The five freedoms
The Animal Welfare Act is based on the Five Freedoms.
In theory, any person in charge of an animal must ensure that the animal is provided with:
- proper and sufficient food & proper and sufficient water
- adequate shelter
- the opportunity to display normal patterns of behaviour
- physical handling in a manner which minimises the likelihood of unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress
- protection from, and rapid diagnosis of, any significant injury or disease
If these requirements were actually met, New Zealand would be a significantly better place for animals. Farrowing crates would be abolished, because they do not allow sows the opportunity to turn around (a basic normal behaviour). Rodeos would be banned, because they are an unreasonable and unnecessary source of pain and distress.
The sad reality is that these principles are not upheld in the law. Through flexible definitions and loopholes, cruel practices like farrowing crates and rodeos are allowed to continue.