Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

The Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (commonly abbreviated RNZSPCA or SPCA) is a New Zealand charitable society who work to provide food and shelter for abandoned and neglected animals and to promote humane treatment of animals.


The New Zealand SPCA was formed by settlers from England in 1882, inspired by the English Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in England which formed in 1824 after the passing of the Protection of Animals Act 1835, a law which the settlers bought with them during the colonisation of New Zealand, this law was later replaced by the Animals Protection Act in 1878. The society first formed in Dunedin, and was followed by the establishment of the Auckland and Wellington branches in 1883 and 1884 respectively. From this point onwards, smaller communities began to establish their own branch of the society. In 1933 the separate local societies joined together to form the national New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.cite web|url=|title=History|publisher=Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals|accessdate=2008-09-24] There are now 54 individual branches across New Zealand. [cite web|url=|title=Frequently asked Questions from kids - How did the SPCA begin?|publisher=Auckland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals|accessdate=2008-09-24] The society received royal patronage in 1840. In 2008 the society celebrated 125 years of continued service with a march up Auckland's Queen Street. [cite web|url=|title=SPCA celebrates 125 years of service|publisher=New Zealand Herald|accessdate=2008-10-05|date=2008-09-19]


The RNZSPCA and its sub-branches have initiated numerous campaigns in relation to animal welfare, usually in relation to education about humane treatment and to encourage changes in behaviour, however past campaigns have also been politically motivated with the aim of pushing through law changes or questioning the legality of certain practices. [cite web|url=|title=Campaigns|accessdate=2008-09-29|publisher=RNZSPCA] The charity group has, in the past, helped to lead campaigns against tail docking of dogs together with the New Zealand Veterinary Association and in opposition with the New Zealand Kennel Club. The SPCA claimed that tail docking is an outdated and cosmetic practice which offers no benefits but causes unnecessary pain to the animal. [cite web|url=|title=The Proposed Bill to Ban Tail Docking|publisher=NZKC|accessdate=2008-09-29|first=Beth|last=Warman] The Kennel Club purported that there was no scientific evidence to support any of the SPCA's claims and that tail docking should be up to owners' preference.cite web|url=|title=Dog welfare code targets tail docking|publisher=New Zealand Herald|date=2007-09-18|first=Jessica|last=Wauchop|accessdate=2008-09-29] No decision was ever passed into law. The group has also been involved in campaigns against treatment of livestock, including Battery hens and pigs kept in pens known as "Sow stalls", a crate which a pregnant sow is kept in for up to 16 weeks unable to move or turn around. [cite web|url=|title=SPCA upset at sow stall vote outcome|publisher=New Zealand Herald|accessdate=2008-09-29] [cite web|url=|title=Sutton warns pig farmers to end stalls|publisher=New Zealand Herald|last=Beston|first=Anne|accessdate=2008-09-29] Individual branches of the group have also been involved in unofficial campaigns, not directly recognised by the the national branch. A successful campaign by the Auckland arm of the organisation seen an end to rodeos at Auckland's Easter show. [cite web|url=|title=Rodeo animals 'just like family'|publisher=New Zealand Herald|date=2008-01-07|accessdate=2008-09-29|first=James|last=Ihaka] There has also been moves by key members of the organisation, such as Auckland SPCA chief executive Bob Kerridge, to have rodeos outlawed altogether. [cite web|url=|title=Mayor calls for ban on 'unacceptable, undignified and cruel' rodeos|publisher=New Zealand Herald|date=2008-01-04|accessdate=2008-09-29|first=Elizabeth|last=Binning] The group also ensure correct treatment of animals by providing disabled and elderly pet owners with a service called "Animeals on wheels" which provides food for those unable to look after their own pets, but depend on the animal for companionship. [cite web|url=|title=SPCA brings in 'Animeals on wheels' for pets|publisher=New Zealand Herald|date=2008-08-14|accessdate=2008-09-29|author=NZPA] The group supports pet insurance and offers its own policies. [cite web|url=|title=Pets have got it covered|date=2008-03-09|accessdate=2008-09-29|publisher=New Zealand Herald|first=Alice|last=Hudson]

The SPCA also works in conjunction with the New Zealand Department of Child, Youth and Family Services to ensure that in households where animal abuse is occurring, possible indications of child abuse are looked into and in return where child abuse is found to be occurring, animals are looked into for possible maltreatment. [cite web|url=|title=SPCA, CYF police each other's patches|publisher=New Zealand Herald|date=2008-09-16|accessdate=2008-09-29|first=Alanah|last=May Eriksen] The "One of the family" campaign was started in 2008, backed by New Zealand celebrity Norm Hewitt, in response to research indicating that a large percentage of criminals begin abusing animals in early life. [cite web|url=|title=Helping one, helps the other|accessdate=2008-09-29|last=Hewitt|first=Norm]

Part of the SPCA's recurring campaign is an annual "shame" list, exemplifying the fifty worst cases of animal abuse in New Zealand. [cite web|url=|title=List of shame|publisher=One of the family|accessdate=2008-09-29] The list is designed to bring public awareness to the abuse of animals and to alert the public to the social situations and the increasing number of children involved in the mistreatment of animals. [cite web|url=|title=SPCA's list of shame 'particularly gruesome'|publisher=New Zealand Herald|author=NZPA|date=2007-10-30|accessdate=2008-09-29]

Despite media reports to the contrarycite web|url=|title=SPCA Slams Inaccurate Funding Story|publisher=Scoop|date=2008-05-07|accessdate=2008-09-29|author=Royal New Zealand SPCA] the RNZSPCA asserts that they receive no Government funding and thus rely solely on fundraising campaigns and public donations. [cite web|url=|title=About Us|accessdate=2008-09-29|publisher=RNZSPCA]


The SPCA receives no automatic Government funding from the New Zealand Government, relying primarily on public donations, however has been given Government funding in desperate situations, such as during droughts. Fines as the result of prosecutions related to animal welfare abuse are often directed to be paid to the SPCA [cite news|publisher=New Zealand Herald|title=Owner fined for starving and dumping dog|date=2008-10-02] and the society often seek the cost of food and veterinary bills from offenders during legal proceedings. [cite web|url=|title=Arrest warrant out for former owner over cruelty to Eve|publisher=New Zealand Herald|accessdate=2008-10-05|date=2008-09-28|first=Edward|last=Gay]

Public reaction

The SPCA was criticised for a 2006 advertising campaign in which signs proclaiming that a sexual offender had moved into the area were posted around Auckland streets, the signs detailed that the offender had "violated females as young as 5-months old and is likely to re-offend" and gave a description of them as having grey hair and of wearing a silver medallion. The bottom of the signs read "Stop the kitty-fiddling" and encouraged pet owners to desex their pets, opponents to the campaign accused it of being in poor taste. [cite web|url=|title=SPCA’s Bad Taste Street Campaign|publisher=Spare Room|accessdate=2008-10-05] The results of a survey published in the 2007 Reader's Digest ranked the SPCA as the second most trusted charity, behind the Cancer Society. [cite web|url=|title=Parents trust firefighters, but want kids to be high-earning lawyers|publisher=New Zealand Herald|first=Juliet|last=Rowan|date=2007-05-29|accessdate=2008-09-29]

See also

* Animal welfare
* Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals


External links

* [ Royal New Zealand SPCA]

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