Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Soft Sentencing On Animal Cruelty Mocks The Law


For immediate release: 18 June 2001


"Courts are handing down inadequate sentences for animal cruelty cases," says the Royal New Zealand Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"The 1999 Animal Welfare Act provides for substantially higher fines and prison sentences than did previous legislation. However, the Courts seem reluctant to apply penalties from the higher end of the scale, even when faced with appalling instances of cruelty," says RNZSPCA Chief Executive, Peter Blomkamp.

Mr Blomkamp cites a case heard in the Oamaru District Court on 30th May this year, concerning a farm donkey that had lost one of its hooves because of laminitis and chronic neglect. The stump that remained was raw, whilst the other front hoof had been allowed to grow to a length of approximately 25 centimetres and was curling upwards.

"In cases such as this, the 1999 Act allows the Courts to impose fines of up to $25,000 and to sentence those responsible to three months imprisonment. But, in this case, the Oamaru District Court opted for a fine of $250 or just one percent of the permitted maximum, along with costs," he says.

"The donkey had probably been in severe pain for months or even years as a result of its owner's callousness. Just imagine, if you or I had lost our foot and had to try and move around on a raw infected stump!

"We're disgusted at the lenient sentence handed out for such a blatant and prolonged example of animal cruelty. It makes a complete mockery of the legislation," adds Mr Blomkamp. ....CONT. The RNZSPCA has written to the Minister of Justice, the Hon. Phil Goff, expressing its concern over the Oamaru case and over other cases of judicial leniency in animal cruelty cases. The society plans to continue pushing for more rigorous application of the 1999 legislation.

"We've got to lose the mindset which says that animal cruelty is unimportant. If, as a country, we take an uncaring and irresponsible approach to defenceless animals, we will also end up taking a callous approach to our fellow humans, including children. There's enough evidence that we're already on the slippery path downwards in that respect," says Mr Blomkamp. "As far as cruelty to farm animals is concerned, New Zealand's soft approach to sentencing could also impact adversely on our agricultural exports, particularly in affluent markets which have a strong regard for animal welfare," he adds.

For further information, please contact:

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

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Zimbabwe: New Democracy, Or A False Dawn?

Gordon Campbell: Robert Mugabe = Hosni Mubarak. The current jubilation on the streets of Harare at the fall of Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe is genuine, and one hates to be negative about the country’s future. Yet the situation is eerily similar to the scenes in Cairo in early 2011, when a popular uprising swept Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election