Currently we are failing animals in New Zealand.
On the face of it, farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect.
In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases of animal abuse result in prosecution, such as this one where more than 200 cows had their tails broken.
And while MPI says it investigates all complaints, there are very few laid about factory farms, for the simple reason that the public cannot see what is happening behind closed doors.
And even when complaints are laid about conditions on factory farms, almost without exception MPI decides not to prosecute, even when footage shows dead, dying and suffering hens crammed into cages.
Clearly there is there is an urgent need for an animal welfare commissioner, but in the meantime the Budget must significantly increase funding for animal welfare education, monitoring, investigations and prosecution.
We also have the unusual situation of a non-government body, the RNZSPCA, having the power to enforce the Animal Welfare Act in relation to companion animals, but is forced to do this work with barely any government funding.
This lack of resourcing is now forcing the SPCA to consider shutting down up to a third of its animal centres.
Government need to be fully funding RNZSPCA for its enforcement work (around $7.5 million). Prosecuting abuse of animals should not be dependent on public generosity.