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TVNZ says Check your Eggs - Free Range vs Caged

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Media Release - 1 September 2014

TVNZ SAYS CHECK YOUR EGGS

Check out the following link National News onTVNZ  

Prompted by concerns around animal welfare in farming, the SPCA is asking consumers to purchase only eggs, pork, turkey and chicken accredited by the Blue Tick programme.

The SPCA says the Blue Tick is label people you can trust and guarantees that strict animal welfare standards have been applied to each step in the farming process, particularly in the layer and broiler chicken sectors.

Blue Tick has 118 members who are producers and distributors in the eggs, chicken, turkey and pork industries and certifies animal products "are farmed to our high welfare standards".

The term free range lacks a specific and precise meaning and the Blue Tick Programme claims it is the only truly independent and third party audited, accreditation scheme.

"Consumers can play a very significant role in addressing animal welfare and humane farming issues by searching out and insisting on the exclusive supply of Blue Tick accredited products," SPCA chief executive Ric Odom says.

"Now that the recent free range issue has come to the fore once again, we have a very real opportunity to partner with consumers to say enough is enough and, through their purchasing behaviours, to effectively ensure that only Blue Tick Accredited Products are stocked by retailers."

For Further Information:

Janine Hampson Tindale
Acting Blue Tick Accreditation and Marketing Manager
Mobile +64 27 4847722
Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Demand Blue Tick Accredited Products

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Media Release - 29 August 2014

MESSAGE TO NEW ZEALAND SHOPPERS - DEMAND BLUE TICK ACCREDITED PRODUCTS

Following ongoing concerns surrounding the issue of animal welfare in farming, particularly in the layer and broiler chicken sectors, the RNZSPCA is now asking consumers to purchase only eggs, pork, turkey and chicken that have been Accredited by the Blue Tick Programme and which carry the Blue Tick Mark.

The RNZSPCA describe The Blue Tick Programme as a "Label you can Trust". It is the only label that guarantees that strict animal welfare standards have been applied to each step in farming process. The role of the Blue Tick Programme is to provide an Accreditation process which allows consumers to enjoy a high level of trust in their chosen products.

Blue Tick is a certification programme run by the Royal New Zealand SPCA. It has 118 members who are Producers and Distributors in the Eggs, Chicken, Turkey and Pork Industries and it continues to grow. It certifies animal products that "are farmed to our high welfare standards".

Whilst standards in this Sector still require further development, the current Standards for each of these Categories typically exceed the minimum Standards in the various Codes of Welfare. However, the term "Free Range" is lacking in a specific and precise meaning, the Blue Tick Programme, itself under constant review and development, remains the only truly independent and third party audited, Accreditation Scheme.

The scheme started by certifying eggs in 2001 and then added pork products in 2009. In 2011 it added standards for meat poultry chicken and in 2012 added turkey standards.

National CEO of the RNZSPCA, Ric Odom, commented that "Consumers can play a very significant role in addressing animal welfare and humane farming issues by searching out and insisting on the exclusive supply of Blue Tick Accredited Products".

Odom said "Now that the recent free range issue has come to the fore once again, we have a very real opportunity to partner with consumers to say "Enough is enough" and, through their purchasing behaviours, to effectively ensure that only Blue Tick Accredited Products are stocked by retailers".

Odom added "And given the confusion that has been predicated in recent editorial coverage, here at the RNZSPCA we are actively engaged in further developing, alongside our partners AsureQuality, the standards and processes designed to ensure that our mark remains, and further improves as, the only truly independent and fully trustworthy assurance of humane farming".

For Further Information:

Janine Hampson Tindale
Acting Blue Tick Accreditation and Marketing Manager
Mobile +64 27 4847722
Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Free Range Eggs

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Media Release - 12 August 2014

FREE RANGE EGGS

Following the conviction of an egg farmer who admitted duping consumers by passing off 2.47 million eggs from caged hens as free-range, we are concerned at what may well be a significant knock to the confidence of egg purchasing consumers.

The majority of New Zealand Shoppers care very much for animal welfare and for humane farming. Here at the RNZSPCA we operate the Blue Tick Accreditation Programme to ensure that you can purchase your eggs (and selected other products) with confidence and in the knowledge that the animals involved are humanely farmed.

BT-logoBlue Tick is a certification programme run by the Royal New Zealand SPCA. It certifies animal products that “are farmed to our high welfare standards”.The RNZSPCA describe the Blue Tick Programme as “Your Humane Farming Guarantee”.

The scheme started by certifying eggs in 2001 and then added pork products in 2009. In 2011 it added standards for meat poultry chicken and in 2012 added turkey standards.

The Brands that currently carry the Blue Tick Mark on their eggs are Freedom Farms, Henergy Eggs, Kirkfields and Wholesome. All producers supplying these distributors must meet the Accreditation Standards set down by the RNZSPCA.

So we respectfully ask that you purchase only Blue Tick Accredited products and, if you are unable to find such products, that you talk to your retailer and ask them to ensure that they only stock products that carry the Blue Tick Accreditation Mark.

Together, we can work to ensure that New Zealand producers meet appropriate standards and that animal welfare is not discarded in the interest of profit.

For more information please contact: Ric Odom, Chief Executive Officer, Royal New Zealand SPCA, DDI: +64 9 825 1801, Mobile: +64 27 481 1300, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Brothers starved horses to the point of death

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Media Release - 17 July 2014

BROTHERS STARVED HORSES TO THE POINT OF DEATH

Two brothers starved and neglected a herd of horses in Canterbury to the point where six of them had to be destroyed to end their suffering.

Douglas John Williamson and his brother John Blackwood Williamson were convicted today in the Christchurch District Court on charges of wilfully ill-treating six horses, ill-treating another horse, and failing to ensure for the physical health and behavioural needs of five horses.

Both brothers were sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, disqualified from owning animals for five years, and ordered to pay reparations of $7000.

On 29 March 2010 a team of five SPCA Inspectors, an SPCA Auckland horse welfare representative, and a veterinarian went to the Defendants’ Halswell property on the outskirts of Christchurch.

They found 22 horses, of which 10 had body condition scores of 0 out of 5 (1 being poor, 5 being very fat), seven scored 1 to 2 out of 5, and the remaining five were in good condition with scores of 2 to 3 out of 5.

A black/brown stallion called ‘Danny B’ was discovered confined in a small, dark stable approximately 3m wide and 5m long. The stable had one door and no ventilation, and contained very little water and no feed.

Danny B was emaciated, with a body condition score of 0 out of 5. He was found standing in a stall full of urine and faeces where he ‘weaved’ almost constantly, a stereotypical behaviour often associated with the stress of long-term confinement. All his limbs were swollen and there was skin scalding on the heel bulbs of his hind limbs and patchy hair loss over his body.

A bay standard bred colt ‘PM1’, was down and unable to stand despite repeated attempts. He was in emaciated body condition, scoring 0 out of 5. Despite being two and a half years old, he was the approximate size a small yearling. The most common reason for failing to achieve average growth is inadequate nutrition. Because of his seriously poor condition, he was immediately euthanised to end his suffering.

The remaining 21 horses were removed from the property, however, five of the horses with body condition scores of 0 out of 5 were subsequently euthanised to relieve their suffering.

Despite the poor condition of the remaining 16 horses it was expected that with adequate nutrition and health care they were likely to make a full recovery. They were all drenched and put on a feeding plan.

A further 12 horses originally from the Halswell property were subsequently seized from a property in Kirwee, 37km west of Christchurch. All were in poor condition and the pasture was of very poor quality.

Blood and faecal testing of Danny B revealed no parasites and no evidence of chronic disease, meaning the only cause of his poor body condition was inadequate nutrition. Post mortem examination and faecal testing of four horses revealed such serious parasitic worm burdens that their abdominal wall were too damaged to allow adequate absorption of nutrition.

The veterinarian concluded that the poor body condition of the herd of horses was most likely due to parasitic infestation, exacerbated by an inadequate food supply in some cases.

“This is one of the worst cases of chronic neglect we have witnessed and we are pleased with the sentences handed down by the Court today,” says Ric Odom, CEO of the Royal New Zealand SPCA.

16July2014

“Despite numerous complaints dating back to 2008, site visits from SPCA Inspectors and veterinarians, and the issuing of multiple compliance notices, the Defendants in this case have consistently failed to provide adequate care for their horses.”

For more information please contact: Ric Odom, Chief Executive Officer, Royal New Zealand SPCA, DDI: +64 9 825 1801, Mobile: +64 27 481 1300, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Meet Elsie and Becky

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elsiebeckyWe received this fantastic letter and photo from young Elise and her 15 year old Labrador Becky - her best friend.

Elise is thanking SPCA for helping animals and outlines her concerns for animal abuse.

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Man Who Nailed Possum to Tree to Serve Jail Time

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Media Release - 8 May 2014

MAN WHO NAILED POSSUM TO TREE TO SERVE JAIL TIME

In a case that RNZSPCA CEO Ric Odom described as “genuinely disturbing”, a Whangarei possum trapper who videoed himself torturing several possums to death was today sentenced to prison.

Joshua Godfrey Aidan Heka, 28, was convicted today in the Whangarei District Court on 10 counts of wilfully ill-treating an animal with the result that the animal died, plus two counts of possessing objectionable material. He was sentenced to 2 years and 4 months in prison.

On 1 January 2014, the Police were called to Heka’s address in Whangarei on an unrelated matter. While at the address, Police were advised of some disturbing videos on Heka’s iPod by another member of the household. The videos were taken between June 2013 and November 2013, and showed Heka mutilating and taunting a series of possums before decapitating them or bludgeoning them to death.

In one series of videos, Heka films a possum whose tail he has nailed to a tree. As he approaches the possum it desperately tries to climb the tree to escape and begins to scream. The next video shows the same possum with its left arm pinned to the tree by the nail, which Heka hammers further into the tree while the possum screams. The next video shows the same possum with its left shoulder and left leg stapled to the tree by u-shaped nails. The possum continues to scream as Heka asks, “What's wrong possum? Is it a bit sore?” and hammers the staples further in. Heka then hits the possum’s head several times with the hammer.

In another video, Heka hacks the limbs off a female possum and then mocks her as she tries but fails to flee. He then chops the possum’s head off and dangles it in front of the camera lens while saying, “What up girl? Smile, smile, smile bitch! Smile!” In yet another video, Heka uses a hammer to break another possum’s legs then holds its face up to the camera and asks, “Does that f**king hurt? Does it? What? I can’t hear you.” The possum is clearly alive throughout. Heka then bashes the possum in the head with the hammer before stomping on its head aggressively several times.

“Heka’s crimes are genuinely disturbing and some of the worst offending we’ve seen,” says Ric Odom, CEO of the Royal New Zealand SPCA. “Unfortunately, we see similar acts of ‘recreational cruelty’ all too often in New Zealand and appeal to the public to bring such acts to the attention of the Police or the SPCA.

“We agree with the Police that people should receive prison sentences for this kind of offending because of the well-documented links between animal and human abuse. Basically, people who abuse animals are also very likely to abuse people, so a custodial sentence is fully justified. We hope that such offenders also receive the professional help that they clearly need.

“This case also raises issues around the treatment in New Zealand of so-called pest animals, such as possums. Although possums do significant damage to our forests and it is legal to hunt, trap, and kill them, it is still an offence to ill-treat them. If you kill them, you must do so humanely and avoid inflicting unnecessary suffering on them. All animals are sentient living things that feel pain and distress – they are not simply objects that we can do with as we please.

“Despite our opposition to the ill-treatment of animals, the RNZSPCA acknowledges that the humane control of the possum population is a necessary activity designed to preserve our native forests and animals.”

LIST OF SHAME 2013

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A LOOK IN THE MIRROR: SPCA’S ANNUAL LIST OF SHAME
A boat outing on Tauranga Harbour included chasing and running down black swans. A pet sheep is taken from its tether, bashed and set alight. An eight week old puppy has its tail cut off with a pair of scissors. Pigeons and a chicken are found bound and stuffed in a chest of drawers in a disused shed. These are just a few of the grievously inhumane acts of animal abuse and neglect that make up the 2013 SPCA List of Shame.


“These cases and worse are unfortunately all too familiar to SPCA Inspectors at centres around New Zealand” says RNZSPCA Chief Executive Ric Odom. “Our Inspectors are then tasked with the heart breaking job of determining whether the animals in question are able to be rehabilitated, released or re-homed – or, as a last resort, have to be euthanased as a result of this abuse or neglect.”


In most instances, the cost of investigating and prosecuting these cases is met by the SPCA. Often, the costs can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. The government only picks up the bill if a case goes to jury trial.


Ric Odom points out that “The SPCA’s work is almost entirely funded by donations, sponsorships and legacies of generous New Zealanders and the SPCA is enormously grateful to those individuals, groups and organisations. Without their support, we simply could not do the work we do.”

icon List of Shame 2013

This week is SPCA Annual Appeal week. By supporting this appeal, you can help the SPCA continue its work of preventing cruelty towards and caring for the welfare of our animals.

Donations can be made to our street collectors, at any branch of ASB Bank or online at www.spcaannualappeal.org.nz.

Remember The Animals On Guy Fawkes

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Media Release - 1 November 2013

REMEMBER THE ANIMALS ON GUY FAWKES

The SPCA is urging everyone to remember the animals during Guy Fawkes activities this year. According to RNZSPCA CEO Ric Odom “The loud noises and bright flashes are unfamiliar to animals and many will become highly stressed by them”. “We would like to think that most pet owners are responsible and will keep their pets inside and safe at this time, but those without pets of their own – or who live close to where animals are being kept - also need to be aware of the stress their use of fireworks is likely to be causing in their neighbourhood.”

Here are 5 tips to help keep your pets safe and calm on Guy Fawkes Night:

1. Stay home with your pet – they will be less stressed with someone they trust close by.

2. Keep them indoors – where they won’t see the flashes and the bangs will be muffled. Close doors and windows and draw the curtains. Turn up the volume on your radio or TV to help drown out loud bangs.

3. Put a collar and registration tag on your dog – if your dog panics and bolts, it will help rescuers reunite you. Attach a disc with your contact phone number.

4. Take special care of elderly or nervous pets – consult your vet for the best advice on keeping them calm, including sedation if necessary.

5. Move horses and farm animals away from fireworks – and make sure all fences are secure. Stable horses where possible.

The SPCA does not support the private sale and use of fireworks and has long called for a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public.

For more information contact RNZSPCA CEO Ric Odom on (09) 827 6094 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

New Chief Executive Officer appointed

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New Chief Executive Officer appointed

The Board is very pleased to announce Ric Odom has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Royal New Zealand SPCA.


Ric joins us from the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) in Auckland where he is part of the museum’s leadership team. Ric was an officer in the New Zealand Army for 20 years where he held a number of command, training and staff appointments including a period as an instructor at the Papua New Guinea Defence Academy and period leading a multi-national team of military observers in Former Yugoslavia. He left the Army to join the management team at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, initially as Collection Services Manager and then as General Manager, Museum Resources.


Following his time at Te Papa, Ric was the National CEO of the YMCA in New Zealand – a position he held for almost nine years and during that time achieved significant success; transforming it from an insolvent organisation into a nationally significant profitable organisation owning several million dollars in assets, providing a range of programmes and services. Fundraising, volunteer engagement, national integration and liaison with Government were all part of his responsibility at YMCA. Ric has experience in the strategic and operational skills needed at a time when the SPCA in New Zealand looks to become an integrated organisation.


Apart from his work with the YMCA, Ric has a long involvement in community work. He has been a volunteer fire fighter and volunteer ambulance officer. He was the founding Chair of Ara Taiohi – the national youth umbrella organisation - and was on the Board of Social Development Partners. Ric is also involved in the international White Ribbon movement for men against violence towards women. He is a former Deputy Chair of the national White Ribbon Committee and is now a trustee of the recently established White Ribbon Trust. Ric is also a White Ribbon Ambassador.


Ric is married to Jenny and they have three adult children. Ric and Jenny share a love of motorcycle touring. They have had animals pretty much continuously since they married (more than 30 years) except for the two periods of overseas posting. They have always been SPCA animals – a conscious choice on their part. Sadly they lost their cat recently and are waiting until their house is built to find the next member of their family.


Ric will commence his new role on 30 September 2013. I look forward to introducing him to the Centre Managers and Inspectors at the October workshop. Please join me in welcoming him to our team.


Iain Torrance
Chair of Board, Royal New Zealand SPCA
3rd September 2013

SPCA National President Bob Kerridge steps down

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Bob Kerridge has decided it is time to step down from his role as National President of the Royal New Zealand SPCA to concentrate solely on his other position as Executive Director of SPCA Auckland.

Mr Kerridge says he accepted the leadership of the Royal New Zealand SPCA with a clear mandate to build a stronger regional structure to support the Centres within the organisation, to set national standards of "Best Practice" around animal care, and to establish effective governance through a revitalised National Support Office to deliver the expertise required by the charity.

"My job is done, my mandate completed, and accordingly I am stepping down from the role of National President,"says Mr Kerridge. "I'm confident that the organisation now has a long-term strategic plan in place that will maintain and enhance the legacy I have created."

The move enables Mr Kerridge to refocus his attention on Auckland SPCA where for 26 years he was the CEO and now holds the title of Executive Director.

"My heart truly resides with the animals so I am looking forward to giving my undivided attention to caring for Auckland's many thousands of abused, neglected, and abandoned animals because at the end of the day that is what the SPCA is all about."

 

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