The animal rights lobby group SAFE is joining forces with the SPCA to protest the live shipment of American tourists to New Zealand.
SAFE spokesperson Cecily Dingle explained why the shipments are such a concern. “They’re shipped over here in appalling conditions, rife with Norovirus and other diseases. Then they’re ferried ashore and left to fend for themselves at random ports around the coast. It’s a particular problem in the Bay of Islands where they’ve been seen begging for food at Paihia and around the Stone Store in Kerikeri.”
“It’s an absolutely heartbreaking sight – they mate for life so you typically see them in pairs, and the male always looks bewildered and miserable. To add to the humiliation the operators hang these awful tags around their necks which they’re not allowed to remove.”
Dingle went on to describe how the situation afloat is even worse – out of reach of shore based authorities the ships’ crews are free to carry out the most horrific abuse; unverified allegations include line dancing and a form of torture described as the “guest talent show” which is something Dingle says “you wouldn’t inflict on an animal.”
When asked if it was appropriate for an animal rights group to concern itself with human beings, she replied that “it was a blurry line, particularly with Americans.”
“It wouldn’t be as bad if the different groups were kept isolated; but we know of one recent incident where a pride of Australians was allowed to stampede through the ship preying on the less aggressive species.”
Live shipments have been steadily increasing; expert opinion suggested it was inevitable, and that New Zealand had been dragging its feet on the issue. SPCA spokesperson Felicity Bellweather commented “Look, the Spanish are way ahead of us on this. They’ve had a trap-neuter-release programme in place for British tourists for years.”