INDEPENDENT NEWS

Pigs, Hens & Reindeer Aim For Santa's Knee

Published: Wed 3 Dec 2008 10:30 AM
3 December 2008
Pigs, Hens & Reindeer Aim For Santa's Knee Safe stages eighth annual appeal against animal cruelty
Wishful children seeking a place on Santa's knee this Christmas will be joined by battery hens, pregnant sows and even the occasional overworked reindeer. The colourful, furry, costume-clad menagerie will be asking Santa to grant their real animal friends a more compassionate life in New Zealand.
The portly, red-bellied fellow will be asked to do what he can for the animals this Christmas by members of New Zealand's second largest animal advocacy organisation, SAFE. Over 1200 compassionate kiwis are expected to dress up in their favourite animal costumes to raise funds for abused animals as part of SAFE's annual street appeal.
"Don't be surprised to see some furry or feathered friends jostling for a turn on Santa's knee this year. They will be asking Santa to help their less fortunate animal friends have a life free from pain or abuse," says appeal organiser Sacha Dowell.
On the 19th and 20th of December animal lovers in at least 45 cities or towns* throughout New Zealand will take to the streets and shopping centres to raise funds for animals. Collectors are still urgently needed in all areas.
"Dressing up as your favourite animal is all part of the fun. The newcomers take a bit of coaxing to wear the silly reindeer antlers or an animal costume, but they do because of their affection for animals," says Ms Dowell. "If you can donate a few hours to help animals, give us a call or register online."
SAFE's eighth appeal has become the organisation's largest event. The appeal is expected to raise over $300,000, which will be used for SAFE's world-class humane education programme and to launch high-profile public awareness campaigns against the abuse of animals.
"SAFE's annual appeal has become a positive symbol of community spirit, where caring New Zealanders unite to help SAFE to further promote respect and compassion towards animals," says Ms Dowell.
SAFE is calling for people wishing to collect in their area to register online at www.safe.org.nz or to call 0800 SAVE US. All collectors go in to a draw to win a $1000 Wildlife Adventure Travel Package.
Photo opportunity: Colourful animal costume-clad SAFE volunteers will be visiting Santa at various malls or retail stores in the coming weeks to make a wish for the animals. Photographs available on request.
ENDS

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