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Starving Farm Animals Shock RNZSPCA

ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

For Immediate Release: 21 August 2001

STARVING FARM ANIMALS SHOCK RNZSPCA

The Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is horrified by the fate of our country's starving farm animals. "We've been deeply disturbed both by local media reports and by what our own inspectors have witnessed concerning emaciated livestock in many parts of New Zealand," says SPCA Chief Executive Officer, Peter Blomkamp.

"No doubt, some of the suffering endured by underfed animals can be ascribed to weather patterns, particularly in drought-stricken parts of the South Island. But, there as elsewhere, there will be farmers who have overstocked with drastic consequences for their animals.

"We were particularly shocked by recent reports from Northland of hungry pigs eating the carcasses of cattle that had starved to death. It's barely conceivable that this should have been allowed to happen in one of our lushest provinces," he says.

Mr Blomkamp says that Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry staff are performing a valuable service in helping farmers cope with the animal feed crisis and adds that the RNZSPCA is also helping where possible. But farmers, he warns, need to monitor the condition of their livestock closely and seek help rather than waiting till their stock is on the verge of starvation.

"Most farmers take a responsible approach to animal husbandry. However, for its own sake, New Zealand's farming community needs to become more consistent over how it cares for its animals and the precautions it takes to reduce the impact of feed shortages, such as we are currently experiencing as a result of drought conditions.

"In some of our most significant overseas markets, consumers are increasingly focussed on animal welfare issues. Our export trade would certainly feel the pinch if photographs of starving New Zealand sheep or cattle began appearing in newspapers in these countries," Mr Blomkamp adds.

For further information, please contact: Peter Blomkamp Chief Executive Officer 09 827 6094 025 277 1961 Released by Ian Morrison, Matter of Fact Communications Tel: 09 575 3223, Fax: 09 575 3220, Email: matfact@ww.co.nz

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