Demand a Commissioner for Animals

Take action Demand a Commissioner for Animals
Justice for animals

Demand a Commissioner for Animals

In New Zealand, we take pride in upholding animal welfare. So, when animals like miniature horse Star (who died after being stabbed more than 40 times), are hurt or killed, we expect justice.

We have revolutionary animal welfare laws. We are also a nation of animal lovers who know that animals are sentient. They feel a full range of emotions, including curiosity and joy – and in 2015 our legislation recognised this.

There is a clear conflict of interest

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is responsible for enforcing animal welfare law on farms. Across the country, there are over 160 million farmed animals, but only 27 registered animal welfare inspectors. On its website, MPI lists its primary function as the promotion of New Zealand agriculture and exports. Because of this conflict of interest and under-resourcing, MPI’s crucial role in regulating animal welfare is treated as secondary.

SAFE and Farmwatch have repeatedly shown MPI’s incompetence when it comes to protecting farmed animals. SAFE and Farmwatch have followed up with witnesses who laid complaints with MPI and found they had not received a satisfactory response. On several of occasions, after providing MPI with footage of animal abuse, it was found that MPI only investigated these complaints after the footage was exposed in the media by SAFE.

Less than 1% of all complaints received by MPI ever lead to prosecution — this is far lower than other areas of criminal law. Compared with the money made from the export of animal products ($28 billion in 2018), MPI spends less than 0.02% of that figure on enforcing laws passed to protect them.

Animals on farms deserve better

We have independent Government agencies that ensure children’s wellbeing, ensure that people are safe at work, and ensure that those who break the law and pollute our natural environment are prosecuted.

We need a Commissioner for Animals that can be the voice for all of Aotearoa’s animals. It needs to be fully funded to investigate all animal welfare complaints so when people put animals at risk, it is investigated, and justice can be sought.

Take Action

Demand a Commissioner for Animals

Write a polite email to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor telling them why you want a Commissioner for Animals.

Key points you can make:

  • There is an urgent need to increase the number of trained animal welfare inspectors and for timely responses to all animal welfare complaints.
  • New Zealand’s revolutionary Animal Welfare Act 1999 is meaningless if it is undermined by a lack of enforcement.
  • It shouldn’t be left up to charities to expose and investigate animal abuse.
  • MPI must be stripped of its animal welfare responsibilities. Instead, a fully resourced, Commissioner for Animals with the power to regulate and enforce animal welfare must be created with a separate Minister in charge of this portfolio.

This email will be sent directly to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Emails are public information, if you would like to withhold any of your information please write so in your email.

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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.