UnitedFuture's response to questions about animal welfare policy and the Animal Agenda Aotearoa -
UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne replied stating that the issue of animal testing was complex. He said that his party saw limited animal testing as an unfortunate necessity to ensure New Zealand’s safety. The party strongly supported moves to find suitable alternatives to animal testing so that New Zealand could become an animal testing-free country.
Mr Dunne said that the issues of shelter and transport were also complex. He said that UnitedFuture strongly supported the need for adequate shelter and safe transport for animals. However, the issue of lambs dying in snowstorms was a vexed one with no viable solution. The only way to protect lambs from harsh weather would be to lamb them in sheds, which would greatly increase the risk of infectious disease. Given this, the party did not believe that it was appropriate for the Government to burden farmers further with legalities that would not achieve the desired outcome of decreasing lamb deaths.
United Future would rather see a significant increase in the number of animal welfare inspectors than the introduction of a Commissioner for Animals. Mr Dunne said the party agreed that there were too few inspectors nationwide.
The response said that the party disliked measures such as sow stalls, battery cages, farrowing crates and the like. UnitedFuture supported measures to move in the direction of outlawing such practices but was concerned that the problem not be transferred offshore. Mr Dunne said the party would not want to see intensive farming banned in New Zealand but meat products then being bought from overseas.
In relation to painful devices, UnitedFuture said that this was also complex. The use of electronic prodders and electronic dog collars sounded cruel and painful but was sometimes necessary in the rural sector. It was important to have clear rules and regulations around the use of such devices and severe penalties for misuse.
Mr Dunne said the party did not agree that animals used in entertainment suffered immense pain and psychological deprivation. However, UnitedFuture supported the need for enforced, stringent guidelines to ensure acceptable levels of animal welfare were met.