Animal Welfare

REALGRADE LEATHER gives awareness to the stringent legislations in New Zealand.

MPI (Ministry of Primary Industries) is the New Zealand government body responsible for setting standards and ensuring compliance with animal welfare standards. This includes sustainable farming and ethical treatment of livestock, for the primary production and export of meat and other animal by-products.

Various measures and laws are in place to secure a highest standard of Animal Welfare in New Zealand:


Freedom from Hunger and Thirst
by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.
Freedom from Discomfort
by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease
by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
Freedom to Express Normal Behavior
by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
Freedom from Fear and Distress
by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

Animal Welfare Act 1999

The Animal Welfare Act 1999 is the main piece of animal welfare legislation in New Zealand that incorporates New Zealand high Animal Welfare standards.

The Animal Welfare Act 1999 applies to any “owner or person in charge of an animal”.  This includes the farmer, the transporter, and any facilities where the animals are kept and/or slaughtered.

Owner or person in charge of an animal has specific responsibilities to meet their animal’s physical, health and behavioral needs in accordance with both good practice and scientific knowledge.

The Animal Welfare Act, in addition to the five freedoms, includes these specific obligations:

Alleviate pain or distress:
An owner or person in charge of an animal that is ill or injured, must, where practicable, ensure that the animal receives treatment that alleviates any unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress being suffered by the animal.

Humane Killing:
It is an offence to kill an animal in a manner that causes unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.

Every person in charge of a vehicle in or on which an animal is being transported, must ensure…
… that the welfare of the animal is properly attended to.
… that, in particular, the animal is provided with reasonably comfortable and secure accommodation.
… that it is supplied with proper and sufficient food and water.

Surgical procedure:
No person may perform a surgical procedure in such a manner that the animal suffers unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.

International groups New Zealand is a member
  • Office International des Epizooties (OIE), World Organization for Animal Health (
  • The Trans-Tasman Animal Welfare Committee (AWC)
  • The Farm Animal Welfare Council (UK)
  • The New Zealand/European Commission Animal Welfare Co-operation Forum
  • The EU Welfare Quality Project
  • The Council for Europe Standing Committee of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes
  • The Quads Animal Welfare Group (New Zealand, Australia, USA and Canada)
  • European Forum of Animal Welfare Councils (EuroFAWC)
NZ Farm Assurance Programme

The NZ Farm Assurance Programme covers the audit and certification of sheep, beef and deer farms. This certification assists processors/exporters to maximize product eligibility for different commercial customers and supply programs as well as helping to meet domestic regulatory compliance requirements.

Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in the provenance and traceability of the food they buy and having confidence that the way it is produced meets their expectations. There is an increased call for products which have been ethically produced as well as being safe to eat. This demand from consumers is answered by buyers who now demand that their suppliers meet specific standards when it comes to production.

The NZ Farm Assurance Programme is being initiated to assure customers that farms in New Zealand all have a baseline quality standard.


Certified and trained staff

At the commencement of employment, after completion of the Induction, Department Supervisors are to review the training needs of employees, taking into account verifiable qualifications and prior experience.

Appropriate training will be arranged as and when required for individuals in the light of the tasks and duties they are expected to perform. On the job training is organized by the Department Supervisor. If any specialist training is required this is organized by the Health & Safety Coordinator.

Extra training is required for the positions of Key Person, Leading Hand, Quality Control, Team Leader and Supervisor.

NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing Act)

NAIT Ltd was established through a partnership between the beef, deer and dairy industries and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). NAIT Ltd is a subsidiary of OSPRI New Zealand Ltd. Currently it is working on all bovine and deer.

The purpose of the National Animal Identification and Tracing Act 2012 is to establish an animal identification and tracking system that:

  • provides for the rapid and accurate tracing of individual animals from birth to death.

  • provides information on the current location and movement history of individual animals.

  • improves biosecurity management.

  • manages risks to human health arising from residues in food, food-borne diseases, and diseases that are transmissible between animals and humans.

There are four main drivers for the NAIT system:

An effective livestock traceability system enables New Zealand to respond to a biosecurity incursion or exotic disease event by tracing suspect or infected livestock and locating, prioritizing and treating suspect or infected premises or animals.

Food safety
New Zealand provides assurance to local and overseas markets about food safety standards and product integrity through traceability of livestock and the associated property of origin.

Market assurance and access
New Zealand provides assurance to both local and overseas markets and customers of the attributes associated with livestock product integrity, for which traceability is a clear requirement.

Animal health surveillance
NAIT provides the ability to integrate animal health information and enable the monitoring, surveillance and management of both endemic and exotic diseases.

For further information and details please contact REALGRADE LEATHER.

REALGRADE™ Leather, Switzerland, Tel +41 62 206 20 80,