Vets to play bigger role in animal welfare cases
Veterinarians at the New Zealand Veterinary Association conference in
Christchurch will be asked to play a bigger role in reporting animal welfare
cases, particularly on farms.
"Vets are in a good position, not only to follow up on cases, but also to be
pro-active and deal with situations before they become major problems," says
veterinarian Richard Wild of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority's
Verification Agency (NZFSA VA).
He says the conference
is a good opportunity to remind all vets of the role they can play in
educating clients and raising awareness of the animal welfare aspects of their
farming operations. Veterinarians have a responsibility to mitigate animal
suffering and, where necessary, to report cases of animal welfare abuse, says
Charles Cadwallader of MAF Biosecurity New Zealand's animal welfare group.
Trained on animal welfare
"We now have a group of VA staff
distributed across the North and South Island, trained in animal welfare
investigations, who we can call on to help with on-farm investigations," says
Charles. Their primary role will be to identify what's wrong with the animals in
question and work with farm consultants to remedy it, ensuring that an animal
health plan is in place before MAF leaves the farm. Their secondary role will be
to carry out post-mortems and assist farmers to put farm management plans in
Last year 700 cases were reported to the animal welfare team
and the majority of those relating to farm animals were reported by neighbouring
New Zealand Food Safety Authority's
MAF Biosecurity New Zealand's animal welfare
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