Deer Code gets pressure cooked!

May 19, 2022

Work on the new Deer Code of Welfare has shifted up a gear, with the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) aiming to have public consultation on the document completed ahead of the coming velvet season.

The original Deer Code of Welfare was first issued in 2007 and apart from a couple of minor facelifts, has changed little since that time. As a result, a working group has been set up, with representatives from NAWAC, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the deer industry, to review the current draft and ensure that it meets regulatory requirements, public expectations and the needs of the industry.

“Given that the new code will be in place for at least the next ten years, it is important that it does not just reflect what is happening now, but looks forward to how the industry might develop in the future. In this respect, we are really lucky to have some excellent farmers on the group, as well as a couple of industry legends, in the form of Tony Pearse and John Tacon,” says DINZ general manager QA, Rob Gregory.

Rob Gregory: “It is important the Deer Code looks forward to how the industry might develop in the future.”

The working group has been meeting every two weeks since April to discuss the draft code and while the two-hour meetings have been intense, progress has been good.

“So far, there has been a real willingness to listen on the part of NAWAC and MPI, with some excellent suggestions being made from those outside of the industry,” says Gregory. “This reflects the leadership position that the deer industry has taken in the past when it comes to animal welfare and the fact that deer farmers on the whole are very progressive and proactive in their thinking.”

The working group is aiming to complete its review by early July, at which point the draft code will be considered in detail by the full NAWAC committee, before being presented to the Minister for Primary Industries, for approval to consult publicly.

“While we recognise that farmers have a lot on their plates at the moment, it is really important for them to have their say on the code when it goes out for public consultation,” says Gregory. “At the end of the day, it is a code for deer farmers, covering their animals, so it needs to be something that they can work and live with on a day-to-day basis.”

Details on how to make a submission on the Deer Code of Welfare will be released nearer the time.

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