INDEPENDENT NEWS

"Voice Of The Voiceless" Appeals For Help

Published: Mon 3 Nov 2003 10:25 AM
"Voice Of The Voiceless" Appeals For Help
The Royal New Zealand SPCA is appealing to the public for funds needed to care for the nation's animals.
New Zealand's largest and longest-established animal welfare organisation is to hold its Annual Appeal from November 4th to November 11th, against a background of increasingly strained resources.
"There are ever more abandoned animals in need of shelter, food and care and this is placing a huge demand on local SPCA shelters from one end of New Zealand to the other, " says Chief Executive, Peter Blomkamp, noting that modern social trends, including the frequent break-up of families, can all too often result in unwanted pets being left for looking after by the SPCA.
"We are also receiving an increased volume of complaints from members of the public concerning animal cruelty. To a great extent, this reflects increased sensitivity over the needs of animals on the part of many New Zealanders . But it also points to the existence of a minority of warped and sadistic individuals who gain pleasure from cruelty to helpless creatures.
"A further reason for the increase in reported animal abuse cases could well be the longer hours that people work. In the rush of modern living, household pets often find themselves low on the priority list. This can contribute to cases of extreme and heartrending neglect, if not of outright cruelty," says Mr Blomkamp.
"Whatever the cause, our Animal Inspectors are required to fully investigate every complaint. They are warranted to do so by government even though government does not fund their role. Along with all our other services, the work of our inspectors is financed entirely by donations, legacies and membership subscriptions. As a result, we can't always afford to prosecute even serious animal abuse cases, much as we would like to do so," he adds.
Other key roles performed by the SPCA include running education programmes in schools, advocacy of the rights of animals to government and through the media as well as the running of high profile campaigns against cruel farming practices such as the confinement of pregnant pigs in sow stalls or the rearing of hens in battery conditions.
"Polling suggests that an overwhelming majority of New Zealanders supports our stance on such issues. We also believe that a large majority of kiwis are keen for us to continue standing-up for animals and acting as the 'voice of the voiceless'.
"A large segment of the public certainly applauds us when we speak out against the live sheep trade or when we uncover vicious illegal dog fighting rings or other abuses. But, frankly, applause and moral support are not enough. We also need funding," says Mr Blomkamp.
"The SPCA is part of the fabric of New Zealand society and, perhaps for this reason, people tend to take our existence for granted. But, in the absence of government funding, we are hugely dependent on voluntary donations to ensure we're still there for all the many and varied creatures who need us," he adds.
Peter Blomkamp urges animal-friendly New Zealanders to demonstrate their support for the SPCA by telephoning its Appeal line ( 0900 97772) and making a donation of $20 or more. Children should, however, ask their parents before telephoning.

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