Welfare of sheep and beef cattle

We work to promote good animal welfare as an intrinsic part of productive, sustainable and profitable livestock farming.

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.

Recognising that animal welfare is increasingly important, we invest farmer levies in a range of activities that continue to ensure sheep and beef cattle farming in New Zealand has a reputation for animal welfare to be proud of.

Our activities

Research

B+LNZ has a diverse portfolio of research, completed and ongoing, that covers nearly every aspect of stock management. In the pastoral sector, commercial drivers and welfare promotion are often closely aligned, where healthy and productive animals are also likely to experience a high level of welfare. This facet of our industry means that much of the research undertaken within the sector has direct benefits for animal welfare.

Provision of technical policy advice and industry representation

As the levy-funded representatives of sheep and beef farmers, B+LNZ employs technical staff with skills and experience who are able to represent the sector in wider discussions with regulators and other stakeholders about sheep and beef cattle welfare.

In engaging in welfare policy issues, B+LNZ representatives are guided by the following simple principles:

  • Good welfare must be promoted
  • Poor welfare must be prevented
  • Interventions should be proportionate and focused on outcomes
  • Interventions should be based on scientific evidence and / or established husbandry expertise
  • B+LNZ has a role in educating levy payers regarding regulatory requirements and encouraging good animal welfare, it is not an enforcement agency.

At the policy level, B+LNZ

  • Provides technical and administrative input to the development and delivery of Codes of Welfare, published under the Animal Welfare Act
  • Participates in the National Animal Behaviour and Welfare Consultative Committee
  • Is an active partner in MAF’s National Animal Welfare Compliance Plan and Farm to Processor Welfare Forum
  • Provides technical and policy advice to farmers, industry, regulators and other stakeholders (e.g. NGOs), both domestically and internationally, on welfare issues involving sheep and beef cattle.

Communications and extension activities

Perhaps the most important part of B+LNZ’s role in animal welfare is the provision of support and advice to our farmer levy payers. After all, there would be few benefits associated with research or codes of welfare if this information is not actively promoted to the farmers who look after the animals. Accordingly, the B+LNZ website provides farmers with access to advice and guidance in the form of research, fact sheets and relevant codes of welfare.

Newsletters and other materials are also supplied to farmers, which frequently contain items of welfare relevance, for example information on stock care distributed in anticipation of adverse weather events.

It is, however, through our regional presence that B+LNZ is able to actively promote good stock welfare as part of efficient, productive sheep and beef farming.

This encompasses:

  • Extension activities
  • B+LNZ Farmer Council
  • Monitor farms.

Find out more

Read the B+LNZ commitment to the welfare of sheep and beef cattle for an expanded look at the points above.