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Footage incriminates circus

Footage incriminates circus and MAF sparks calls for investigation

Calls have been made for an independent investigation into government animal welfare officials following damning allegations on TV3’s Campbell Live current affairs programme tonight. The programme accused Ministry of Agriculture animal welfare officers of failing to properly investigate a complaint of serious neglect at a New Zealand based circus that ultimately resulted in the death of a monkey.

National animal advocacy organisation SAFE has today renewed its outrage over serious failings within the Minister of Agriculture’s department to adequately enforce animal welfare legislation and called for the investigation.

SAFE campaigns director Hans Kriek said: “We believe the recent death of a young monkey at Whirling Brothers Circus was preventable. SAFE made a complaint to MAF about concerns we had for the monkey’s wellbeing and a week later the poor creature was dead. Had MAF officials properly followed up on this complaint, as they are legally required to do, the young monkey would probably still be alive.”

The code of welfare for circuses governed under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) stipulates minimum animal welfare standards that include animals being protected from extreme temperatures and provided with adequate shade. Clear protocols are in place to deal with animal welfare complaints.

“The evidence suggests that the circus ignored minimum animal welfare standards and that MAF, despite given prior warning, failed to prevent the animals death. It illustrates that circus animals are not adequately protected and breaches of animal welfare legislation go unpunished. This incompetence is not an isolated case and SAFE is appalled that MAF continues to fail in its duty of care to animals in New Zealand,” said Mr Kriek.

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