29 March 2010

New Zealand animal welfare group Paw Justice under fire for Facebook comments

According to an article published on The Dominion Post website, high-profile supporters are distancing themselves from the New Zealand based animal rights organization Paw Justice after inflammatory comments appeared on the group’s Facebook page.

Purportedly the remarks included “calls to shoot, castrate and rape animal abusers and feed them to the animals.”

New Zealand National MP (Member of Parliament) Simon Bridges, a proponent of stronger animal cruelty sentences, “de-friended” the group amid the controversy. He tells The Dominion Post, “I saw comments that seemed to be akin to vigilantism and, as a former criminal lawyer who believes strongly in the criminal justice process, I didn't want to be part of that."

Paw Justice responded to the charges of extremism and the possibility of losing celebrity support on its Facebook fan page:

“Animal abuse is not going away and neither are we! We don't know why we are being attacked, but we will get to the bottom of this smear campaign! The actors from Outrageous Fortune, Shortland Street and Go Girls stand behind the mission statement of Paw Justice!”

The bad publicity apparently hasn’t hurt group’s popularity, since the publication of the article the group’s Facebook fan page has grown by over 500 members.

Unfortunately this appears to be yet another attack on an organization that by and large performs vital work in the animal welfare/rights movement. A new blog post, news article or op-ed seems to appear on a constant basis decrying the work of groups that stand up for the voiceless—see Rick Berman.

Do not judge the convictions of a group by the missteps or harsh words of a few members. As always we at TDIV implore you to do your own research and form your own opinions.

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Photo Credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/fbouly