SPCA New Zealand

SPCA dismayed by crucial funding oversight

20 May 2021
SPCA dismayed by crucial funding oversight

SPCA is extremely disappointed that a budget bid for further Government funding for its vital animal welfare Inspectorate service has not been seen as a necessary priority.

SPCA was advised today that its request for additional funding was declined, following the Government’s Budget announcement today. This will cause upset for animal welfare supporters and heap more pressure on SPCA, which is already stretched to the limit.

SPCA Chief Executive Andrea Midgen says the lack of financial support from the Government for a job which essentially sits with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), is a bitter pill to swallow.

“We are mandated by Government to do this important work. Looking after animal welfare in New Zealand is a costly business and quite frankly, we were needing some positive news from the Government today,” Ms Midgen says.

“I find it unbelievable that the Government are willing to leave the future of the Inspectorate service up to the New Zealand public to fund. Our communities are calling for more people to be held to account for animal abuse, but how can SPCA possibly do this with a pared down Inspectorate service due to lack of funding? It’s simply not good enough.”

Ms Midgen says SPCA currently receives a quarter of what is needed to cover the costs of the Inspectorate service and that the only way the Inspectorate service can operate is through fundraising from the generosity of New Zealanders. The total amount needed annually for SPCA to continue operating, is forecast to reach $50million in 2022.

“We are the only animal welfare organisation in New Zealand with powers under the law to enforce the Animal Welfare Act, yet we are expected to fundraise to meet this requirement,” she says.

It costs New Zealand’s largest animal welfare organisation $10million every year to fund its enforcement service, which rescues sick, injured and vulnerable animals, prosecutes those responsible for abusing and neglecting them, responds to welfare call-outs, and provides care and treatment for rescued animals.

Ms Midgen says MPI have a fully funded animal welfare Inspectorate service that focuses on production animals. SPCA’s remit is to care for vulnerable companion animals and animals on lifestyle blocks who have been subject to cruelty, neglect or abuse. The charity cared for almost 40,000 animals in the 2019-2020 financial year.

“New Zealand is home to more than 4.35 million companion animals with 41 percent of households owning a cat and one third of New Zealand households owning a dog. While most pet owners look after their pets responsibly, we know there is a section of society who subject their animals to incredible cruelty, neglect and abuse.”

Ms Midgen says if SPCA don’t hold these people to account, then who is going to?

“Due to the announcement today of no extra financial help coming our way for this important work, we will have to look closely at what services we offer. Something will likely have to give, as we cannot afford to keep covering the growing costs for a service which should be fully Government funded.”

“A Ministry-requested independent Deloittes audit reported that SPCA Inspectorate services are ‘effective and efficient’, so we know that we are doing a great job in our communities. If only the Government saw that value as well.”

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