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Royal NZ SPCA To Celebrate 75 Years Of Achievement


For release: 28 April 2008

Royal New Zealand SPCA To Celebrate 75 Years Of Achievement

Conference to bring unprecedented array of animal welfare experts to New Zealand


Leading international experts and advocates from the field of animal welfare will be gathering in Auckland later this week for the Royal New Zealand SPCA's 'Jubilee Conference'.

The gathering will mark the 75th anniversary of the founding, in 1933, of New Zealand's first nationwide animal welfare organisation.

Scheduled for Saturday 3rd May, the conference is to take place at SkyCity Convention Centre, where it will be officially opened by the Minister of Agriculture, the Hon Jim Anderton.

"Our conference will bring together what may well be the most distinguished group of animal welfare experts ever to visit New Zealand at one time. The event will provide a wonderful opportunity both to hear our speakers' individual contributions and to benefit from the exchange of ideas and experience," says the RNZSPCA's National Chief Executive, Robyn Kippenberger.

"It's highly appropriate for us to mark our 75th anniversary in such notable company, as we will be celebrating 75 years of significant achievement on behalf of our country's animals.

"The SPCA is part of New Zealand's essence, with local societies caring for animals, upholding the law and prosecuting offenders, since colonial times. However, the founding of our national organisation, in 1933, marked a great step forward in our ability to seek legislative change, to influence attitudes towards animals and to help build a more caring, compassionate and responsible country," she says.

"There is obviously much more to achieve. Almost daily, we read reports of shocking cruelty and callousness towards animals. There is also increasing recognition of the link between cruelty to animals and violent and abusive behaviour towards our fellow humans, including children. Reflecting on our past achievements should strengthen us in our resolve to keep working and speaking out on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves," Robyn Kippenberger adds.

Heading the stellar list of conference speakers will be Philip Lymbery, the British-based Chief Executive of 'Compassion in World Farming' and a renowned campaigner against inhumane farming practices and live animal exports.

Speaking on "global governance and animal welfare" will be Dr Ian Robertson, a noted New Zealand television vet in the 1980s, who is now a barrister, a United Kingdom resident, a lecturer in Animals and the Law at Leeds University and Director of International Animal Law.

From California, the conference is to welcome Michael Arms, who is President and Executive Director of the Helen Woodward Animal Centre and whose record of facilitating successful animal adoptions is arguably the best in the world.

Former All Black and "Dancing with the Stars" champion, Norm Hewitt, will be speaking about his work of presenting empathy education in intermediate schools throughout New Zealand on behalf of the SPCA's 'One of the Family' campaign. And New Zealand resident, American author, psychoanalyst and animal rights advocate, Jeffrey Masson, will be addressing a favourite theme,
" Animal emotions–Are they the same as ours?"

The conference's overseas speakers will also contribute to a President's Symposium on "Why animal welfare matters," at Auckland SPCA's Education Centre in Mangere on Friday 2nd May. Joining them on the panel will be Dr Hugh Wirth, a long-serving former president of RSPCA Australia and a Director of the World Society for the Protection of Animals.

The symposium, to be chaired by RNZSPCA National President, Peter Mason, will seek to explore what drives people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines to become involved in animal welfare and how this impacts on their lives.


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