Animal Welfare Act

“An unjust law is no law at all”

St. Augustine

The Animal Welfare Act is the law that is supposed to protect every animal in New Zealand. The law is based on five freedoms that would actually do a lot for animals – if the Act lived up to them.

Unfortunately, animal-using industries heavily influence the details of the law. As a result, the law does not live up to its lofty aspirations, and allows cruel factory farming practices to continue.

After intense campaigning, some progress has been made. The 2015 review of the Animal Welfare Act banned the use of animals for cosmetics testing within New Zealand (although still allows animal testing for imported products). It also recognised that the biggest loopholes needed to be fixed, and closed them. The review has been passed into law. Much work remains to ensure this results in real changes for animals.

The Five Freedoms

The Loopholes

In addition to the problems with the Animal Welfare Act, the Ministry for Primary Industries is responsible for ensuring the aims of the Act are upheld. Unfortunately, this same ministry is responsible for maximising the profits of farmers. With this conflict of interest, it is inevitable that the animals lose.

The Act is supported by weak codes and regulations, that are poorly enforced. SAFE is continuing to campaign to improve this.

  • Improvements are slowly being made in the law, but animals need you right now! Contact your local MP, and ask them what they are doing about animal issues.
  • Learn about the issues and take action! Discuss animal welfare law with your friends, and do your part to inform them about animals and the law.