Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: SAFE For Animals
The incident which occurred in November 2019 has since been described as the biggest agricultural mass death event in Aotearoa’s history.
SAFE Campaigns Manager Jessica Chambers said that MPI’s decision demonstrates that New Zealand’s animal welfare system is broken.
“It is clear now more than ever that MPI should be stripped of its animal welfare responsibilities,” said Chambers.
“This investigation should have been a priority for the Ministry. Instead, they dragged their heels and took over a year to investigate,” said Chambers.
“Considering 180,000 birds lost their lives, MPI’s decision not to prosecute is not only unacceptable, it demonstrates a complete lack of regard for their obligations to those animals.”
Less than one per cent of all complaints received by MPI lead to prosecution. This is far lower than other areas of criminal law. Compared with the money made from the export of animal products ($32 billion in 2020), MPI spends less than 0.04% of that figure on enforcing laws passed to protect animal welfare.
“Our Government talks about its aspirations to have the best animal welfare standards in the world. It’s time to walk the talk by appointing a fully resourced Commissioner for Animals with the power and will to regulate and enforce animal welfare laws.”
SAFE is New Zealand’s leading animal rights organisation.
We’re creating a future that ensures the rights of animals are respected. Our core work empowers society to make kinder choices for ourselves, animals and our planet.
– The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is responsible for enforcing animal welfare law on farms. Across the country, there are over 160 million farmed animals, but only 27 registered animal welfare inspectors. On its website, MPI lists its primary function as the promotion of New Zealand agriculture and exports. Because of this conflict of interest and under-resourcing, MPI’s crucial role in regulating animal welfare is treated as secondary.
– The 2019 report ‘ Animal Welfare in New Zealand: Oversight, Compliance and Enforcement’ states “Prosecutions of animal welfare offences are rare. Less than 1 per cent of complaints received by either agency are prosecuted. While many complaints are not substantiated or lead to other enforcement action, this is still far lower than enforcement rates in other areas of the criminal law.”
– Raw footage of chickens bred for meat in New Zealand sheds.
– Photos of chickens bred for meat in New Zealand sheds.
– Chickens farmed for their meat are typically intensively farmed inside crowded sheds where they do not have access to the outdoors, natural sunlight or fresh air. Up to 40,000 chickens may be housed in a shed.
– As the chicks grow, the living conditions within the shed deteriorate. The floor litter they live on is not cleaned until the birds are taken away to be killed, meaning a lifetime’s worth of waste from tens of thousands of birds accumulates. These filthy conditions cause respiratory problems, and continuous contact with soiled litter causes burns to the chickens’ breasts and legs.
– New Zealand farms the ‘Cobb’ and ‘Ross’ chicken breeds, who are selectively bred to grow explosively fast – reaching slaughter weight while they are still chicks, at 6 weeks of age.
– Rapid growth can cause chicks to suffer from a range of health issues, including heart failure and leg problems (lameness) that can lead to immobility. Chicks can become so top-heavy that their legs are unable to support their body weight.
– A 2013 report by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) stated that over two million birds died each year due to health problems before they even reached slaughter weight. The same report found over half of the chickens studied were unable to walk properly and some were unable to move at all.