Wildlife and the Animal Welfare Act 1999: Can 'Cruel' Acts of Hunting Ever Be Prosecuted?
33 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2011
Date Written: March 23, 2011
Tucked into the very back of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 is section 175, a clause that effectively exempts wildlife from the scope of New Zealand animal protection law. Ostensibly enacted to permit legitimate forms of hunting, fishing and pest control to remain immune from scrutiny, the clause has morphed into a comprehensive exemption. As a result, acts of ill-treatment that would clearly be punishable had the victims been domestic or farmed animals can be committed with impunity against wild animals. This article will consider how section 175 has been applied and examine its impact on wildlife. After proposing a more limited interpretation of the clause that would provide a modicum of protection for wild animals, the article proposes a number of reform options that would better balance the needs of wildlife and persons involved in the activities that cause them harm.
Keywords: Wildlife, environmental law, animal welfare
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