The Green Party today urged the Government to get its act together and investigate what can be done to protect New Zealand’s international reputation from plans to begin factory-farming dairy cows in New Zealand.
Prime Minister John Key has stated the Government does not support proposals to factory farm thousands of cows in the Mackenzie Country and agreed with the Green Party that New Zealand’s competitive advantage is our pastoral farming methods.
Earlier this week after questions from the Green Party in Parliament Mr Key indicated that the Agriculture Minister David Carter had asked the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) for urgent advice on the matter of factory-farming cows
Today Green Party Animal Welfare spokesperson Sue Kedgley pointed out the head of NAWAC confirmed that the animal welfare code will not be able to be used to stop factory-farming in New Zealand.
"The 2006 Code has a whole section on the housing of dairy cattle, and sets out only minimal conditions that would need to be met to be compliant with the code."
Ms Kedgley said cows can suffer hugely in factory farms. Cows standing on concrete for long periods experience lameness, stiffness, agitated behaviour and weight loss. The environment can also be uncomfortable and unhygienic for cows, and cause a build up of bacterial contamination, and mastitis causing organisms, if manure is not removed speedily.
Dr Norman reiterated an earlier call from the Green Party for the Government to use powers under the Resource Management Act to assess matters of national significance at a national level.
The Minister for the Environment can ‘call-in’ consent applications that have "aroused widespread public concern or interest regarding its actual or likely effect on the environment"