AGRICULTURE

Boost for animal welfare

Monday 5 May 2008, 3:17PM
By Hon Jim Anderton
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The SPCA is to receive $300,000 from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to help assist and advise on animal welfare following this year’s drought.

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton announced the contribution at the SPCA conference over the weekend. The conference celebrated the national organisation’s 75th jubilee.

Until now the only government funding SPCA receives is for training SPCA inspectors. SPCA’s involvement in farm animal welfare work has increased recently, especially because of the drought.

There are around a hundred SPCA animal welfare inspectors, many of whom are voluntary. Last year they received and investigated eleven thousand complaints about animal mistreatment, and laid nearly 200 charges against 84 defendants. The value to the government of SPCA’s animal welfare enforcement is estimated at $5 million a year.

“One impact of the drought that hasn’t had as much attention has been the effect on animals,” Jim Anderton said.

“Stressed farm conditions can put pressure on animal welfare conditions. At the very least it puts a higher priority on us to get out into the community and support farms to maintain a high standard of care for their animals. The SPCA has a leading role in this.

“I think this funding signals the Labour-Progressive Government's commitment to ensuring that the valuable work of the SPCA in making a difference to animal welfare in New Zealand is supported and continues.”

The funding for SPCA will come from savings within existing MAF baselines. MAF officials are due to meet with the SPCA on 13 May to finalise details of how the funds will be utilised.