[3 July/Stuff]

A commissioner for animals could be possible when the Government attempts to improve animal welfare. Minister for Animal Welfare, Meka Whaitiri, released the framework for action on animal welfare a day after footage of a farmer abusing cows in a milking shed was made public. Ms Whaitiri said New Zealander’s took animal welfare seriously, and the framework set out a clear, transparent and inclusive approach to the issue. The framework was the result of eight months of discussions with stakeholders. One of the key ideas was ensuring those in charge of animals believed that animal welfare mattered. Federated Farmers Animal Welfare Spokesman, Chris Lewis, welcomed the idea but said it offered little that was new. Animal rights group, Save Animals from Exploitation, also encouraged the call for an independent voice for animals, but noted plans to establish it as part of the Ministry for Primary Industries was not the way forward.