Massey University Professor of Veterinary Ethology Kevin Stafford has written a book, Animal Welfare in New Zealand, that charts the history of animal welfare in the country.
It gives a broad introduction to the subject and outlines the major research contribution New Zealand has made to animal welfare.
Stafford says it will be a useful resource for many people including students, academics and activists interested in animal welfare, and all those involved in livestock farming, horse racing, and other forms of animal use.
“New Zealand has a long history of doing research in animal welfare,” Stafford says. “We started in the 1970s, doing research on stunning animals before slaughter, but we have gone on to do a lot of work in the last 40 years.
“New Zealand is good at animal welfare; we have been in the game a long time and we do a lot of good research. We are world leaders in several areas, including animal welfare during pest control, pain assessment and alleviation in animals, and sheep and cattle nutrition and health.”
The book covers the animal welfare legislation in New Zealand, and local animal welfare and rights organisations. It has chapters on the welfare of each species – dairy cattle, sheep, beef cattle, deer, pigs, poultry, horses, and dogs in New Zealand, plus chapters on transport and slaughter, veterinarians and animal welfare, and hunting and fishing.
Stafford says animal welfare has always been important, but being able to show good practices is increasingly vital for exporters.
“Animal welfare is an important part of the food story for marketers and consumers. The companies that buy our milk and meat are looking at how they can use animal welfare as part of marketing. Animal welfare, environmental costs and food safety are now all part of our food story.
“But animal welfare is also part of the business of owning dogs and cats – owners have obligations under the law to look after that animal’s welfare.”
The book is published by the New Zealand Society of Animal Production.