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Commissioner for Animals Petition

Petition to appoint a Commissioner for Animals in New Zealand

We, the undersigned, call for the appointment of a Commissioner for Animals in New Zealand. 

We are calling on the House of Representatives to create a new role of a Commissioner for Animals, to review the animal welfare system, including regulations, report on the latest animal welfare science, and provide independent oversight and accountability for animal welfare in Aotearoa.  

We believe that decisions on animal welfare should be overseen by an independent representative, who can provide fair and impartial advice for the care of New Zealand’s animals. 

We are concerned that under the current system, the pursuit of profit and productivity overrides the legal rights of animals under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. We believe that animal welfare policy should be informed by scientific best practice and the values and expectations of society – not by industry stakeholders with a vested interest in profiting from the use of animals. 

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The following groups also support a call for a Commissioner for Animals

The Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand

Chained Dog Awareness New Zealand

Animals Aotearoa

Wellington Rabbit Rescue

The Community Cat Coalition Inc.

Join the call for a Commissioner for Animals in New Zealand

SAFE is calling for a Commissioner for Animals to transform the lives of animals in Aotearoa. 

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. 

Because industry interests should not undermine the legal rights of animals

As it stands, the people who write regulations for animals also profit from harming them.

Animal welfare is currently regulated by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) – the same Government body responsible for growing the agricultural sector. Animal welfare policy is driven by the Minister of Agriculture whose main priorities lie with increasing sector productivity. This is a clear conflict of interest. Under the current system, the legal rights of animals come second to financial gain.

We need a Commissioner for Animals to ensure that all practices and policies for the care of Aotearoa’s animals are developed without bias and are consistent with the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

Because animals in entertainment are not protected

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 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. As a result, animals suffer from distress, injury, cruelty and death.

A Commissioner for Animals would rectify these injustices and ensure that animals used for entertainment are afforded equal protection under the law.

J. McArthur

Because Kiwis care about animals

New Zealand is a nation of animal lovers, and we have high standards for how animals are treated. 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 like you, 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.

A Commissioner for Animals is an important step towards SAFE’s vision of a dedicated Ministry for Animal Welfare. With your help, we can be one step closer to a kinder Aotearoa where all animals are valued and respected.

Join us in making history for animals

Would your organisation like to support SAFE’s petition for a Commissioner for Animals? Get in touch today and help us give animals a voice.

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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.