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Animal Welfare Act 1999

What is the law relating to animal welfare?

This is the Animal Welfare Act 1999. It is a very wide-ranging Act and deals with offences in the handling and management of animals (including fish and birds) in this country.

For a full guide to the Animal Welfare Act 1999, please visit the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) webpage on the topic here.

What are the more common offences?

Some of the more common offences that our Inspectors deal with include:

  • Failing to provide an animal with adequate food, water and shelter.
  • Deliberate acts of cruelty towards an animal.
  • Failing to seek necessary veterinary advice.

How can I help?


  1. Always set an example to others by showing kindness and thoughtfulness towards animals.
  2. Notify your local SPCA of injured or suffering animals.
  3. Join your local SPCA and participate in its activities.
  4. If you are already a member of the Society, encourage others to join. Finance and willing workers are always needed.