Animal welfare

Information about animal welfare and accessing veterinary services.

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Concerned about animal welfare

If you’re concerned about an animal’s welfare call the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on 0800 008 333.

Veterinary services

If your animals need treatment, contact your own veterinary clinic. If you don't have a regular veterinarian, or yours isn't open, you can find nearby clinics on Find-a-Vet.

Find nearby clinics by going to Find-a-Vet (external link)

NZ Veterinary Association information including how to manage animals when in self-isolation (external link)

If you're self-isolating, you must contact your veterinarian before visiting them or they visit you including for production animals. This applies even if your animal is being presented by someone else.

Contact with animals

There remains no evidence that domestic animals, pets or livestock can spread COVID-19 and routine testing of animals for COVID-19 isn't justified.

However, it’s good practice to wash your hands before and after interacting with animals.

International advice is that, as a precautionary measure, people sick with COVID-19 should avoid contact with pets and other animals, as they would with people.

Where there's COVID-19 in a household, it's recommended that animals are not moved off the property.

Pet transport

Delivering an animal or domestic pet as part of a sale or adoption

Local region

Travel is allowed for essential personal movement in your area, including for accessing local services and businesses. When travelling to deliver an animal, such as a puppy, you'll need to ensure that safe practices are implemented. For example, ensuring a safe distance between all people involved in transporting and receiving the animal, and practicing good hygiene practices, such as hand washing.

Another region 

You cannot travel to another region to personally deliver an animal as part of a sale or adoption, as this isn't essential travel. However, transporting the animal as freight with a commercial pet transport company is available. This will likely be via land transport. Check with commercial providers.

Importing a cat or dog into New Zealand during Alert Level 3

There are no formal restrictions on the import of cats and dogs into New Zealand at present. However, international flight availability for the carriage of live animals is severely limited. In addition, it will be difficult for you to pick up your pet from the airport or the quarantine facility unless you live in the area because of travel restrictions.

You should contact a pet transporter to check whether your pet can be transported both to New Zealand and within New Zealand. Any travel plans within New Zealand will need to follow the general travel guidance under current alert levels.

Pets in quarantine and collection

If the quarantine facility where your animal is being held isn't in your local area, you should contact a pet transporter to check whether your pet can be transported to your hometown in New Zealand.


Visiting your horses during Alert Level 3

Travel to care for your animals, including horses, is allowed. This includes providing your animals with food, water, exercise, and any other aspect that you need to provide to meet your responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act and relevant codes of welfare.

If your animals are in another region that's not in your local area, try to get someone else you trust to provide care if possible.

Horses in other people’s care

If your horses are in other people’s care, such as at a stable or graziers, in your local area then you can visit them, with certain guidelines. 

  • You can visit your horses to provide them with care and exercise. You must maintain physical distance from others.
  • Riding is allowed, but should be done safely and as close to home as possible.
  • You should not use shared facilities.

If your horses are in other people’s care, and are not in your region, then you should avoid visiting them as they have care, and visiting them would not be classed as essential work.

Maintain hygiene and distance

Whenever you visit or exercise your horses, make sure that you maintain hygiene measures and physical distancing. A roster system for horse owners to visit the facility may be one measure that could be implemented to meet this requirement and to ensure contact tracing is easily achievable. The facility must record everyone that is working there, and every visitor and contractor who enters. Limit visits to what is necessary.

Farm animals

Under Alert Level 3, farming and other primary sector businesses and support services can operate, as long as they can do so safely.

Further information on farming (external link)

Doggy daycare, dog grooming, kennels and catteries, dog walking and other care services

Animal and pet care service businesses can operate at Alert Level 3 if they can meet safe practice requirements and can operate without physical contact with customers. Only workers are allowed on business premises.

Advice for businesses operating at Alert Level 3 — WorkSafe (external link)

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