Animal Welfare Amendment Bill

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Explanatory note

General policy statement

This Bill makes changes to the Animal Welfare Act 1999 (the Act) to improve the enforceability, clarity, and transparency of New Zealand’s animal welfare system. The Bill implements the Government’s decisions resulting from the 2011–12 review of the Act. The changes will enhance the operation of the Act, rather than alter the fundamental principles and policy settings, which remain appropriate.

The policy objectives of the Bill are to—

  • provide for clear and enforceable standards of animal welfare:

  • increase the range of enforcement tools so that low-to-medium-level offending can be addressed more efficiently and appropriately:

  • clarify the obligations of animal owners and people in charge of animals:

  • improve the transparency of decision making under the Act, and of research, testing, and teaching:

  • enable welfare standards to evolve with societal expectations, scientific knowledge, good practice, and available technology.

Substantial parts of this policy will not be implemented by the Bill itself, but rather through regulations to be developed following the passing of the Bill. The regulations will be subject to further public consultation once they are drafted.

Enforceability

The Bill provides for regulations to set mandatory animal welfare standards relating to the care of and conduct towards animals. Currently, detailed minimum standards for care of and conduct toward animals owned or in the charge of any person are in codes of welfare, which are not directly enforceable under the Act. Codes of welfare will be retained, but regulations will support codes by setting specific and enforceable mandatory standards, for example, prohibitions on the use of sow stalls or requirements for layer hen housing. Offences will be created in the regulations, either as stand-alone offences against regulations or infringement offences that refer to offences in regulations or refer back to an offence provision in the Act. The content of regulations would be developed and publicly consulted following the enactment of the Bill.

The Bill also provides for a tiered penalty scheme to enable low-to-medium-level offending to be dealt with more effectively. In addition to the existing offences in the Act, infringement notices and lower-level offences with smaller penalties will be enabled in regulation.

The Bill provides for compliance orders that will allow an animal welfare inspector to require a person to—

  • stop doing something that would contravene an animal welfare law; or

  • do something to bring the person into compliance with an animal welfare law.

Failure to follow a compliance order would be an offence liable for either an infringement fee or a prosecution. The new infringement regime will be developed and publicly consulted on following the passing of the Bill, and infringement notices will be a compliance option for breaches of certain offences. In future, these additional enforcement tools will give animal welfare inspectors increased ability to deal with offending at the middle to lower end of the scale.

Clarity

The Bill enables mandatory standards for live animal exports to be set in regulations. The regulations will replace non-enforceable export guidelines, and provide more certainty for exporters and overseas markets about the animal welfare requirements that exporters must meet. The regulations will also enable the Government to enforce standards for live animal exports more easily, with penalties available against those who breach the standards. Regulations will be developed following the enactment for the Bill, and will cover issues similar to those currently covered by guidelines, such as—

  • species, age, and fitness of animals for travel:

  • the transport vehicles and associated facilities, such as the equipment for loading and unloading:

  • the skills, qualifications, or experience of people accompanying the animals:

  • reporting and independent monitoring.

New Zealand’s policy on exports for slaughter is currently contained within an order under the Customs and Excise Act 1996. Under the order, the export of livestock for slaughter is prohibited, except with the consent of the Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries. An export can only be approved if the risks to both animal welfare and to New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible exporter can be managed. The Bill will not change this policy, but instead will enable it to be implemented in regulations under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. To facilitate this, the purpose of the exports part of the Act will be broadened so that post-arrival conditions and New Zealand’s reputation can be considered when making regulations or deciding on applications.

The Bill also improves the clarity and flexibility of the framework governing surgical or painful procedures. The Bill will retain the current policy under the Act that significant surgical procedures may only be performed by a veterinarian or veterinary student (under supervision), but will allow for this to be varied by regulation. The Bill will enable regulations to be made to—

  • prohibit any surgical or painful procedure:

  • provide mandatory standards for any surgical or painful procedure (eg, who may perform the procedure, whether pain relief is to be used, or whether the procedure can only be undertaken if it is in the animal’s best interests):

  • declare a surgical procedure to not be a significant surgical procedure.

During the review of the Act, the Ministry for Primary Industries sought feedback on whether 14 specific procedures should be restricted, classified as veterinarian-only, or prohibited. These procedures will be considered for inclusion in surgical or painful procedure regulations to be developed following the enactment of the Bill. A separate consultation on the regulations will take place at that time.

The Bill also clarifies that it is an offence to wilfully or recklessly ill-treat an animal in the wild. The amendment will enable deliberate or reckless acts of cruelty that are outside of generally accepted hunting or killing practices in New Zealand to be prosecuted more efficiently. It will not affect usual and accepted hunting, fishing, or pest management and native species management practices, or limit the development of improved practices.

Transparency

The Bill makes the criteria that the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) consider when developing codes of welfare more transparent by explicitly including practicality and economic impact as second-tier considerations. This will allow economic and practical factors to be considered alongside, but not to outweigh, animal welfare issues.

The Bill also replaces the exceptional circumstances provisions with transitions and exemptions. The exceptional circumstances provisions currently enable NAWAC to recommend minimum standards in codes of welfare that do not fully meet the obligations in the Act. These provisions have been used, for example, to permit the use of battery cages until a certain date is reached and to permit the ongoing use of farrowing crates for pigs with no final date. The new provisions will enable NAWAC to recommend regulations permitting practices that do not fully meet the obligations in the Act—

  • during a transition to a new practice where there is a defined expiry date:

  • for an indefinite period where there is a need for an exemption.

The Bill establishes criteria that would need to be satisfied before a transition or an exemption is recommended, and an exemption would only be available if a transition were not feasible. Exemptions would need to be reviewed within 10 years, or earlier if the regulations so specify.

The Bill increases the transparency of animal use statistics by requiring animal ethics committee approval for the humane killing of animals for the purpose of performing research, testing, and teaching on their body or tissue. Currently, this type of research does not require ethics approval and is not required to be reported in official statistics. In considering requests for approval, the animal ethics committee would consider whether the proposed research, testing or teaching would result in some benefit to society. Similarly, the Bill will also improve transparency in research, testing, and teaching by requiring animal ethics committee approval for the production and breeding of animals with known or potentially compromised welfare for the purposes of research, testing, and teaching.

In addition, the Bill enables regulations to be made that require the reporting of surplus animals produced for the purposes of research, testing, and teaching that are ultimately not needed, and so are humanely killed.

Other amendments

The Bill provides guidance for the court when considering whether to impose an order disqualifying a convicted offender from owning or being in charge of animals. Currently, the Act provides limited guidance for the court when considering an application for the removal or variation of an order, but no criteria for making a new order.

The Bill also enables the court to order forfeiture of animals and disqualification from owning or being in charge of animals for people who have been found unfit to stand trial on animal welfare charges. Such defendants can pose an ongoing risk to the welfare of their animals, but the court currently cannot use the forfeiture or disqualification provisions because they are not convicted.

In addition, the Bill will—

  • clarify the definition of device to include explosives and incendiary devices:

  • create an obligation that the killing of any wild animal or pest that is farmed or kept as a pet be humane, in line with the requirements for other animals that are in someone's care:

  • clarify the process to be followed before an animal is destroyed to prevent unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress:

  • enable a wider range of organisations to become approved organisations under the Act:

  • create an express ability for the Ministry for Primary Industries to audit approved organisations:

  • remove the State Sector Act 1988 from the process for appointing Ministry for Primary Industries animal welfare inspectors:

  • enable the Ministry for Primary Industries to suspend animal welfare inspectors who work for approved organisations, pending the outcome of an investigation into their conduct:

  • clarify the search powers of animal welfare inspectors:

  • allow groups not directly involved in research, testing, and teaching using animals to become code of ethical conduct holders on behalf of teaching organisations.

Regulatory impact statement

The Ministry for Primary Industries produced a regulatory impact statement in September 2012 to help inform the main policy decisions taken by the Government relating to the contents of this Bill.

A copy of this regulatory impact statement can be found at—

Clause by clause analysis

Clause 1 is the Title clause.

Clause 2 relates to commencement. Clauses 4(1) and (5), 8, 10(2), 12(1), 13 to 16, 20 to 22, 25(1), and 57(2) come into force on the earlier of a date appointed by Order in Council or 5 years after the date on which the Act receives the Royal assent. These clauses relate to surgical and painful procedures. The delay is needed because regulations will have to be developed and made to enable the amendments to operate effectively.

Changes to the definition of infringement offence in clause 4(4), together with related amendments in clauses 41(3) and 45, also have a delayed commencement. This second tranche of changes concerning the definition of infringement offence (the definition is initially amended by clause 4(3) on the day after the date on which the Act receives the Royal assent) come into force on the earlier of a date appointed by Order in Council or 5 years after the date on which the Act receives the Royal assent. The delay for these amendments is needed because regulations will have to be developed and made to enable the amendments to operate effectively.

The rest of the Bill comes into force on different fixed dates specified in this clause.

Clause 3 provides that the Bill amends the Animal Welfare Act 1999 (the Act).

Part 1
Amendments to principal Act

Clause 4 amends section 2 of the Act, which defines certain terms used in the Act.

The definitions of the terms controlled surgical procedure, restricted surgical procedure, and significant surgical procedure are repealed. The classifications of controlled and restricted will become obsolete under the new regulatory regime for surgical and painful procedures, and the classification significant will have its ordinary meaning. Regulations will be able to declare that specific surgical procedures are not significant surgical procedures for the purposes of the Act. See clause 56 for new section 183B, which will empower the making of regulations prescribing matters about specified surgical or painful procedures performed on animals.

The definition of the term device is amended to include explosives (but not including firearms) and incendiary devices.

The definition of the term infringement offence is amended to cover offences against section 130, new section 156I in clause 44, and offences created under the Act that are declared by regulations to be infringement offences. As noted in relation to clause 2, this second amendment to the definition of infringement offence has a delayed commencement.

Clause 5 amends the definition of the term manipulation in section 3 of the Act to cover the following activities:

  • the killing of an animal for the purpose of interfering with the animal's body or its tissues in a specified manner:

  • the breeding or production of an animal using any breeding technique (including genetic modification) that may result in the birth or production of an animal that is susceptible to pain or distress during its life.

As the Act stands, animals may be killed humanely for the purpose of carrying out research, testing, and teaching on their body or tissues (section 3(2)(b)). Researchers and others do not need to seek ethics committee approval to kill an animal for this purpose. One of the effects of this is that the Government cannot collect and release data on numbers of animals killed for the purpose of carrying out research, testing, or teaching on their body or tissues.

This clause will require the approval of an animal ethics committee for killing an animal for the purpose of carrying out research, testing, or teaching on its body or tissues and will facilitate the reporting and recording of such numbers in annual animal use statistics. The amendment will not apply if the animals procured are already dead (for example, where dead animals are procured from a different research project, a slaughterhouse, or a butchery, or where the animals have been killed in a wild state).

Research institutions sometimes breed animals with known or potentially compromised welfare, either through selective breeding or by genetic modification. Currently, this type of research does not require animal ethics committee approval because the procedures involved are undertaken before the second half of gestation (before it is an animal as defined in the Act). The lack of ethics committee oversight creates a risk that animals could be bred to experience compromised welfare where this cannot be justified by the benefits of the research. This clause will require animal ethics committee approval and oversight of the production and breeding of animals with known or potentially compromised welfare for the purposes of research, testing, and teaching.

Clause 6 amends section 4 of the Act, which relates to the meaning of physical, health, and behavioural needs. Section 4(a) currently provides that proper and sufficient food and water is included within the meaning of that term. This clause separates the 2 items so that proper and sufficient food is a distinct item and proper and sufficient water is another.

Clause 7 amends section 5 of the Act, which relates to the meaning of the term research, testing, and teaching, to include the new matters in clause 5 (the amendment of the term manipulation in section 3 of the Act). The amendment is not intended to capture breeding that occurs outside of research, testing, and teaching, such as dog breeding or livestock improvement breeding.

Clause 8 repeals sections 6 and 7 of the Act, which relate to the meaning of the term significant surgical procedure. It is intended that the term will bear its ordinary meaning, although regulations will be able to be made to declare specified procedures not to be significant surgical procedures (see clause 56, new section 183B(1)(c)).

Clause 9 inserts new section 8A into the Act. New section 8A provides that the savings and transitional provisions set out in new Schedule 4 have effect for the purposes of this Bill.

Clause 10 consequentially amends section 9 of the Act, which relates to the purpose of Part 1 of the Act (care of animals), to align the statement of purpose with changes to Part 1 that are included in this Bill.

Clause 11 amends section 11 of the Act, which relates to the obligation to alleviate pain or distress of ill or injured animals. The obligation is currently expressed as applying where practicable. This clause removes those qualifying words and aligns section 11 with section 10 (obligation to ensure that the physical, health, and behavioural needs of animals are met). The effect of the amendment is that, in a prosecution for non-compliance with section 11, the prosecutor no longer needs to prove that it was practicable for the owner or person in charge of the animal to seek treatment. The defendant still has a defence under section 13 if he or she can prove that he or she took all reasonable steps to comply with section 11.

Clause 12 amends section 15 of the Act, which relates to restrictions on the performance of surgical procedures. The amendments—

  • replace a reference to section 18 because it is being repealed by clause 13:

  • allow a significant surgical procedure on an animal to be performed by any person being taught veterinary science acting under the direct supervision of a veterinarian, removing the current limitation that the person being supervised must be being taught veterinary science at undergraduate level.

Clause 13 repeals sections 16 to 20 of the Act. The effect of these repeals is to remove the classification system in the Act for controlled and restricted procedures and replace it with a power to make regulations that set conditions on surgical or painful husbandry procedures. These regulations would require consideration of criteria similar to those in section 6(4) before being made. See clause 56 for the new regulation-making powers.

The provisions of the Act relating to surgical procedures that are being repealed, are to remain in force for up to 5 years.

Clause 14 replaces section 21 of the Act, which relates to surgical procedure offences. The section is recast to remove reference to offences committed by contravening sections being repealed by clauses 13 and 14.

Clause 15 consequentially amends section 25 of the Act, which relates to penalties for offences against specified sections of the Act. The amendment alters a cross-reference in section 25 to align it with the new section 21 in clause 14.

Clause 16 repeals 2 offences in section 29 of the Act. The offences concerned are—

  • piercing the tongue or tongue phrenum of an animal with a pig ring or similar thing or with any wire:

  • branding any animal in such a manner that the animal suffers unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.

The intention is that these practices will be prohibited by regulations.

Clause 17 inserts new sections 30A to 30E into the Act. These provisions relate to ill-treating, hunting, or killing wild animals or animals in a wild state, and replace, in this new location, current sections 175 to 178 of the Act.

New section 30A creates an offence of wilful ill-treatment of wild animals or animals in a wild state and an offence of reckless ill-treatment of wild animals or animals in a wild state. Currently, section 175 of the Act provides (among other things) that the Act does not make it unlawful to hunt or kill animals in a wild state or wild animals. There is some uncertainty as to whether acts of cruelty committed in the course of hunting or killing constitute wilful or reckless ill-treatment under the Act (see sections 28 and 28A). It is intended that generally accepted hunting, fishing, and pest management practices will not be affected by the new section, which is directed at acts of wilful or reckless cruelty.

The penalties for the wilful ill-treatment offence are the same as for wilful ill-treatment offences under section 29, namely,—

  • for an individual, up to 5 years' imprisonment or a fine up to $100,000 (or both):

  • for a body corporate, a fine up to $500,000.

The penalties for the reckless ill-treatment offence are the same as for reckless ill-treatment offences under section 28A, namely,—

  • for an individual, up to 3 years' imprisonment or a fine up to $75,000 (or both):

  • for a body corporate, a fine up to $350,000.

New section 30B restates in a modified form current section 175 of the Act. This new section is subject to new section 30A.

New section 30C restates in a modified form current section 176, which relates to hunting in safari parks.

New section 30D restates in a modified form current section 177, which relates to captured animals.

New section 30E restates current section 178, which relates to the use of traps and other devices.

Clause 18 amends section 36 of the Act, which relates to the obligation to inspect traps. The amendment increases from $1,200 to $5,000 (for an individual) and $25,000 (for a body corporate) the maximum fine that can be imposed on conviction of an offence against section 36. This brings the penalties into line with the maximum penalties for regulatory offences under section 183 of the Act.

Clause 19 replaces section 38 of the Act, which states the purpose of Part 3 of the Act (animal exports). The new section 38 broadens the purpose of the Part 3 so that, as amended, the Part will protect the welfare of animals being exported and New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible exporter of agricultural products.

Currently, the policy relating to exports for slaughter has been implemented using Customs legislation. The Customs Export Prohibition (Livestock for Slaughter) Order 2010 is due to expire on 20 December 2013. The use of a Customs order was intended as a temporary measure until animal welfare legislation could be amended. It is not efficient or transparent for rules relating to live animal exports to be spread across regulatory regimes. The Act is being amended to enable the making of regulations for live animal exports. The regulations will replace export guidelines and provide more certainty for exporters and overseas markets about animal welfare requirements. The regulations will also enable the Government to enforce standards for live animal exports more easily. It is envisaged that regulations will cover issues similar to those currently covered by guidelines.

Clause 20 repeals section 41 of the Act, which relates to guidelines for the issue of animal welfare export certificates. As mentioned in the preceding note, regulations will replace the guidelines.

Clause 21 amends section 43 of the Act, which relates to the consideration of applications for an animal welfare export certificate. The amendment requires the Director-General to consider—

  • regulations under new section 183C (see clause 56):

  • New Zealand's reputation as a responsible exporter of agricultural products.

Clause 22 amends section 45 of the Act, which relates to conditions on animal welfare export certificates. The amendment enables the Director-General to require the exporter to manage certain post-arrival conditions in the importing country.

Clause 23 amends section 54 of the Act, which relates to the offence of refusing or failing to comply with any requirement of an inspector or authorised person. The amendment removes the offence of refusing to comply, which is considered unnecessary.

Clause 24 amends section 55 of the Act, which relates to the purpose of Part 4 of the Act (advisory committees). The amendment inserts a reference to the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee's new function to recommend to the Minister that regulations be made under new section 183A(1)(a) (see clause 56) prescribing animal welfare standards or requirements.

Clause 25 consequentially amends section 57 of the Act, which relates to the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee's functions. The amendment removes a reference to sections 6 and 16 of the Act because they are being repealed by this Bill.

Clause 26 amends section 71 of the Act, which relates to the public notification of draft codes of welfare. The amendment—

  • enables the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee to choose whether to proceed with a draft code of welfare:

  • prevents the Committee from publicly notifying a draft code of welfare without the Minister's approval.

Clause 27 amends section 73 of the Act, which relates to the matters to which the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee must have regard when considering a draft code of welfare.

New subsection (3) enables the Committee to choose to take into account practicality and economic impact when considering a draft code of welfare if it considers these to be relevant.

New subsections (4) to (6) apply to recommendations to make regulations under new section 183A (which relates to prescribing standards or requirements). These new provisions require the Committee to be satisfied about or consider (as the case requires) the matters in new section 183A(4) and (5).

These amendments replace the current ability of the Committee, in exceptional circumstances, to recommend minimum standards or best practice that do not fully meet relevant obligations under the Act.

Clause 28 amends section 74 of the Act, which relates to recommendations made to the Minister by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. The Committee's report under that section must include a statement of any matters contained in, or related to, the code that the Committee considers should be dealt with by regulations under this Act.

Clause 29 amends section 76 of the Act, which relates to the amendment or revocation of codes of welfare, to enable the Minister to revoke part of a code of welfare.

Clause 30 amends section 78 of the Act, which relates to the review of codes of welfare. The amendments—

  • remove the requirement that the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee review every code at least once every 10 years:

  • adjust the procedural requirements that apply to reviews to reflect the removal of the 10-year requirement.

Clause 31 repeals section 78A of the Act, which relates to the extension of review dates in section 78 of the Act, because of the removal of the 10-year review requirement.

Clause 32 replaces section 87 of the Act, which relates to codes of ethical conduct. Currently, a code holder must be directly involved in research, testing, or teaching using animals. The new section allows organisations that are not actually engaged in research, testing, and teaching to become code holders for the purposes of enabling teaching organisations to use animals. An organisation will still need to meet the requirements currently set for code holders.

Clauses 33 and 34 make consequential amendments to the Act to reflect new section 87 in clause 32.

Clause 35 amends section 100 of the Act, which relates to the criteria to which an animal ethics committee must have regard when considering an application for the approval of a project and the conditions to be applied to it. The amendments ensure that section 100(a) and (d) do not conflict with the changes to section 3 (the meaning of manipulation) in clause 5. Currently, section 100(a) requires a committee to have regard to the purposes of Part 6 of the Act and section 100(d) requires a committee to have regard to the harm to, or the distress felt by, the animals as a result of the manipulation involved in the project, and the extent to which that harm or distress can be alleviated.

Clause 36 replaces section 122(1)(a) of the Act, which relates to the matters the Minister must be satisfied about before declaring an organisation to be an approved organisation for the purposes of the Act. The new provision requires that one of the purposes or roles of the organisation must concern the welfare of animals or a particular species of animals. Currently, the principal purpose of the organisation must be to promote the welfare of animals.

Clause 37 inserts new sections 123A to 123D into the Act, which will enable the Ministry to audit approved organisations. Currently under section 122, the Minister must, before declaring an organisation to be an approved organisation, be satisfied about a range of matters. However, the Ministry lacks the legal ability to require an approved organisation to undergo an audit to confirm that its approved organisation status is still appropriate. These amendments will enable an audit to be carried out by internal Ministry for Primary Industries staff or by external auditors who work to the Director-General. A similar regime may be found in sections 105B to 105F of the Biosecurity Act 1993.

New section 123A provides for the appointment of auditors.

New section 123B provides for the carrying out of audits and the matters that can be audited.

New section 123C sets out the general duties of auditors.

New section 123D sets out the powers of auditors.

Clause 38 amends section 124 of the Act, which relates to the appointment of inspectors. Currently, suitable persons can be appointed as inspectors under the State Sector Act 1988. The amendment enables the Director-General to appoint state sector employees directly under the Act (rather than the State Sector Act 1988).

This clause also gives the Minister the power to suspend an inspector, after following specified requirements.

Clause 39 amends section 125 of the Act, which relates to the appointment of auxiliary officers. This clause gives the Director-General the power to suspend a person's appointment under section 125.

Clause 40 amends section 127 of the Act, which relates to the power to inspect land, premises, and places and stationary vehicles, aircraft, and ships. Section 127 does not set out expressly the scope of an inspector’s power when he or she is exercising an inspection power under the section. Inspectors who carry out an inspection under section 127 need to be able to record what was observed during the inspection and take evidence (including samples) to make a diagnosis or support any decision to seize or destroy an animal. This clause inserts new subsections (4A) and (4B) to enable those things to be done.

Clause 41 amends section 130 of the Act, which relates to the power to prevent or mitigate suffering. Section 130 enables inspectors to destroy an animal if they believe it is the only way to prevent the animal suffering unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress. Section 138 sets out the process that must be followed before an animal can be destroyed, which involves giving the owner of the animal the opportunity to seek a second opinion from a veterinarian if necessary. However, it is not clear whether an inspector acting under section 130 needs to follow the process in section 138. This clause inserts a new subsection (1A) to ensure that the process in section 138 applies.

This clause also inserts new subsections (1B) and (1C), which provide for service of compliance notices.

The clause also deletes words in section 130(2) that are considered unnecessary.

Clause 42 amends section 133 of the Act, which relates powers conferred by search warrants. This clause inserts a new subsection (4A) to ensure that the section 138 process applies if an inspector proposes to destroy an animal under section 133.

Clause 43 amends section 138 of the Act, which relates to the destruction of injured or sick animals (other than marine mammals), to clarify a reference to a veterinarian giving a second opinion.

Clause 44 inserts into the Act new sections 156A to 156I, which relate to compliance orders. These new sections are based on sections 154 to 154G of the Biosecurity Act 1993.

New section 156A sets out the scope of compliance orders that may be issued by an inspector.

New section 156B sets out the matters that must be included in compliance orders.

New section 156C provides for service of compliance orders.

New section 156D requires compliance with a compliance order.

New section 156E provides for the changing of or cancellation of a compliance order.

New section 156F provides a right of appeal against a compliance order to a District Court.

New section 156G provides further rights of appeal to the High Court, Court of Appeal, or Supreme Court.

New section 156H relates to the effect an appeal has on a compliance order.

New section 156I creates an offence of non-compliance with a compliance order. The maximum penalty for an offence is a fine not exceeding $5,000 (for an individual) or $25,000 (for a body corporate).

Clause 45 amends new section 156I, which is inserted into the Act by clause 44. The amendment makes the offence created by new section 156I an infringement offence. This clause comes into force on a date appointed by the Governor-General by Order in Council (see clauses 2(2) and 4(4)).

Clause 46 amends section 157 of the Act, which relates to the requirement for offenders to give their name and address on request by an inspector. The amendment increases from $900 to $5,000 (for an individual) and $25,000 (for a body corporate) the maximum fine that can be imposed on conviction for an offence against section 157. This brings the penalties into line with the maximum penalties for regulatory offences under section 183 of the Act.

Clause 47 amends section 161 of the Act, which relates to infringement offences. The amendment provides that leave of a District Court is not needed under section 21(1) of the Summary Proceedings Act 1957 in order to file a charging document in respect of an infringement offence under the Act.

Clause 48 amends section 162 of the Act, which relates to infringement notices. The amendment updates the reference to the maximum infringement fee that may be prescribed for infringement offences against regulations made under the Act. The new amount is $1,000.

Clause 49 replaces section 169 of the Act, which relates to the power of a court to make an order disqualifying a person from owning or exercising authority in respect of animals when the court convicts a person of certain offences. Current issues with section 169 include—

  • lack of consistency in the application of section 169:

  • the anomalous situation where a court has factors it may consider when persons make an application for removal or variation of an order, but not when the imposition of the order is considered in the first instance:

  • an order is directed at a fairly narrow group, namely, owners and those exercising authority, rather than persons in charge:

  • uncertainty about the application of the offence of contravention of a disqualification order to a person who, despite the existence of the order, has continued to be the owner of or exercise authority in respect of animals.

New section 169(1) sets out the offences that can attract a disqualification order and substantially re-enacts the current section 169(1).

New section 169(2) enables a court to make a disqualification order if a person is found unfit to stand trial (under the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act 2003).

New section 169(3) enables a court to make an order disqualifying a person for any period that it thinks fit from—

  • being the owner of an animal; or

  • exercising authority over an animal; or

  • being the person in charge of an animal.

An order may relate to an animal or animals of a particular kind or description specified in the order or to animals generally.

New section 169(4) sets out the matters to which the court must have regard in considering whether to make an order. Some of these matters are currently set out in section 169A (application for removal or variation of disqualification order).

New section 169(5) carries over the current section 169(2), which enables a court to specify a minimum disqualification period.

Clause 50 amends section 169A of the Act, which relates to applications to remove or vary a disqualification order. The amendment aligns the section with new section 169.

Clause 51 amends section 169B of the Act, which relates to the offence of contravening a disqualification order. The amendment aligns with new section 169 the matters to which a court must have regard in considering an application.

Clause 52 amends section 172 of the Act, which relates to the power of courts to order that certain animals be forfeited to the Crown or an approved organisation. The amendment—

  • extends the section to enable a court to make a forfeiture order where the offender is found unfit to stand trial; and

  • provides for distribution of the proceeds of sale.

Clause 53 repeals sections 175 to 178 of the Act. These sections are replaced in clause 17.

Clause 54 corrects cross-referential errors in section 182 of the Act, which relates to cost recovery.

Clause 55 amends section 183 of the Act, which enables regulations to be made under the Act. The amendments enable regulations to be made to—

  • require the reporting of the killing of animals that were bred, but not used, for the purposes of research, testing, and teaching:

  • prescribe offences created by the Act or under it as infringement offences:

  • prescribe the infringement fees, which may not exceed $1,000 but which may vary depending on whether the offence is a first or subsequent offence.

Clause 56 inserts into the Act new sections 183A to 183C, which provide new regulation-making powers.

New section 183A enables the making of regulations that prescribe standards and requirements relating to animal care. The intention is that the new section include the power to—

  • impose prohibitions, for example, on the use of sow stalls or equipment such as prong dog collars:

  • establish or amend minimum standards in codes of welfare:

  • prescribe standards or requirements that are lower than those required to meet the obligations in Parts 1 and 2 of the Act.

The power to recommend the making of regulations that prescribe such temporary standards or requirements requires consideration of matters specified in subsection (4) of the new section.

New section 183B enables the making of regulations that prescribe matters relating to surgical or painful procedures. The Minister must have regard to most of the matters currently specified in section 3(4) before recommending the making of such regulations.

New section 183C enables the making of regulations that prescribe matters relating to the export of live animals.

Clause 57 replaces section 184(1) and (2) to correct cross-referential errors in section 184 of the Act, which relates to consultation requirements applying to the making of certain Orders in Council. It also creates an exception from the requirement to consult before an Order in Council or regulations are made if the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee has already consulted on the subject matter of the Order in Council or regulations as part of its consultation on a draft code of welfare under sections 71 or 72.

Clause 58 repeals section 191 of the Act, which relates to deemed codes of welfare.

Clause 59 amends Schedule 1 of the Act, which contains provisions applying to the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee. This clause amends clause 6 of Schedule 1 to remove the requirement that members voting on a matter must be present in New Zealand.

Clause 60 repeals Schedule 4 of the Act, which relates to deemed codes of welfare, and replaces it with a new Schedule 4. New Schedule 4 contains savings and transitional provisions relating to this Bill. In particular, new Schedule 4 preserves existing codes of welfare and the Customs Export Prohibition (Livestock for Slaughter) Order 2010.

Part 2
Amendment to related Customs enactment

Clause 61 amends the Customs Export Prohibition (Livestock for Slaughter) Order 2010 and provides that the order is revoked on the commencement of the first regulations made under new section 183C of the Act.