Animal Welfare Act 1999

If you need more information about this Act, please contact the administering agency: Ministry for Primary Industries

Version as at 30 April 2023

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Animal Welfare Act 1999

Public Act
1999 No 142
Date of assent
14 October 1999
see section 1(2)

The Parliamentary Counsel Office has made editorial and format changes to this version using the powers under subpart 2 of Part 3 of the Legislation Act 2019.

Note 4 at the end of this version provides a list of the amendments included in it.

This Act is administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries.


1Short Title and commencement
3Definition of manipulation
4Definition of physical, health, and behavioural needs
5Definition of research, testing, and teaching
6Definition of significant surgical procedure [Repealed]
7Notice of making of Order in Council [Repealed]
8Act to bind the Crown
8ATransitional, savings, and related provisions
10Obligation in relation to physical, health, and behavioural needs of animals
11Obligation to alleviate pain or distress of ill or injured animals
12Animal welfare offences
13Strict liability
14Further animal welfare offences
15Restriction on performance of surgical procedures
16Criteria to determine whether procedure is significant surgical procedure
17Performance of restricted surgical procedures [Repealed]
18Performance of controlled surgical procedures [Repealed]
19Veterinary approval [Repealed]
20Revocation and surrender of certificate of veterinary approval [Repealed]
21Surgical procedure offences
22Transport of animals
23Other offences in relation to transport of animals, etc
24Defence and rebuttable evidence
26Safari parks
28Wilful ill-treatment of animals
28AReckless ill-treatment of animals
29Further offences
30Strict liability
30AWilful or reckless ill-treatment of wild animals or animals in wild state
30BHunting or killing
30CHunting in safari parks
30DCaptured animals
30ECertain provisions relating to traps and devices not excluded
31Animal fighting ventures
32Power to declare traps or devices to be prohibited or restricted traps or devices
34Restrictions on use of traps and devices to kill, manage, entrap, capture, entangle, restrain, or immobilise animals
35Restrictions on sale of traps and devices
36Obligations relating to traps
39Effect of this Part
40Animal export requires animal welfare export certificate
41Animal welfare export certificate must not be issued for certain animals
41Guidelines for issue of animal welfare export certificates [Repealed]
42Application for animal welfare export certificate
43Consideration of application
44Decision on application
46Issue of animal welfare export certificate
47Multiple consignment animal welfare export certificates
49Delegation of functions or powers of Director-General
50Revocation of delegations
51Review of decisions
52Animals being exported in accordance with conservation legislation
56National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee
59Term of office
60Annual report
61Further provisions applying to National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee
62National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee
65Term of office
66Annual report
67Further provisions applying to National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee
70Preparation of draft code
71Public notification
73Matters to be considered
74Recommendation to Minister
75Issue of code
76Amendment or revocation of code of welfare
77Availability of codes of welfare [Repealed]
78Review of code of welfare
78AReview date may be extended [Repealed]
79Codes of welfare treated as legislative instruments for purposes of disallowance [Repealed]
81Effect of this Part
82Restrictions on research, testing, and teaching involving use of animals
83Restrictions on carrying out of projects
84Power to carry out certain projects
84AProhibition on use of animals in research, testing, and teaching for making cosmetic
85Restrictions on use of non-human hominids
86Revocation of approval
87Codes of ethical conduct
88Contents of code of ethical conduct
89Application for approval
90Changes to proposed code
91Approval of code of ethical conduct
92Time limits
93Approval to be personal to code holder
94Duration of approval
95Application for amendment, suspension, or revocation of code of ethical conduct
96Amendment, suspension, or revocation
97Review of decisions
98Establishment of animal ethics committees
99Functions and powers
103Report of non-compliance
104Protection of members of animal ethics committees
105Independent reviews
107Period to which independent review relates
108Conduct of independent review
109Accredited reviewers
110Performance of duties
111Applications for accreditation
112Performance standards
113Provisions applying in respect of accreditation and accredited reviewers
116Level of compliance
117Power of Minister to commission review
118Power of Minister to approve research or testing
121Approved organisations
123Amendment or revocation of declaration
123AAppointment of auditors
123CAuditors’ general duties
123DAuditors’ powers
124Appointment of inspectors
125Appointment of auxiliary officers
126Inspectors and auxiliary officers to act under direction of Director-General
127Power to inspect land, premises, and places and stationary vehicles, aircraft, and ships
128Production of evidence of appointment
129Notice of entry
130Power to prevent or mitigate suffering
131Search warrants
132Form and content of search warrant [Repealed]
133Powers conferred by search warrant
134Production of search warrant [Repealed]
135Notice of execution of search warrant [Repealed]
136Disposal of thing seized
136ADisposal of animals seized or taken into custody prior to commencement or determination of proceedings
137Vehicle, aircraft, ship, or animal may be detained
138Destruction of injured or sick animals (other than marine mammals)
139Destruction of impounded animals that are diseased, injured, or sick
140Injured and sick marine mammals
141Duties of approved organisation
142Obligation to maintain register
143Application for enforcement order
144Power to make enforcement order
145Compliance with enforcement order
146Notification of application
147Right to be heard
148Temporary enforcement order
149Coming into force of enforcement order
150Duration of enforcement order
151Power to vary or discharge enforcement order
152Offence to contravene enforcement order
153Appeals to High Court
154Appeals to Court of Appeal
155Effect of appeal
156Rules of court
156EChange or cancellation
156FAppeal to District Court
156GAppeal to High Court, Court of Appeal, or Supreme Court
156HEffect of appeal
156IPenalties for non-compliance with compliance notice
157Offenders to give name and address
158Protection of persons acting under authority of Act
159Obstruction of inspector or auxiliary officer
160Impersonating inspector or auxiliary officer
161Infringement offences
162Infringement notices
163Payment of infringement fees
164Liability of employers and principals
165Liability of directors and officers of bodies corporate
166Evidence in proceedings
167Time for filing charging document for offence against section 54 or 130
168Inspector may conduct proceedings
168ABurden of proof of reasonable excuse
169Court may disqualify person from owning or exercising authority in respect of animals
169ADisqualified person may apply to court for removal or variation of disqualification
169BOffence of contravening disqualification order
170Liability for damage
171Application of fines recovered in respect of offences
172Power of court to order that certain animals be forfeited to the Crown or approved organisation
173Expenses incurred by inspectors and territorial authorities
174Certain offences against Dog Control Act 1996 to be treated as offences against this Act
175Hunting or killing [Repealed]
176Hunting in safari parks [Repealed]
177Captured animals [Repealed]
178Certain provisions relating to traps and devices not excluded [Repealed]
179Use of animals to protect human health or safety
180Power to amend Schedule 3 by Order in Council
181Agricultural compounds and hazardous substances
182Criteria in relation to recovery of costs
183ARegulations relating to standards of care
183BRegulations relating to surgical and painful procedures
183CRegulations relating to exporting animals
184ACertain secondary legislation or published instruments may be consolidated
185Service of notices
186Advisory committees
187Transitional provisions relating to membership of committees
188Transitional provisions relating to inspectors
189Transitional provision relating to approved organisations
190Transitional provision relating to branch and member societies
191Deemed codes of welfare [Repealed]
192Codes of ethical conduct
193Animal ethics committees
194Related amendments to other enactments
195Amendment to Ombudsmen Act 1975
196Amendments to Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987
197Amendment to Customs Export Prohibition Order 1996
199Certain regulations to continue in force
200Certain bylaws to continue in force
202Expiry of section 201

An Act—


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


to recognise that animals are sentient:


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


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


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


to establish a National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and a National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee:


to provide for the development and issue of codes of welfare and the approval of codes of ethical conduct:


to repeal the Animals Protection Act 1960

Title paragraph (a)(i): replaced, on 10 May 2015, by section 4 of the Animal Welfare Amendment Act (No 2) 2015 (2015 No 49).

Title paragraph (a)(ia): inserted, on 10 May 2015, by section 4 of the Animal Welfare Amendment Act (No 2) 2015 (2015 No 49).