SPCA New Zealand
Animal Advocacy

Position Statements

Petting Zoos / Animal Encounters / Agriculture Days / A & P Shows

SPCA advocates for human-animal interactions that promote a Good Life where the animal experiences positive welfare and where the physical, health, and behavioural needs of the animals are met before, during, and after the event.

SPCA encourages people to have positive interactions with animals to help them develop an understanding of and empathy for all animals.

Animals in petting zoos, animal encounters, agriculture days, and A & P shows must be trained and handled using low-stress, force-free methods and have their physical, health, and behavioural needs met throughout the event and at all times whilst not part of the event. Animal encounter activities must provide animals with the choice of interacting with people and be able to access a suitable and quiet environment with sufficient shelter away from the public. The events must be closely managed at all times so that interactions between animals and people are supervised and controlled.

SPCA opposes using animals in petting zoos, pet corners, animal encounter areas, agriculture days, A & P shows, and other interactive activities or locations where animals are kept or assembled with close or direct contact with people if the animals are likely to experience fear, pain, suffering, and/or distress.

Any animal interaction provided for the entertainment and/or education of visitors or customers by establishments such as educational institutions, zoos, garden centres, pet shops, fetes, city farms, agriculture days etc. can cause welfare problems for the animals involved through uncontrolled handling and feeding, a lack of adequate supervision, and excessive disturbance. SPCA is concerned that people may become desensitised and lessen their respect and empathy for animals if these types of human and animal interactions are poorly managed or provide no educational component regarding the animals’ physiological, behavioural and social needs.

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