Sense from O’Connor

June 4th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The SPCA and SAFE even struggled to get support from Labour at select committee with West Coast MP Damien O’Connor pointing out the injuries from rodeo were no different to those suffered on the rugby field.

“My experience of the rodeo is that the calf ran off very happy and I ended up in hospital, so I was the one who suffered harm, which is often the case.”

O’Connor said it made no sense that cage fighting “with its questionable ethics” was acceptable but it was rodeos that people were trying to ban.

“The injuries that might be listed (from rodeo) – broken bones, legs, necks, damaged eyes, torn muscles – that all happens on the rugby field….many of those animals in the rodeo live a lot longer than they would otherwise in a normal farming system.” 

As Damien says, it is not the animals that tend to get injured!

Guy said rodeos were an “important part of New Zealand society” and had been “functioning well here for 40 years”

“My concern around banning rodeos is where do you go next? Is it races, is it circuses, is it zoos?”

No doubt they are next.

A good Green policy

February 17th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Green Party is urging Parliament not to be the first in the world to vote on the practice of testing cosmetics on animals and choose to continue it.

Green MP Mojo Mathers has introduced proposed amendments to the Government’s Animal Welfare Amendment Bill,which is likely to come before the house this week. 

It would see the testing of cosmetics on animals completely banned, although animal testing does not occur in New Zealand anyway.

But the amendments would not extend to imported products that have been tested on animals overseas. 

I support this Green Party policy. Testing on animals for cosmetics is nasty. Testing for medical reasons or safety is a “necessary evil” but testing for cosmetics is different.

NZ top for animal protection

December 16th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

World Poultry reports:

Just four countries – New Zealand, the UK, Switzerland and Austria – are deemed worthy of the highest ‘A’ rating in the Animal Protection Index issued by the UK-based World Animal Protection (WAP) organisation.

WAP’s overall rankings are based on a wide range of indicators relating not only to farm animals, but also to animals in captivity, pets and animals used in scientific research.

The Animal Protection Index findings are presented on an interactive website atwww.worldanimalprotection.orgwhich assesses standards, policies and legislation in some 50 countries around the world.

Animal protection rankings are made from A = highest, to G = lowest.

Australia is a C, US a D. Good to be one of just four countries with an A rating.

Legal high testing on animals

May 21st, 2013 at 7:52 am by David Farrar

HUHA have announced:

We would love it if those of you who are able could join us and stand up for the animals as the “Leave Animals out of Legal High Testing” Petition is handed over at parliament. HUHA supporters will be congregating at the war memorial on the corner of Bowen and Lambton Quay from 12.30 today Tues 21st May, then proceeding up to Parliament for the handover of the petition at 1pm (We will have HUHA tee’s to buy of to borrow available). If you are in the Auckland region please join our wonderful HUHA supporters and some of the rescued VARC Beagles at 12.30pm at Pohutukawa Drive, Cornwall Park, Auckland. Please bring your family, friends, colleagues and if you are able your dogs……lets show parliament we must not just be heard, but listened too!!!

I don’t have a problem with using animals for medical research, but that is rather different to using them to test the safety recreational drugs.

Read & Weep

November 5th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The SPCA list of shame:

  • In Woodville, Palmerston North a husband and wife kept 161 cats and 87 dogs in extreme circumstances.
  • In Wellsford two men shot 33 dogs and puppies one by one
  • A 20 year old Kaikoura man who bludgeoned to death 25 seals, including newborns pups, with a metal pipe
  • A 40 year old Waikino Farmer has been convicted over the ill treatment of dairy cows. The man was sentenced to 10 months home detention for breaking 115 of the 135 herd cow’s tails and hitting them on the hind legs with a steel pipe causing broken legs and swollen and infected joints in a number of the cows.
  • In South Auckland an emaciated puppy was dumped in a box at the end of a drive way in Manurewa. The puppy was unable to stand or walk and the puppy’s bones could be seen through its skin.
  • In Te Atatu, Auckland a 3 year old silver tabby was found outside an archery club with an arrow that had been fired into his head which went through the back of the head and out near its eye with the arrow still protruding when found.
  • In Timaru a beloved family cat was found deliberately cut up outside her Waimataitai home. The 17 year old cat was found nearby a beheaded hedgehog. Police considered the case as being premeditated and sadistic.
  • In Rotorua the owner of a Shar Pei cross threaded a climbing carabiner through the neck of the dog, a chain was clipped to this and then attached to the dog’s kennel. The owner also claimed he took it for walks like this.

I find pet abuse as inexplicable as child abuse – it goes against all the instincts that most human beings have.

You can donate to the SPCA here.

I’m unhappy again

November 28th, 2010 at 11:08 am by David Farrar

This seems to be my week for being very unhappy with the Government. This story actually offends me even more than the electoral finance changes. the electoral finance changes were at least made for the right reasons – to get bipartisan agreement on electoral law.

But this story in the HoS by David Fisher makes my blood boil, if it accurately reflects the situation.

Readers may recall that earlier this year the Government banned certain methods of killing animals, which included shechita – the traditional Jewish method, which is necessary to have food as “kosher”.

I’d not commented on the issue previously as I felt a bit conflicted. I don’t believe in religious beliefs trumping laws, but I do think it is desirable to try and allow communities to practice traditional beliefs – within limits.

If it was purely an issue of animal welfare. I was content to leave it to the  Government to find that balance between animal welfare and traditional practice. I’m not an expert on either.

But the article reveals:

A farming company part-owned by a Cabinet minister was able to give him a briefing about how the Government could protect its lucrative trade with Muslim countries by banning Jewish slaughtering.

This is where my blood boils. That it appears it was not animal welfare, but appeasing foreign Governments, that was part of the motivation for the law change. Now the Minister can’t control what people who lobby him say in their submissions to him, but what is disappointing is that he then referred to those concerns in documents to other Ministers.

Carter was being sued by the Auckland Hebrew Congregation for changing the law in May to make traditional Jewish slaughter of animals illegal. The case was set to begin in the High Court at Wellington tomorrow – until an embarrassing backdown by Carter who on Friday overturned the ban he asked Cabinet to support.

The practice of shechita on poultry was declared no longer illegal while the Government also agreed to negotiate the ban on sheep. New Zealand Jews will still have to import beef from Australia, where shechita is allowed.

Good to see a compromise. But my concern is not whether there is a ban or not, but about what was driving the ban.

Carter did not respond to requests for an interview.

In a statement he said: “Claims that business interests determined my decision on the Commercial Slaughter Code of Welfare are totally baseless. Animal welfare was the primary consideration in making this decision and I have said many times that animal welfare is a priority of mine.”

There is considerable wriggle room between trade interests “determining my decision” and “animal welfare was the primary consideration”. That does not rule out that trade interests were a strong secondary factor which influenced the decision, even if not determining it.

Animal cruelty bill to be fast-tracked?

January 31st, 2010 at 10:39 am by David Farrar

The SST report:

TOUGHER PENALTIES against those who harm animals look certain to be fast-tracked after Prime Minister John Key last night said his government would consider the controversial issue at Tuesday’s caucus meeting.

A spokesman for Key said: “The prime minister has been appalled by the recent animal cruelty cases.”

Key’s intervention means the government is likely to adopt National MP Simon Bridges’ private member’s bill, which proposes increasing the maximum jail term for animal cruelty from three years to five. If the government fails to act, Bridges’ bill could be debated in parliament only if it is drawn, lottery-style, from a ballot.

Key’s spokesman indicated the government would move quickly. “The government supports ensuring we have appropriate measures to deal with these issues. The Simon Bridges member’s bill will be considered for adoption as a government bill at an upcoming caucus.”

Another option would be for Simon to seek leave of the House for its introduction, without going through the ballot. It may well be possible no MP would object, considering the recent court cases.

Labour leader Phil Goff yesterday said the opposition would support Bridges’ bill to the committee stage, where it can be debated, and amended if necessary.


Greens co-leader Metiria Turei had signed the Paw Justice petition and is likely to support Bridges’ private member’s bill, and Act leader Rodney Hide supported tougher penalties because “the next step after cruelty to animals was cruelty to humans”.

Also good. That indicates there may be a reasonable chance of getting leave to introduce it straight away.

Dom Post on animal cruelty

January 18th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

The never-ending litany of what human beings do to animals every year in this country makes the average person feel sick. But a group of people delights in the thought – and the act – of torturing animals, sometimes someone else’s pet.

If National’s Tauranga MP, Simon Bridges, is lucky, such persecutors will face greater jail time in future. When Parliament resumes, he will put into the members’ ballot a private member’s bill to increase the maximum penalty for wilful ill-treatment of animals from three, to five years’ imprisonment.

His rationale is simple. “A tougher penalty,” he says, “would … be in line with increasingly clear research that those who do serious harm to animals are much more likely to perpetrate family, as well as other violence. In addition, the research shows that psychopathic offenders, often as first offending, demonstrate a propensity for cruelty through abuse of animals”.

Mr Bridges is right. The FBI in the United States has recognised the connection since the 70s, when it analysed the lives of serial killers.

Such individuals have their wiring seriously mucked up. I can understand why people commit most crimes, but can’t understand how anyone can get pleasure from torturing animals.

It is to be hoped Mr Bridges has the luck of the Greens in having his bill chosen from the ballot. Or he might be able to persuade ministerial colleagues whose portfolios touch on the subject – such as Corrections Minister Judith Collins or Agriculture Minister David Carter – to sponsor his measure as a Government Bill. This initiative is overdue and such support would give it heft.

It will be good to see the penalties increased, regardless of how it happens.

Harsher penalties for animal cruelty

January 2nd, 2010 at 9:14 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A first-term National Party MP is seeking cross-party support for a law change for harsher penalties in cases of extreme cruelty to animals.

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges has drafted a private member’s bill to raise the maximum penalty for wilful ill-treatment under the Animal Welfare Act from three to five years in prison.

Mr Bridges said tougher penalties for animal abuse were backed by research showing cruelty to animals was an early warning sign of more psychopathic violence later in life.

Murderer Antonie Dixon was an example of this, said Mr Bridges.

“It is time to get tough on really serious animal cruelty. The public’s attitude has hardened on this and so should court sentences,” said the former Crown prosecutor.

“This is about sending a message that Parliament thinks this offending is abhorrent to our society. It’s more than not okay, it’s an outrage.”

I hope all parties will support this bill, if selected. Increasing the maximum penalties is the only way to send a message to Judges that they should increase the penalties they are handing out, which are too light in my opinion:

For example, Wayne Williams, 34, was sentenced to four months in jail for beating his partner’s dog with a metal pole before strangling it to death.

And Peter James Cooksley, 48, shot a cat with a crossbow bolt through the abdomen for entering his house – but was fined just $500. Mr Kerridge said many acts of animal cruelty were committed by people to torment their partners, including a case where a man was sent to prison for 2 months for throwing three kittens against a wall.

The longest sentence ever given out has been 12 months, reduced to 10 months on appeal.

Video anti live sheep exports

May 21st, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

As treatment of animals is in the news.

A reader writes on pig farming

May 19th, 2009 at 9:25 am by David Farrar

A reader sends this in:

Firstly though, I’d just like to point out the MASSIVE difference between dry sow stalls and farrowing crates.

The latter are used for only a 5-6 week period, generally a few days before giving birth, and around a month afterward. As you will read below, the primary purpose for these is to protect piglets prior to weaning. You can’t imagine the horror of finding a sow who has rolled on, and killed all of her newborns. These are incredibly large and heavy pigs, and quite honestly will squash anything smaller than a 10 week old pig like a pancake. I know because I’ve had to clean it up. Typically a sow will have around 1.5 pregnancies in a year, so on average will have around 9 weeks in a farrowing crate. It isn’t ideal, but better than the alternative.

Dry sow stalls are a totally different kettle of fish. These all sows are kept in all the time (hence the term, dry) I’ll take the opportunity now to tell you that neither of our farms have them – one is free range, the other is more intensive but contains a large, well ventilated dry sow shed, with plenty of straw and plenty of room. If you want to see an example, try googling “ecoshelter”. I won’t defend dry sow stalls, as it is difficult to do so. I don’t support their use. There are other options, even on a relatively intensive farming operation. However, the Pork Board are right to say you cannot just ban overnight. What you need is a period of phasing them out – ten years perhaps. That may seem like a long time, but the costs are incredibly high.

My main concern about groups like SAFE etc, is that they are unable to differentiate between farrowing crates, and dry sow stalls. I hope I have managed to explain the difference to you above (and below).

The other thing I would note is the TVNZ piece. Two points about Mike King’s “disgust”. Firstly – yes the pigs were screaming. Why? It was the middle of the night or early morning. The pigs had been left alone and were suddenly woken by human activity. What does this usually mean for them? Quite simply – feeding time. Free range pigs have EXACTLY the same reaction. If King and his companions ahd fed the pigs the screaming would have stopped. Guarantee it. Secondly – the chewing of bars and frothing of the mouth? Again, it is completely standard across all pigs. They chew things. Free range pigs it’ll be tree branches etc, for pigs in stalls or crates it’ll be bars. And yes, they froth. Christ, you should see them when they mate!

I find the last paragraph very interesting.

On a related note this video is referred to in this story at about the cull of pigs in Egypt in response to swine flu.  I warn you the video is highly sickening and not for the faint hearted.