SPCA New Zealand
Who to call for concerns about livestock animals

Who to call for concerns about livestock animals

In a phased transition from 20 February 2023 through to 1 July 2023, MPI will become the lead agency for welfare calls in relation to abused, injured or neglected livestock animals (including cattle, deer, horses, sheep, pigs, goats, donkeys, llama/alpaca, emu/ostriches).

SPCA and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) collectively deliver Inspectorate services across all animal species around New Zealand. The rollout of this refreshed arrangement between the two organisations will apply nationally by 1 July, when all incoming welfare complaints in relation to livestock animals will be directed to MPI. The transition dates vary by region, and can be found below.

This refreshed agreement follows recent conversations about ensuring the sustainability of animal welfare compliance and enforcement systems across Aotearoa.

With MPI already responsible for commercially farmed animals and large numbers of animals on lifestyle blocks, this shift enables SPCA teams to prioritise companion animal welfare. The change applies to Inspectorate work only. We will continue with our field officer ‘ambulance’ response to these species, as well as education and advocacy to prevent animals from harm and so our work with these species does continue in another capacity.

From 20 February 2023, this shift took place in:

  • Southland
  • West Coast
  • Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman
  • Whanganui
  • Gisborne

From 1 April 2023, this will apply to:

  • Otago
  • Canterbury
  • Wellington
  • Wairarapa

From 1 July 2023, this will apply to:

  • All of New Zealand

If you have concerns about an animal being neglected or treated with cruelty, please contact the relevant lead agency for that animal.

FAQs about the changed arrangement

Q. What if there is a situation which had both cows and dogs for example (multi-species)?

This will happen occasionally as lifestyle block jobs often involve multiple species. There will be some cases where both companion animals and livestock animals are of animal welfare concern. This will involve a coordinated response, with lead agencies recording details of all species present, be they livestock species or companion animals. Usually the agency responsible for the predominant species will attend in the first instance. For example, if the caller expresses concerns for 10 horses and one dog at a property, MPI will initially attend. If the call is about five dogs and two goats, SPCA will initially attend. A coordinated or joint attendance by both agencies is also an option to be determined locally where necessary.

Urgency and severity will also be taken into account when determining which agency should lead the response. For example, if the 10 horses are of mild concern but the dog was injured, the SPCA may decide to respond immediately. There will be prompt notification between agencies when there are significant animal welfare concerns.

Q. Will SPCA be reducing your Inspectors?

We have no plans to do this and this shift will enable us to prioritise companion animal welfare. New regulations to address prolonged tethering of dogs (chaining) are up for public consultation in early 2023, and should the regulations change, there will be an increased need for our support to the many chained dogs we currently wish to help but cannot due to legislative restrictions.

Q. How will MPI look after the animals?

MPI operates under the same Animal Welfare legislation and therefore same, or similar, investigative outcomes will be reached. If you have any questions about this we encourage you to raise these directly with MPI.

Q. What happens when an SPCA Inspector finds acute welfare issues for livestock animals?

Animal welfare Inspectors hold a warrant for all species, so at SPCA we will not walk away from an acute welfare issue that MPI hasn’t already received calls of concern about. Where MPI are already involved or notified, this should be escalated through appropriate MPI channels to avoid duplication. If the welfare issue has no lead agency and SPCA is in attendance, we will respond with required veterinarian care before initiating the handover process to MPI.

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