SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Avian botulism

Animals in the Wild

SPCA advocates for increased protection of wildlife at risk to welfare harms from avian botulism. Avian botulism is a naturally occurring disease cycle, however, human activity is also a contributing factor to the frequency and severity of outbreaks.

SPCA advocates for increased training of people involved in avian botulism outbreak response to ensure the care provided minimises harm to the animal’s welfare. This includes improved management of veterinary care and euthanasia. SPCA advocates for improved methods of euthanasia of wild animals, including birds, where time to insensibility and death are minimised.

Our organisation advocates for more comprehensive and collaborative efforts to reduce the risks of avian botulism outbreaks in New Zealand through improved design and management of wastewater and stormwater collection points where they pose an increased risk to outbreaks. SPCA advocates that data on outbreaks are reported annually to improve the understanding of the severity and scale of outbreaks and inform mitigation efforts to reduce future ones.

SPCA opposes the feeding of wildlife which leads to detriments to their health and welfare and increases risk of disease outbreaks.

Feeding food such as bread also adds nutrients to the waterways which can contribute to outbreaks of disease such as avian botulism and overgrowth of algae.

(see Feeding wild birds for more information)

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