
Ban rodeo 2 1 2 0 -1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 -1
Compulsory alternatives in testing 2 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 -1
Ban sale of animal tested cosmetics 2 1 2 0 2 2 0 0 0 -1 0 0 -1
Consider end of jumps racing 1 -1 0 0 -1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -1
Ban greyhound racing 1 1 0 0 -1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 -1
Address aquaculture animal welfare 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 -1
Address welfare of dairy cattle 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 -1 0 0 -1
Total 23 14 14 12 10 9 8 5 3 1 0 0 -11

Policy Questions

All political parties registered before 31 July 2017 were contacted with the questions and explanations below. They were given a SAFE contact to answer any queries they might have.

As the responses were received the results were collated and scored. The policies were given one of four possible scores that together give a possible total of 26. The parties were given positive scores for having animal-friendly policies, no score for not having a policy or position on an issue, and a negative score for being against an animal-friendly initiative. For example:

2 Full support for the policy initiative e.g. “Yes, we would ban rodeos.”

1 Party policy is in partial support of the initiative e.g. “We would ban calf roping but not all rodeo events.”

0 No policy position on the issue e.g. “We have no view on rodeos.”

-1 The party policy is to oppose the initiative e.g. “We support rodeo and will not ban them.”

1. Does your party have an existing animal welfare policy? If so, please provide a copy or a link.

A “full support” score was given if the party had an in-depth publically published policy that addressed multiple animal issues; “partial support” was given is the party was currently developing such a policy; and a zero score was given if they had no published policy addressing animal welfare.

2. Would you support a ban on a) the use of farrowing crates for pigs; b) colony cages for layer hens; c) all factory farming
in New Zealand?

“Factory Farming” is used to describe the rearing of livestock in intensive systems. Chickens, pigs or cattle are confined indoors in unnatural conditions. There are high levels of public concern about the impact of factory farming methods on animal welfare, and calls for them to end.

3. Would you support expanding the restriction of the live export of livestock such as sheep and cows for slaughter, to include
breeding purposes?

The live export of livestock has a range of welfare concerns. The transport, in particular by sea, and the treatment in the destinations countries are the two major ones. Live export for slaughter is banned in NZ, but it is allowed when the animals are to be used for breeding.

4. Would you support an independent body outside of the Ministry of Primary Industries managing animal welfare?

The Ministry for Primary Industries is tasked with maximising exports of our primary industries and improving sector productivity. It is also the government Ministry responsible for animal welfare, despite possible conflicts this has with those two primary roles.

5. Would you support a ban of rodeos, or any rodeo events e.g. calf roping, steer wrestling etc?

Rodeos in New Zealand are under increasing scrutiny. The majority of the public believe that the cost of the animal suffering caused does not out-weigh the benefit – entertainment for a small group of people. Media coverage showing video footage from rodeo events held during this season has led to significant fresh outcry to end them for good.

6. Would you support making it compulsory to use non-animal alternatives to animal tests where they exist & are validated, as is the requirement in the European Union?

For many animal tests there are many validated non-animal tests that give the same, or equivalent, data. Currently the Animal Welfare Act only requires an ethics committee to consider if, and to what extent, non-animal alternatives have been considered when approving an animal test. Internationally “mandatory alternatives” clauses are being introduced so that animal tests cannot be carried out if there is a non-animal alternative.

7. Would you support a ban on the importation and sale of animal tested cosmetics?

New Zealand has banned the animal testing of cosmetics but, unlike the EU, the UK and more, still allows the import and sale of animal tested cosmetics. Australia and Canada are currently considering sale and import bans.

8. Will you consider an end to jumps racing in New Zealand?

Every year horses die taking part in jumps racing in New Zealand. The long distances and being forced to jump high fences at speed mean that there is an increased risk of injuries leading to euthanasia. The scientific consensus is that horses did not evolve to be natural jumpers, a fact that contributes to the likelihood of injury in jumps racing.

9. Would you support a ban on greyhound racing?

Information from the racing industry indicates over 1000 greyhounds per year “disappear” from the industry. Only a small number of the approximately 1500 greyhounds that enter the industry each year live out their natural lifespan. Injuries and deaths occur on track, and many are killed as they are not fast enough. There are growing calls in New Zealand, and overseas, that greyhound racing end due to the high cost of the suffering to dogs for the benefit of a gambling industry.

10. Will you consider regulations to address the animal health and welfare concerns with aquaculture?

Fish farming, in particular salmon farming, has significant welfare concerns due to excessive handling, unnaturally high incidence of sea lice, and stocking densities. Currently there is no animal welfare code for fish farming, and there are no regulatory limits on stocking densities for either welfare or environmental reasons.

11. Would you look at ways to address the considerable welfare compromises the selective breeding of dairy cows for high production has led to?

Generations of selective breeding have led to cows that produce about 40% more milk than 40 years ago. This produces significant stress on their bodies leading to many health and welfare issues. Lameness, inflammation, mastitis, and recumbent (downer) cows, caused predominantly by milk fever, are all common on today’s dairy farms.