World Animal Protection joins SAFE’s call for an Animal Commissioner in Aotearoa

SAFE’s petition calling for an Animal Commissioner in Aotearoa has reached thousands of signatures since its launch on May 3, 2022. The petition highlights the need for an independent voice for animals at the highest level and is supported by groups animals across the country.

World Animal Protection is the latest to align itself with SAFE’s call for an animal commissioner. The international organization joins the main national stakeholders; the New Zealand Animal Law Association (NZALA), Helping You Help Animals (HUHA) and the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS).

SAFE CEO Debra Ashton said an Animal Commissioner will provide independent oversight, advice and accountability for animal welfare in Aotearoa.

“The current system is designed to benefit those who profit from the use of animals. Animals need independent representation that will defend their legal rights and ensure they have a voice under the Animals Protection Act 1999. Aotearoa Animal Protection.”

Animal welfare in Aotearoa is currently regulated by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) – the same government body tasked with improving agricultural productivity. This is clearly a conflict of interest. Decisions on animal welfare policy are made by industry stakeholders with a vested interest in benefiting from the use of animals. Other industries such as racing and rodeo are allowed to monitor their own animal welfare standards with little external oversight.

“Aotearoa has government bodies to represent the most vulnerable populations in society, including the environment. Animals, however, are not represented with an independent voice.”

Over 7,000 people have signed the petition for an Animal Commissioner with many animal groups across Aotearoa reaching out to show their support.

“SAFE is building a strong united front to represent animals and the appointment of an Animal Commissioner is an important first step.”

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