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SAFE is urging animal advocates around the world to join them in making history by signing their petition urging Parliament to appoint a Commissioner for Animals in New Zealand. 

‘Under the current system, the legal rights of animals come second to financial gain. Animals need an independent Commissioner to represent their voices and uphold their legal rights under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. There are Government bodies to represent vulnerable members of our community, including children and the environment. Animals are not represented in Parliament. It’s time to give animals a voice’.

SAFE’s call for a Commissioner for Animals is supported by leading animal organisations World Animal Protection New Zealand, Helping You Help Animals (HUHA), New Zealand Animal Law Association (NZALA), and Vegan FTA partners the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS).  The campaign, launched this month has already had a massive outpouring of support and organisations and individuals have been quick to join the call for change, including The Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand, Animals Aotearoa and Chained Dog Awareness NZ who said, “There are 851,000 dogs in New Zealand and the majority of the 259,103 unregistered dogs are life chained/contained.”

A direct conflict of interest

“The Animal Welfare Act 1999 was designed to give all animals in New Zealand a set of basic legal rights.  However, the people who develop animal welfare regulations are also responsible for growing agriculture,” SAFE told Vegan FTA.  

Animal welfare is currently regulated by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).  This Government body oversees the welfare of farmed animals and animals used in research, however, it is also responsible for growing the agricultural sector. Racing and rodeo industries are allowed to monitor their own animal welfare standards. This is a direct conflict of interest. As a result, millions of animals are suffering in conditions that breach their legal rights. Systematic abuse runs rampant on farms, in laboratories, on racetracks and in rodeo arenas.  

Protection sought for animals in entertainment

The Animal Welfare Act 1999 is not properly enforced for animals used for entertainment.  Thousands of animals are harmed on racetracks and rodeo arenas for the entertainment of a small minority.  These activities inherently breach the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and the physical, health and behavioural needs of animals.  MPI turns a blind eye to rodeo abuse, and the racing industry can create and monitor their own animal welfare standards with little external oversight.  

‘Internationally, New Zealand is praised for having robust animal welfare standards, but in practice, our legislation is not being adequately enforced. The enforcement system depends on animal charities and caring individuals to monitor compliance with the law and hold people accountable for animal cruelty. Less than 1% of animal welfare complaints made to MPI ever lead to prosecution.

We need a Commissioner for Animals to provide impartial oversight, advice and accountability for animal welfare in New Zealand; to give animals a voice and ensure their legal rights are protected’.

TAKE ACTION – Join the call for a Commissioner for Animals in New Zealand Add your voice to the petition here https://safe.org.nz/petition-commissioner/