Animal rights

Where can I find information about animal rights?

Junior Secondary

(Years 7-10)

Image: cows at farm by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

Entry last updated: 5/07/22

Introduction

Animal rights are all about the way humans treat animals. Sometimes animals are mistreated by people and need to be protected by law. There are many groups that work to improve how animals are treated. Animal rights include the issues of animal cruelty, animal testing, factory farming and illegal poaching of animals.

Animal rights

In Aotearoa New Zealand, there are laws that aim to protect animals from cruel or unfair treatment. All farm animals are protected by the Animal Welfare Act.

Te Ara: The encyclopedia of New Zealand

This is a great website for information about Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Enter 'animal rights' into the search box to find their page on Animal welfare and rights.
  • Here you can read about the history of animal rights in New Zealand and some of the different organisations involved.
  • Look at the External links and sources page to find other useful websites.

NOTE: There are many animal welfare sites on the internet dealing with animal rights. These sites sometimes have graphic pictures that could be upsetting, so we suggest you look at them with an adult you trust.

Ministry for Primary Industries

To find out what rights animals have in New Zealand have a look at this website.

  • Enter the keywords 'animal welfare' into the search box. You will find this page about Animal welfare laws in New Zealand.
  • Scroll down the page to the Animals in research, testing and teaching. This page looks at research on laboratory animals (like rats) and farm animals.

Tips: We like sites that are from government organisations because the information is reliable. You can often tell this by their web address – they usually have .govt in their address. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

SAFE: Save Animals From Exploitation

This organisation looks at the ethics and treatment of animals in New Zealand.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Animal cruelty

Here are some groups that want to make sure animals are treated well and protected from cruelty.

SPCA: Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

This charity helps protect animals that are sick, injured, lost, abused or abandoned. One of the main aims of the SPCA is preventing cruelty to animals.

  • Go to What we do from the menu at the top of the homepage.
  • Scroll down to How we protect animals.
  • Select Prevent cruelty.

Tips: Some websites have .au, .nz, .uk or other codes in their url. This can tell you which country this website comes from eg .au is from Australia or .nz is from New Zealand. You can check the About Us link on the website for more information.

World Animal Protection

This is an international organisation dedicated to the protection of animals.

Testing and experimenting on animals

Sometimes animals are used to test new medicines or chemicals before they are used by humans.

Global Issues (Gale In Context)

Global Issues is one of the EPIC databases, a collection of databases put together especially for schools in New Zealand. It covers a wide range of current international issues including animal testing.

  • Enter Animal Testing into the search box.
  • On the overview page select read more to get a very full explanation of the topic.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

PETA: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

PETA is the largest animal rights organisation in the world. The website has a section on animal experimentation.

  • Select 'Animal Rights Issues' from the menu at the top of the page.
  • Then select Animals used in Experimentation to find information about testing and experimenting on animals.

New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society

This site explains what vivisection is and why testing on animals might not help humans.

  • Select The Issue and then Animals in Science NZ from the menu on the left.
  • Here you will find information and statistics about how animals are used in science.

Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for.

Factory farming

Factory farming is about getting as much produce from animals as possible, for as little cost as possible. This system involves strict controls over how the animals live, which often includes keeping them in small indoor spaces. Hens, pigs, cows and fish are sometimes farmed this way.

Opposing Viewpoints (Gale In Context)

Opposing Viewpoints is one of the EPIC databases. It covers a wide range of current international issues including factory farming and will allow you to explore both sides of the issue.

  • Go to Browse issues from the top of the tape and find Factory Farming.
  • Here you can look at different viewpoints, as well magazine and news articles.

Australia New Zealand Reference Centre Plus (EBSCO)

This resource has lots of magazine and newspaper articles specifically about Australia and New Zealand.

Tips: When researching controversial topics (such as factory farming), always make sure you check for different viewpoints to get the whole story!

Animal poaching

Animal poaching is the illegal killing or capture of animals. It usually involves rare or endangered animals, or takes place within protected national parks or other areas where it is illegal to hunt, fish or take animals.

World Wildlife Fund

This website has some great background information on why animals are poached and why poaching is a problem.

  • Enter 'poaching' into the search box.
  • Select What is Poaching? to read the causes and impact of poaching.
  • Scroll down the page to read about the impact of poaching on rhinos and tigers.

Global Issues (Gale In Context)

Global Issues is one of the EPIC databases. It covers a wide range of current international issues including poaching.

  • Enter 'poaching' into the search box at the top of the page.
  • The results will include a topic overview of poaching as well as news articles and other resources related to poaching.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Books

These books will give you more information about animal rights and associated topics.

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