Stuff has refused to publish the rest of a nationwide advertising campaign for a petition asking for a referendum about the controversial issue of animal cruelty, raising claims of media censorship, interference with freedom of speech, and contempt for New Zealand’s democratic processes.
Friends of Sherwood is asking that the following question be put to all voters: “Should New Zealand stop using all cruel and inhumane poisons, such as 1080, brodifacoum, and PAPP, to kill wildlife because these toxic substances inflict intense and prolonged, unjustifiable suffering on all animals, including native birds, pets and livestock.”
If the petition gets signatures from the required 10% of eligible voters, before the 10 February deadline, it should become a Citizens Initiated Referendum question in the September election.
Friends of Sherwood Trustee Tricia Cheel is gobsmacked that media would censor information for the public about a democratic process.
“We’ve had volunteers out all over New Zealand for months collecting signatures. We are getting very close and were planning a final big push through the media.” says Tricia Cheel. The Sunday Herald has already published a similar advert in Auckland, however it is not readily accessible south of the Bombay Hills. “I’ve spent considerable time with Stuff’s advertising staff finalising the form and terms of advertisements for the Dominion Post, Christchurch Press, Southland Times, Nelson Mail, Timaru Herald and 17 community papers to get a final burst of signatures. Getting the required 360,000 or so signatures is a massive task and we are getting very close.”
It seems Tricia and her nationwide team are getting too close for those promoting cruel poisons, who have actively campaigned media to refuse the groups paid advertising about the petition.
Today, after terms and conditions had been agreed, the advertisement approved and booked, and with even the first placement appearing in The Hutt News, Stuff advised Tricia it would not run further adverts already booked, because “it might appear that Stuff was supporting the petition”.
“It’s shockingly dirty tricks and attacks the very heart of our democracy” says Cheel. “Surely the media’s job is to inform the public and encourage debate, not to censor a petition form that has already been approved by our own government?’
With STUFF’s legal team based in Australia, questions may need to be asked whether it is appropriate to apply Aussie rules to the political landscape on the more democratic kiwi playing fields.
Besides, we have a Prime Minister promoting kindness and compassion. Animals are sentient beings under our laws.Which is why Cheel find it difficult to fathom why we still have government departments spreading poisons that are banned overseas, over large areas of New Zealand. ‘These poisons cause cruel and inhumane deaths in wildlife, pets, farmed stock and deer”, she says. “Many New Zealanders find this extremely distressing and are concerned about the mixed messages this is sending our children about compassion and kindness”
Emerging issue lawyer, Sue Grey says she was shocked when she was advised that Stuff had pulled the plug on agreed advertising. “When funds were being crowdsourced for these adverts there were social media threats by pro-poisoners to pressure Stuff to refuse the adverts. Their lack of tolerance to other views and history of threatening those who are trying to raise awareness to create a kinder New Zealand, has caused much frustration in the past. However it is both unfortunate and surprising that Stuff has fallen victim to their lobbying. How can we have informed discussion in New Zealand or exercise democratic rights, if our media is bullied to only cover one side of the story.”
“This is one of the worst examples I’ve seen” says Sue Grey. “It interferes with democratic rights such as freedom of speech, and also with constitutional and parliamentary processes. The Citizens Initiated Referenda Act explicitly provides for advertising. An agreement was reached about what adverts would be run and when. Then at the last-minute Stuff succumbed to bullying and reneged. How can the public be informed if the media pick sides?”
Sue Grey has written to Stuff asking them to reconsider. Meanwhile Friends of Sherwood are considering other options if Stuff refuse.
The SPCA has publicly spoken out against the use of 1080 and other cruel poisons on many occasions, and on 7th January 2019 publicly stated that, “The RNZSPCA is against the use of poisons to kill animals due to the level of suffering they cause, as well as the nature of their use. We would like to see a ban on the use of poisons such as 1080 because these substances cause such intense and prolonged suffering that we believe their use can never be justified.”
The petition reflects this sentiment and the referendum will give all kiwis a chance to have their say.
For more information please contact:
Tricia Cheel Ph 09 476 7279 or Mobile 027469 2233: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Grey LLB(Hons) Phone or text 022 691 0586 or email email@example.com
ATTACHED SUPPORTING INFORMATION:
A copy of the petition:
Parliamentary Gazetting of Friends of Sherwood’s the Stop Cruel Poisons petition
The expanded advertisement that will be published in The Messenger today on the West Coast.
The first of the series of adverts STUFF had agreed to publish, which appeared on Tuesday 28th in The Hutt News – page 26
OTHER VIEWS ON ANIMAL RIGHTS
#1 Pope Francis to ‘every person on Earth’: Be kind to animals
#2 Jane Goodall Says Don’t Use 1080, Jan Wright Says Use More
New Zealand’s former Commissioner of the Environment—1080 is moderately humane.
Posted Jan 25, 2020
#3 Bob Kerridge
Was with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for 32 years, and was promoted to Officer of NZ Order of Merit for Services to Animal Welfare & Governance, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, 2018.
‘. . . heading the list has to be the use of toxins and poisons such as brodifacoum, PAPP and 1080 for the sheer unadulterated cruelty they inflict, with animals taking hours and even days to die in agony. The effect of desensitising death in this manner has a profound effect on our culture as a nation . . . New Zealand has an abysmal record of human abuse, not only to children but also to each other, with domestic violence being a significant contributor . . . The undeniable link between human and animal abuse . . . must surely be a significant clue to the cause.
An equally alarming trend is occurring with ‘conservation’ efforts now extending to persuading households to act as vigilantes in their own backyards . . . whilst their children, in sanctioned school programs are being taught that killing . . . is perfectly acceptable, and can even be competitive and fun. . . . in general, the reasons are unscientific and immoral, as are the weapons used against them . . .
Unbelievably, cats are the latest animal to be selected as a targeted predator which will astound and horrify most people, but will delight rats, and Gareth Morgan . . . especially for cats, paraminopropiophenone, or PAPP, is as hideous as 1080 and starts a process of dying which is inhumane & painfully slow, with death averaging an horrendous 3 hours to occur.
The persecution of cats, the country’s most popular and adored companion animal, is as unfathomable as it is without foundation.
PREDATOR FREE-2050 is creating a generation who ‘find killing weirdly addictive.’
SUCH A TREND IS DEEPLY DISTURBINGMy dream for our country has always been that we respect and love all life, and that humans, animals and the environment can coexist in harmony, in addition to a belief that we can, if it is our will, realise that dream.