#9 Commissioner for Animals
Appoint an independent Commissioner for Animals as an advocate for the welfare of all animals, including farm, companion and wild animals, and have a Minister for Animals sitting at the Cabinet table.
The Ministry for Primary Industries is responsible for animal welfare in New Zealand but this role conflicts with its primary purpose of promoting economic growth. A new position of Commissioner for Animal Welfare should be created so that one agency focuses solely on animal welfare. The office should be properly funded so that it can monitor animal welfare around New Zealand and intervene quickly in cases of cruelty and neglect.
At present, the Ministry for Primary Industries has only 56 animal welfare inspectors and this is completely inadequate to provide proper welfare responses to New Zealand’s 150 million farmed animals. The Commissioner for Animal Welfare should maintain a publicly-searchable database of prosecutions and convictions under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 so that farmers considering employing staff on farms can check whether prospective employees have been convicted of animal welfare offences. Fonterra should regularly check this database to ensure that farmers supplying milk to it are complying properly with animal welfare requirements.