Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rise in Animal Cruelty Cases on New Zealand's South Island

Leopard Seal

The New Zealand SPCA has recently stated that there has been a surge in cases of animal cruelty on the nation's South Island. Ever since the attack on a leopard seal, the DOC (Department of Conservation) released pictures of wildlife attacked along the Catlins Coast. One incident involved tourists spotted a sea lion on the Surat Bay beach with a diving spear embedded in its chest, and another where one was found near the Nuggets with large cuts. There was also another case where an endangered yellow-eyed penguin was attacked and killed by dogs while nesting, and one more in which rottweiler dogs harassed a flock of penguins. Two years ago, a sea lion was shot in Cannibal Bay and hauled off the beach. Jim Fyfe, DOC Coastal Otago ranger, described the animal as if someone had put a rifle under its chin and blew its brains out. He stated that the biggest problem to such a mayhem are irresponsible dog owners, who allow their pets to roam off-leash. According to Charles Cadwallader, SPCA's national chief inspector, people are becoming more violent and cruel but it was hard to say why. Another person who believes in this idea is Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson, who stated that there are people who simply do not care about the damage they inflict. But what is even worse is that the organization itself is poorly resourced with only 93 inspectors, who are unpaid and too few investigators. He felt that the SPCA would benefit in further prosecuting the perpetrators with more money.

I'm deeply appalled that the residents of South Island are becoming cruel to their land's wildlife. Based on the statements made by Mr. Cadwallader, Mr. Fyfe, and Ms. Wilkinson, South Island's people just do not care about the damage they are inflicting in the environment. This is seen when they take their dogs outside for walks and other recreational activities. Also, even when there are people who do not own dogs, they still find some sort of way(s) to keep them entertained. However, the biggest problem with this surge in cruelty cases is that the SPCA does not have much resources in further prosecuting the perpetrators. I feel that New Zealand is in a great need of help regarding the resources because without them, the people of South Island will continue to pillage and plunder their local wildlife. Also, in addition to having severe penalties, it would further help to impose strict rules on dog-walkers when their dogs roam freely and kill an endangered wild animal. Plus, South Island residents should also be educated on the importance of their wildlife and what they can do in order to protect it and not annihilate it.

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