Animals in Aotearoa

Our work Animals in Aotearoa
Animals in Need

Animals in Aotearoa

Aotearoa New Zealand is a nation of animal lovers, however, the scale of suffering faced by animals, particularly farmed animals, is immense.
Together with our supporters, SAFE is driving positive change on a massive scale. Stand with us as we create a kinder Aotearoa for all animals.

Animals in farms


Pigs are highly intelligent, social animals that suffer mentally and physically when kept in intensive production systems. Most of the pigs that are killed for pork, bacon and ham are confined in factory farms.


Hens are curious and socially complex birds who can understand cause and effect, and can anticipate and plan. They are unable to express their natural behaviour and therefore suffer when crammed inside wire cages to produce eggs.

Chickens bred for meat

Despite loving new experiences, being clever and able to recognise 100 other individuals, chickens bred for meat are denied the things that would make their lives worth living. They are also selectively bred for extremely fast growth, leading to millions of them suffering severe health problems including heart failure and painful lameness.

Farmed fish

While fish may seem so different to us and other mammals, they are sentient animals that deserve our respect as much as any other. It is time to let them off the hook.

Cows and their calves

Many people don’t realise that a cow used in the dairy industry needs to give birth in order to produce milk. What her life is like, and what happens to her new-born calf, are some of the dairy industry’s darkest secrets.


Most turkeys are kept in similar conditions to chickens intensively reared for their meat and are unable to express natural behaviours such as flying, nesting, roosting in trees, and living in stable social groups.


Ducks are farmed for both their meat and eggs in New Zealand and ducklings raised for meat have similar welfare concerns as chickens and turkeys bred for meat. Each bird shooting season, these beautiful waterfowl face death and injury.

Live export trade

Like most New Zealand cows, she starts her life in a grassy paddock. If she is selected for live export, she leaves her familiar herd behind and begins a harrowing journey to a country with few, if any, animal protection laws.


In New Zealand we love animals, and we value our natural environment. There is a future for New Zealand where both these values can be realised, but it means we need to end the use of feedlots.

Shade and Shelter for Animals

Many of us consider access to shade and shelter to be a basic right, so why are so many animals subjected to inadequate protection from the elements, leaving them vulnerable to the harsh New Zealand climate?

Animals in entertainment

Horse racing

Horses are gentle, social, trusting animals. Behind racing’s glamorous image horses suffer -— both on the track and in training. They are then discarded when no longer profitable.

Bird shooting

Ducks and other birds are popular visitors to our parks and other open areas. This peace is disturbed during bird shooting season by the sounds of gunfire, which results in the death and injury of huge numbers of both native and introduced species.

Greyhound racing

Greyhounds are just like other dogs, affectionate and playful. Racing puts them at risk of death and injury on the track and they are discarded when they stop being profitable. The New Zealand greyhound racing industry kills almost one dog a day.

Fishes in captivity

Just like zoos, aquariums and marine parks do not allow aquatic animals to display normal patterns of behaviour, such as swimming vast distances, searching for food and forming natural social structures. Fishes and aquatic animals belong in the wild.

Zoos and wildlife parks

Animals in zoos and wildlife parks are prevented from doing what is natural to them — basic behaviour such as roaming their territories, choosing a mate and deciding what and when to eat. Lacking stimulation and appropriate social interaction, many animals show signs of severe stress and boredom.


Many people don't know that every summer around 30 rodeos are held in New Zealand, bullying animals for the entertainment of a minority. More and more caring Kiwis are calling for this outdated form of animal abuse to be consigned to the history books.

Animals used in experiments

Animal testing

Animals differ from us in the way their bodies function, so the results of experiments on them may not apply to humans. While some research is non-invasive, some experiments cause extreme suffering and many animals are killed at the end of the research.

Animals bred as companions

Fishes in captivity

Fishes are beautiful, fascinating and mesmerising to watch, which is why many people keep them on display in tanks and aquariums. Fishes outnumber all other companion animals in New Zealand, with 1.37 million fishes in households across the country.

Puppy mills

Commonly referred to as puppy mills, puppy breeding farms are commercially run dog breeding facilities where as many as one hundred animals of different breeds are confined. Many puppy mills have been exposed as keeping the animals in conditions which cause suffering.

Animals used for clothing

Sheep used for wool

Sheep are smart animals capable of problem solving. They are nearly as clever as pigs, who in turn are smarter than dogs. Sheep and their lambs commonly suffer extremes of heat and cold in paddocks without shelter and may be injured during shearing and other farm practices.

Animals used for fur

Despite huge opposition to the cruel fur trade, each year more than 75 million animals worldwide are trapped or farmed by the fur industry so they can be worn. In New Zealand an expanding possum fur industry is developing, with these animals caught in traps, shot or poisoned.

Our planet

Intensive Farming

New Zealand is proud of its clean, green image. But our waterways, land and reputation are under threat from the intensive farming of over 130 million land animals. Millions of fish are also confined in cages, leading to water pollution and suffering for the individuals farmed in this way.

Free-range Farming

Many people are choosing free-range eggs and meat because they hope free-range animals have a better life than those kept in intensive factory farms. However there are welfare concerns with all forms of animal farming and the animals are killed far short of their natural lifespan.

Animals Labeled as Pests

A war is being waged on unwanted introduced animals, including possums, feral cats, rabbits, deer, rats and mice, hedgehogs and stoats. 1080 is a cruel and indiscriminate poison that is widely used. These animals are also trapped and shot.

Animal Welfare Act

The Animal Welfare Act is the law that is supposed to protect every animal in New Zealand. The law is based on five freedoms that would actually do a lot for animals – if the Act fulfilled its promise.

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Help us continue helping animals in need

As a charity, SAFE is reliant on the support of caring people like you to carry out our valuable work. Every gift goes towards providing education, undertaking research and campaigning for the benefit of all animals. SAFE is a registered charity in New Zealand (CC 40428). Contributions of $5 or more are tax-deductible.