Proposed animal welfare regulations on significant surgical procedures

Closing Date:
Contact: Animal welfare policy team


1 May 2020 – Postponed introduction of new rules for some surgical procedures on animals

The introduction of new criteria in the Animal Welfare Act 1999 to define significant surgical procedures, and regulations to specify who can perform them on animals has been postponed.

Most of the new rules were intended to come into force on 9 May 2020.

However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual communication with affected communities could not be done.

For this reason, Parliament has passed a law to postpone the introduction of the new rules until our usual programme of communication can be rolled out.

The new criteria for a significant surgical procedure will now come into effect on 9 May 2021 at the latest. However, we will work to introduce the new criteria and the supporting regulations as soon as it is practical to do so.

The law to allow for the delay is called the COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Other Regulatory Urgent Measures) Act.

16 December 2019 – New rules for surgical procedures on animals from May 2020

Following this consultation, the Government has approved the regulatory policies for the new rules. The detail of the regulatory policies is set out in the document Significant surgical procedures regulatory policies. These regulatory policies are being drafted into regulations under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

Most of the regulations are expected to come into force from 09 May 2020, with some expected to come into force from 09 May 2021. Because the new rules cover a wide variety of surgical procedures carried out on a wide range of animals, people who own animals, are in charge of them, or work with them should check the Significant surgical procedures regulatory policies document to see if they need to change what they do or the way they do it.

Find out more

Significant surgical procedures regulatory policies [PDF, 1.4 MB]

Media release

New rules for surgical procedures on animals from May 2020

Consultation background

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) asked for public submissions on proposed rules for significant surgical procedures on animals, which would be regulations under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

Submissions opened on 13 June and closed on 24 July 2019.

We also held 7 public meetings around the country as well as targeted consultations with stakeholders.

MPI received over 1,300 submissions from a wide range of stakeholders.

We will later publish the submissions and a summary of them.

Consultation documents

Related information

Submissions are public information

Any submission you make becomes public information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make the information available unless there is a good reason for withholding it. You can find those grounds in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission (such as commercial sensitivity or personal information). Any decision MPI makes to withhold information can, however, be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may require the information be released.

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