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SPCA Top Education Appointment To Promote Welfare

5 September 2005

SPCA Top Education Appointment To Promote Welfare

The Royal New Zealand SPCA has signalled its resolve to raise understanding of animal welfare and to combat the mistreatment of animals, by appointing its first ever National Education Manager.

Taking up this new role is Sara Elliott, previously a lecturer at Auckland's UNITEC, where she was involved in training the Society's inspectors. A qualified teacher and veterinary nurse, Sara has worked in educational roles with a wide variety of age groups from toddlers to adults.

"It's incredibly important for young children to learn to care about animals and to know how to look after them. If, by the age of five or six, they have been taught to behave responsibly to animals, that knowledge will stay with them for life and help prevent both outright cruelty and the kinds of abuse which come out of ignorance" says Sara

"The SPCA is already providing an input into the educational system. We now need to expand and upgrade this input and ensure that it's always best practice that is being taught. In addition, we are seeking the inclusion of animal welfare education in the National Curriculum for schools, "she says.

Sara Elliott adds that education does not end when school days are over. She envisages an extensive adult education role, in cooperation with community and service organisations.

The Royal New Zealand SPCA's National Chief Executive, Robyn McDonald, describes Sara's appointment as a key ingredient in the organisation's strategy for raising New Zealanders' understanding of the proper treatment of animals and awareness of their needs. She adds that the caring for and nurturing of animals are known to set positive patterns of behaviour towards humans.

"We are especially grateful to our national sponsors, Whiskas and Pedigree, for providing the funding to enable this vitally important initiative. They are extremely supportive of our proactive educational endeavours," says Robyn.

"SPCA staff do wonderful work with abused, neglected or unwanted animals and our inspectors are increasingly successful in prosecuting animal abusers. However, instead of always dealing with the consequences of abuse, we would much rather be preventing it though education and the changing of attitudes. The fence at the top of the cliff is as important as the ambulance at the bottom!

"Sara is ideally qualified for spearheading our work in this vital area. She has huge experience of animal handling and animal welfare roles as well as being a highly experienced and accomplished educator. Sara is also passionate about the treatment of animals and has the strength of character needed in a demanding and innovative role. We are delighted to have her on board," says Robyn McDonald.

ENDS

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