3 Mar 2015

Push for Cooks animal welfare law

4:30 pm on 3 March 2015

Animal welfare and tourism groups in the Cook Islands are banding together to call on the government to make urgent changes to punish the mistreatment of animals.

The management at the Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa say tourists have become increasingly aware and distressed by the mistreatment of animals they witness.

Animal welfare laws in the country are almost non-existent with the Ministry of Agriculture proposing a review of legislation by the end of the year.

A founder of the local SPCA Elmah McBirney says the lack of welfare legislation means the stiffest penalty for animal mistreatment has been 20 dollars under the police law.

Ms McBirney says this doesn't act as a deterrent at all and things need to change now.

"If the government just don't talk, talk and they put something down on paper and make it legal. We are hoping that will happen. We're getting there. We are going for that. If the government can put something together maybe people will listen."

Cook Islands

Cook Islands Photo: RNZ