Animal cruelty linked with ignorance of law

CHRIS GARDNER
Last updated 05:00 01/09/2012

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A Te Kuiti Muslim is being investigated after neighbours complained of 15 feral goats and two dozen poultry being kept on his Tonga St section without adequate food or water.

And SPCA bosses say animals being prepared for cultural and religious ceremonies suffer at the hands of migrants who are often ignorant of animal welfare laws.

The man, who calls himself Ali, told the SPCA inspector he was keeping the animals for slaughter at the end of Ramadan on August 18 when he was visited two days earlier.

All but two of the Te Kuiti goats were euthanised after SPCA inspector Maria McEwan-Jones found them in a small shed. Ali also had twice the number of poultry allowed under a Waitomo District Council bylaw.

Three of the goats, a nanny goat and her two kids, were shut in the chicken coop.

Ali, who moved to Te Kuiti 12 years ago from Fiji, told the Waikato Times the goats which had been caught in the bush had been given clean water and food.

"You don't expect them to be fat and juicy. There was hay and goat pellets. I have done everything right."

He has slaughtered his own chickens for years but admitted being scared of larger animals, such as goats, so had asked home kill experts to come in.

He said he would have shared the kill with people in the community.

SPCA national president Bob Kerridge said the agency dealt with a number of cases where foreign arrivals were ignorant of New Zealand law.

"It's a problem because they believe that's what they can do," Mr Kerridge said. "They are pretty ignorant to the law. Immigrants . . . need to be educated on what the laws of the land are."

The SPCA is working on translating animal welfare pamphlets for immigrants as a result of such cases.

The Te Kuiti case follows a similar animal husbandry case in the Waikato in which animals were not given adequate shelter, said Michelle Locke of Waikato SPCA.

Ismail Galadid, president of the Waikato Muslim Association which represents 3500 people, had no knowledge of the Te Kuiti case but couldn't understand why a local Muslim would need to keep his own animals for Ramadan when there was plenty of halal meat available in the region.

Halal, Arabic for permissible, is used to designate food seen as acceptable according to Islamic law.

"In Islam it's very important to look after animals," Mr Galadid said.

"We have to give them water and we have to give them food and we don't show them the knife.

"We totally agree with the humane treatment of animals."

Mr Kerridge said there was an undeniable link between animal cruelty and human violence and, with a revision of the Animal Welfare Act, it was time to recognise that cruelty to animals was a social sickness.

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"Any animal welfare law will impact directly our entire community."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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