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SPCA shines election year spotlight on animals

Media release

11 March 2014

SPCA shines election year spotlight on animals

In an effort to put animal welfare firmly on the political agenda and in the minds of the voting public in time for Election Day, SPCA Auckland Executive Director Bob Kerridge has asked leading politicians from all parties to reveal their positions on animal welfare by mid April.

“I have written to politicians across the board asking them to provide details of their animal welfare policies and to identify their animal welfare spokesperson,” says Mr Kerridge.

“I have also asked them to disclose their positions on each item contained in the Animal Agenda Aotearoa, a list of the 10 agenda items considered critical to improving the humane treatment of animals in New Zealand, with a view to providing an informed and comparative poll for public consumption well prior to Election Day on 20 September.

“Animals play a hugely significant role in our lives economically and emotionally – with over 60% of our vital primary industry exports earned from the 37 million dairy cattle and sheep on our farms[1], to the 5 million companion animals who reside in 68 % of our homes[2]. The voting public is entitled to know which political parties acknowledge the importance of animals and have policies in place that will improve their wellbeing.

“And considering that 43% of New Zealanders believe not enough importance is currently placed on animal welfare and the prevention of cruelty[3], it is vitally important Kiwis can cast their votes for the parties and candidates that reflect their concerns.

“Now is the opportunity for New Zealanders to acknowledge the very real value of animals, to influence those responsible for their welfare, and to illustrate to the world that we are indeed a caring nation.”

Animal Agenda Aotearoa

1. Animal Testing – prohibiting the testing of party pills on animals and working towards an outright ban on testing on animals.

2. Sentencing – developing sentencing guidelines for animal cruelty offences and treating cruelty to animals as an aggravating factor under the Sentencing Act 2002.

3. The Link – recognising the link between animal cruelty, child abuse, and domestic violence, and including animals as “protected persons” under the Domestic Violence Act 1995.

4. Shelter & Transport – providing adequate shelter for all species of farmed animals and developing develop higher standards of stock transportation to ensure animal trauma is minimised.

5. Commissioner For Animals – appointing an independent Commissioner for Animals, modelled on those appointed to represent other vulnerable members of the community, such as children.

6. Surgical Mutilation – prohibiting surgical procedures such as docking of dogs’ tails, the shortening of cows’ tails, de-barking, ear cropping, de-clawing, etc.

7. Intensive Farming – abolishing all forms of intensive and battery farming practices, including sow stalls, farrowing crates, and battery cages, on or before January 1, 2017.

8. Painful Devices – prohibiting the sale, possession, or use of devices that inflict pain and suffering on animals, including electric shock collars, gin traps, electric prodders, fireworks, etc.

9. Animals In Entertainment – establishing stringent regulations for the use of animals in entertainment, including racing, marine parks, movies and television, rodeos, circuses, etc.

10. Sentience – incorporating in the Animal Welfare Act and the New Zealand Bill of Rights that animals are sentient beings capable of feeling, to ensure their right to a higher quality of life.

List of parties and politicians approached

National Party

Rt Hon John Key, Prime Minister

Hon Nathan Guy, Minister for Primary Industries

Labour Party

Hon David Cunliffe, Leader of the Opposition

Hon Damien O’Connor, Spokesperson, Primary Industries

Hon Trevor Mallard, Member, Government Administration Committee

Maori Party

Hon Tariana Turia, Co-Leader

Te Ururoa Flavell, Co-Leader

New Zealand First

Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader

Richard Prosser, Spokesperson, Agriculture

Andrew Williams

Green Party

Metiria Turei, Co-Leader

Dr Russell Norman, Co-Leader

Mojo Mathers, Spokesperson, Animal Welfare

United Future

Hon Peter Dunne

Act Party

Jamie Whyte, Leader

Hon John Banks

Don Nicholson, Spokesperson, Primary Industries

Mana Party

Hone Harawira, Leader

Conservative Party

Colin Craig, Leader


________________________________________

[1] Statistics New Zealand, 2012

[2] Galaxy Research for New Zealand Companion Animal Council, 2011

[3] Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (now Ministry for Primary Industries), 2011

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