Five Years of the 'New' Animal Welfare Regime: Lessons Learned from New Zealand's Decision to Modernize its Animal Welfare Legislation
27 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2006
In early 1999, New Zealand enacted, legislation that was said to make it a world leader in the recognition of animal interests by bestowing certain rights on non-human hominids, or as some have called them, the "great apes." Many hailed the proposed legislation as a major breakthrough and in an instant, New Zealand's reputation as an animal friendly haven, and a worldwide leader in the treatment of animals, was born. The reality is somewhat different. Not surprisingly, the legislation enacted to provide protections and "animal welfare" for farm animals received much less publicity than the sections addressing primates. Five years later, it is apparent that farm these animals have not fared nearly as well under this legislation as have the great apes. While in certain respects the Animal Welfare Act 1999 [AWA] was a step forward, the legislation has not exactly heralded a revolution for animal welfare in New Zealand.
This article will critically examine New Zealand's law governing the treatment of farm animals, and consider the progress - and lack thereof - made during the first five years under the AWA. It will focus upon "lessons learned" from the 'new' era of animal welfare that began with the enactment of the AWA, with the hope that these lessons will provide insight for animal advocates in jurisdictions contemplating similar changes.
Keywords: Animals, New Zealand, Welfare, Animal Rights, Great Apes
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