Animal Welfare Act 1999

  • not the latest version

Reprint as at 28 November 2013

Animal Welfare Act 1999

Public Act1999 No 142
Date of assent14 October 1999
Commencementsee section 1(2)


Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries.



1 Short Title and commencement

2 Interpretation

3 Definition of manipulation

4 Definition of physical, health, and behavioural needs

5 Definition of research, testing, and teaching

6 Definition of significant surgical procedure

7 Notice of making of Order in Council

8 Act to bind the Crown

Part 1
Care of animals

9 Purpose

Obligations of owners and of persons in charge of animals

10 Obligation in relation to physical, health, and behavioural needs of animals

11 Obligation to alleviate pain or distress of ill or injured animals


12 Animal welfare offences

13 Strict liability

14 Further animal welfare offences

Surgical procedures

15 Restriction on performance of surgical procedures

16 Classification of surgical procedures

17 Performance of restricted surgical procedures

18 Performance of controlled surgical procedures

19 Veterinary approval

20 Revocation and surrender of certificate of veterinary approval

Surgical procedure offences

21 Surgical procedure offences

Transport of animals

22 Transport of animals

23 Other offences in relation to transport of animals, etc

Defence and rebuttable evidence

24 Defence and rebuttable evidence


25 Penalties

Safari parks

26 Safari parks

Part 2
Conduct towards animals

27 Purpose

Ill-treatment of animals

28 Wilful ill-treatment of animals

28A Reckless ill-treatment of animals

29 Further offences

30 Strict liability

Animal fighting ventures

31 Animal fighting ventures

Traps and devices

32 Power to declare traps or devices to be prohibited or restricted traps or devices

33 Criteria

34 Restrictions on use of traps and devices to kill, manage, entrap, capture, entangle, restrain, or immobilise animals

35 Restrictions on sale of traps and devices

Inspection of traps

36 Obligation to inspect traps


37 Penalties

Part 3
Animal exports

38 Purpose

39 Effect of this Part

40 Animal welfare export certificate

41 Guidelines for issue of animal welfare export certificates

42 Application for animal welfare export certificate

43 Consideration of application

44 Decision on application

45 Conditions

46 Issue of animal welfare export certificate

47 Multiple consignment animal welfare export certificates

48 Exemptions

49 Delegation of functions or powers of Director-General

50 Revocation of delegations

51 Review of decisions

52 Animals being exported in accordance with conservation legislation

53 Enforcement

54 Offence

Part 4
Advisory committees

55 Purpose

National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee

56 National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee

57 Functions

58 Membership

59 Term of office

60 Annual report

61 Further provisions applying to National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee

National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee

62 National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee

63 Functions

64 Membership

65 Term of office

66 Annual report

67 Further provisions applying to National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee

Part 5
Codes of welfare

68 Purpose

69 Contents

70 Preparation of draft code

71 Public notification

72 Consultation

73 Matters to be considered

74 Recommendation to Minister

75 Issue of code

76 Amendment or revocation of code of welfare

77 Availability of codes of welfare

78 Review of code of welfare

78A Review date may be extended

79 Codes of welfare treated as legislative instruments for purposes of disallowance

Part 6
Use of animals in research, testing, and teaching

80 Purposes

81 Effect of this Part


82 Restrictions on research, testing, and teaching involving use of animals

83 Restrictions on carrying out of projects

84 Power to carry out certain projects

85 Restrictions on use of non-human hominids

86 Revocation of approval

Codes of ethical conduct

87 Codes of ethical conduct

88 Contents of code of ethical conduct

89 Application for approval

90 Changes to proposed code

91 Approval of code of ethical conduct

92 Time limits

93 Approval to be personal to code holder

94 Duration of approval

95 Application for amendment, suspension, or revocation of code of ethical conduct

96 Amendment, suspension, or revocation

97 Review of decisions

Animal ethics committees

98 Establishment of animal ethics committees

99 Functions and powers

100 Criteria

101 Membership

102 Procedure

103 Report of non-compliance

104 Protection of members of animal ethics committees

Reviews of code holders and animal ethics committees

105 Independent reviews

106 Purpose

107 Period to which independent review relates

108 Conduct of independent review

109 Accredited reviewers

110 Performance of duties

111 Applications for accreditation

112 Performance standards

113 Provisions applying in respect of accreditation and accredited reviewers

114 Review

115 Report

116 Level of compliance

117 Power of Minister to commission review

Power of Minister to approve research or testing

118 Power of Minister to approve research or testing


119 Penalties

Part 7
Provisions relating to administration

120 Purpose

Approved organisations, inspectors, and auxiliary officers

121 Approved organisations

122 Criteria

123 Amendment or revocation of declaration

124 Appointment of inspectors

125 Appointment of auxiliary officers

126 Inspectors and auxiliary officers to act under direction of Director-General

Power to inspect land, premises, and places and stationary vehicles, aircraft, and ships

127 Power to inspect land, premises, and places and stationary vehicles, aircraft, and ships

128 Production of evidence of appointment

129 Notice of entry

130 Power to prevent or mitigate suffering

Search warrants

131 Search warrants

132 Form and content of search warrant [Repealed]

133 Powers conferred by search warrant

134 Production of search warrant [Repealed]

135 Notice of execution of search warrant [Repealed]

Further provisions relating to powers of search and entry

136 Disposal of thing seized

136A Disposal of animals seized or taken into custody prior to commencement or determination of proceedings

137 Vehicle, aircraft, ship, or animal may be detained

Powers in relation to injured or sick animals

138 Destruction of injured or sick animals (other than marine mammals)

139 Destruction of impounded animals that are diseased, injured, or sick

140 Injured and sick marine mammals

Disposal of animals in custody of approved organisations

141 Duties of approved organisation

142 Obligation to maintain register

Enforcement orders

143 Application for enforcement order

144 Power to make enforcement order

145 Compliance with enforcement order

146 Notification of application

147 Right to be heard

148 Temporary enforcement order

149 Coming into force of enforcement order

150 Duration of enforcement order

151 Power to vary or discharge enforcement order

152 Offence to contravene enforcement order

153 Appeals to High Court

154 Appeals to Court of Appeal

155 Effect of appeal

156 Rules of court

Miscellaneous provisions

157 Offenders to give name and address

158 Protection of persons acting under authority of Act


159 Obstruction of inspector or auxiliary officer

160 Impersonating inspector or auxiliary officer

Part 8

Infringement offences

161 Infringement offences

162 Infringement notices

163 Payment of infringement fees

Further provisions relating to offences

164 Liability of employers and principals

165 Liability of directors and officers of bodies corporate

166 Evidence in proceedings

167 Time for filing charging document for offence against section 54 or 130

168 Inspector may conduct proceedings

168A Burden of proof of reasonable excuse

169 Court may disqualify person from owning or exercising authority in respect of animals

169A Disqualified person may apply to court for removal or variation of disqualification

169B Offence of contravening disqualification order

170 Liability for damage

171 Application of fines recovered in respect of offences

172 Power of court to order that certain animals be forfeited to the Crown or approved organisation

173 Expenses incurred by inspectors and territorial authorities

174 Certain offences against Dog Control Act 1996 to be treated as offences against this Act

Part 9
Miscellaneous provisions

Exceptions in relation to hunting or killing

175 Hunting or killing

176 Hunting in safari parks

177 Captured animals

178 Certain provisions relating to traps and devices not excluded

Exceptions in relation to use of animals to protect human health or safety

179 Use of animals to protect human health or safety

180 Power to amend Schedule 3 by Order in Council

Exception in relation to agricultural compounds and hazardous substances

181 Agricultural compounds and hazardous substances

Recovery of costs

182 Criteria in relation to recovery of costs


183 Regulations


184 Consultation


185 Service of notices

Transitional provisions

186 Advisory committees

187 Transitional provisions relating to membership of committees

188 Transitional provisions relating to inspectors

189 Transitional provision relating to approved organisations

190 Transitional provision relating to branch and member societies

191 Deemed codes of welfare

192 Codes of ethical conduct

193 Animal ethics committees

Amendments and repeals

194 Related amendments to other enactments

195 Amendment to Ombudsmen Act 1975

196 Amendments to Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987

197 Amendment to Customs Export Prohibition Order 1996

198 Repeals

Savings provisions

199 Certain regulations to continue in force

200 Certain bylaws to continue in force

201 Saving

202 Expiry of section 201

Schedule 1
Provisions applying in respect of National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee

Schedule 2
Provisions applying in respect of accreditation and accredited reviewers

Schedule 3
Agencies authorised to use animals in protecting human health or safety or enforcing the law

Schedule 4
Codes continued in force as codes of welfare issued under this Act

Schedule 5
Enactments amended

Schedule 6
Enactments repealed

Schedule 7
Regulations continued in force as code of welfare

Animal Welfare Amendment Act 2010

Reprint notes

An Act—

  • (a) to reform the law relating to the welfare of animals and the prevention of their ill-treatment; and, in particular,—

    • (i) to require owners of animals, and persons in charge of animals, to attend properly to the welfare of those animals:

    • (ii) to specify conduct that is or is not permissible in relation to any animal or class of animals:

    • (iii) to provide a process for approving the use of animals in research, testing, and teaching:

    • (iv) to establish a National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and a National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee:

    • (v) to provide for the development and issue of codes of welfare and the approval of codes of ethical conduct:

  • (b) to repeal the Animals Protection Act 1960