Recent footage of a Northland farm worker abusing dairy cows has been roundly condemned by farmers, industry and animal activists alike.
The New Zealand Veterinary Association says behaviour that fails to protect the welfare of animals also applies to situations where animals' basic needs are not met.
Chief veterinary officer of the NZVA Helen Beattie explains that the basic needs are covered in the Animal Welfare Act.
They include proper and sufficient food, water, shelter, the ability to display normal patterns of behaviour, and physical handling in a manner that minimises unnecessary distress.
It's about making sure the key needs [humans] want are also afforded to our animals.
Ms Beattie says improvements in the way we view animal welfare is moving at "warp speed."
However, the disconnect between an urban and rural understanding of farm animals needs are vastly different.
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NZVA work with MPI fronting calls about animal abuse, and Ms Beattie says it can sometimes be difficult balancing those differing views.
Watch the full interview with Helen Beattie above.