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SPCA Gets Tough On Animal Cruelty


For Immediate Release: 21 May 2001

SPCA GETS TOUGH ON ANIMAL CRUELTY

The Royal New Zealand SPCA is to take a tougher stance on animal cruelty.

The organisation's President, Peter Mason, says it's adopting a twin track policy of consultation and confrontation in dealing with a raft of animal welfare issues, including battery hens and sow crates.

"Over the years there has been an incredible amount of behind the scenes consultation taking place . As an organization we've consulted with all and sundry on just about every animal welfare issue.

"This could open the door to industries taking advantage of us by carrying on consultation on an issue, knowing that we will then hold back from campaigning on that issue," Mr Mason said in a speech to the RNZSPCA's annual conference in Auckland this weekend.

"Over the next five years, the challenge for us is going to be to identify issues that deserve a public campaign and then to run an effective campaign that brings results," he added.

Mr Mason cites current negotiations with the Pork Industry Board over sow stalls as a case where consultations may succeed, albeit that differences remain over the speed with which this inhumane method of pig production should be ended.

The Pork Industry Board has offered to complete phasing-out the stalls by 2012 but the RNZSPCA is calling for the process to be completed by 1st January 2006 at the latest.

According to RNZSPCA National Campaign Coordinator Hans Kriek, sow stalls involve approximately 20,000 adult sows throughout New Zealand being kept in areas measuring 200cm by 60cm each.

"They are unable to walk or turn round and are denied most basic behavioural needs, including rooting and socialising with other pigs. If this happened to a dog, the owner would be prosecuted and might end up in gaol.

"There's a good chance of reaching agreement with the industry on this issue, not least because pork producers know that, internationally, the writing is on the wall for sow stalls. European countries are getting rid of them and they're already banned in the United Kingdom," he says.

"If we can't reach agreement through negotiation, we anticipate tens of thousands of New Zealanders using their power as citizens and consumers to hold the industry to account," Mr Kriek adds.

Peter Mason describes the Pork Industry Board as negotiating in an open and amicable manner with the RNZSPCA.

"It's a new and welcome experience for us to have such good communications with part of the farming industry when consulting with them over a contentious issue. Perhaps this reflects an awareness of public opinion, which is increasingly sensitised to animal welfare issues.

"We would recommend this path of responsible negotiation to other branches of the industry, including battery hen farmers," he says.

For further information, please contact:

Peter Mason, President, RNZSPCA, 04 389 4609 or 025 461 680

Peter Blomkamp, Chief Executive Officer, RNZSPCA, 09 827 6094 or 025 277 1961

Hans Kriek, National Campaign Coordinator, RNZSPCA, 04 389 8044

Released by Ian Morrison of Matter of Fact Communications. Phone: 09 575 3223, Fax: 09 575 3220, Email: matfact@ww.co.nz

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