The SPCA has today launched a series of original storybooks into schools with the aim of helping Kiwi kids to both improve their reading skills and learn to care for and respect animals.
The six books in the series cater to different ages and reading levels. Each story is based on a real-life animal rescue from the SPCA, and contains messages about animal care, animal welfare, and tips for families on how to be responsible pet owners.
“Research tells us that the best way to achieve behavioural change is by reaching out to children between 7 and 12 years old. By educating the next generation of animal owners, we can help ensure a better future for all animals,” says SPCA New Zealand CEO Andrea Midgen.
The SPCA Learn-to-Read Storybooks are skilfully written to enable teachers to integrate them straight into their classroom literacy programmes. The intention of each story is to teach core animal welfare messages, while also supporting the development of children’s reading skills and strategies.
All 2,127 primary and intermediate schools in New Zealand have received six sets of each book completely free, thanks to help from Sunshine Books and SPCA supporters.
“Our SPCA Storybooks feature fun and engaging characters that kids will identify with and want to read about, all while earning important lessons about compassion and empathy towards people and animals,” says Ms Midgen.
“For example, one of the stories features two children who help an abandoned cat that lives under their school’s sports shed. The story ends with an SPCA Inspector rescuing the cat from a drainpipe and giving a bravery award to the children.”
The SPCA’s aim is for every child to grow up to respect animals and be a responsible pet owner. By doing so, the SPCA hopes to break the cycle of animal cruelty in New Zealand communities and reduce the number of abused and neglected animals that need the SPCA’s help each year.
“Already the response from schools has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve had teachers and principals write to us and thank us for providing free resources that promote their key classroom values: being kind and compassionate, and caring for each other,” says Ms Midgen.
The SPCA Storybooks are the latest addition to the SPCA Education programme launched in July 2016. SPCA Education is an evidence-based programme for New Zealand schools that aligns with the Curriculum and teaches animal welfare in a real-life, meaningful context.
The SPCA Learn-to-Read Storybooks are:
The Smooth Movers’ Club
A boy and his father want their move to the city to go smoothly for their cat Noah. It does, until Muscles, the fearsome neighbourhood tomcat, turns up.
Sam and Charlie Love Pudding
When the abandoned cat who lives under the sports shed at their school gets into trouble, Sam and Charlie have to act.
The Problem with Sione’s Spaghetti
Sione’s pet rabbit has a problem. Sione’s solution involves a pack of raging rhinos, but will it work?
Storm Gets A New family
Storm used to spend his days chained to kennel till his life was changed by a bolt of lightning and a girl with friendly eyes.
Pumpkin Pie and Pavlova
Mrs Melling likes pumpkin pie and pavlova much more than she likes Mr Watkins or his hens. Will Mr Watkins find a way to change that?
The Mouse at the Mall
A girl and her mother go to the mall to buy shoes. They leave with a shoebox with a toilet roll and a mouse inside. What will happen next?
The SPCA Learn-to-Read Storybooks are available for purchase by schools and our supporters. Visit our online shop here.
Tuesday 4 October, 2016
An open letter to all New Zealanders: please don't make this mistake.
Dear animal lovers,
I'm Ginny, a member of the SPCA team in Auckland. I'm writing to you today after I read the Government's proposed action plan for dogs in New Zealand last week.
A couple of years ago I worked in an animal shelter in the UK. Every Thursday, an enforcement agency would come into the shelter and round up all the dogs they thought looked like a pit bull type and order them to be euthanised.
I know the heartbreak that breed-specific legislation causes, because I've seen it first hand.
Saying goodbye to innocent dogs and knowing we were powerless to help them is something that will stay with me for life.
The scary thing is, this is the future for our dogs if they look a certain way.
So I'm urging you all - act now while you still can.
The UK introduced breed-specific legislation 25 years ago, and it has not led to a reduction in dog bites. The casualties of this law are the thousands of innocent dogs who were denied a chance to grow up, and have a family, and learn how wonderful the world can be for a dog.
All because of the way they looked.
Studies from the UK show us that breed-specific legislation does not work and we need to do everything possible to ensure New Zealand doesn't make the same mistake. Our focus should be on responsible dog ownership and public education.
The good news is there's still time to make a difference for the lives of dogs in New Zealand. Right now we're setting up meetings with important decision makers to get our voice heard.
But we can't do it without you. Please sign our petition and share it with everyone you can.
Thanks for your support,
Friday, 23 September, 2016
SPCA New Zealand is expressing its grave concerns about the Government’s action plan announced yesterday in an attempt to reduce dog bites.
The SPCA recognises that dog attacks are a major societal problem that requires a serious and effective long term solution.
However, we are absolutely appalled that part of the action includes tighter restrictions around certain breeds, including preventing them from being rehomed by animal shelters. This has been categorically proven to not reduce dog bites.
“The most worrying part of this new action plan is the restriction on animal shelters, like the SPCA, preventing us from re-homing these dogs. What is going to happen to all the dogs that are guilty of nothing else than their visual appearance?” says SPCA New Zealand CEO Andrea Midgen.
Friday, 23 September, 2016
The New Zealand Government has announced an action plan that will see animal shelters like the SPCA banned from re-homing dogs they see as "menacing".
Thousands of innocent lives are at risk – and we need your help.
What is going to happen to all the dogs that are guilty of nothing else than their visual appearance?
By making it illegal for animal shelters to re-home dogs of certain breeds, the Government are effectively condemning them to die.
Thursday, 22 September, 2016
At today’s Companion Animal Conference the National Cat Management Strategy Group (NCMSG) has launched their draft cat management strategy implementation document for feedback.
SPCA New Zealand is a member of this Strategy Group, along with the NZ Veterinary Association, Companion Animal Veterinarians, NZ Companion Animal Council, Morgan Foundation and Local Government. The Ministry for Primary Industries are observers and Department of Conservation are technical advisors to the Group.
“At the SPCA we recognise that cats are part of the family for many New Zealanders. But we also recognise that cats can have an impact on our native wildlife in sensitive areas,” says SPCA New Zealand Acting CEO Andrea Midgen.