Animal rights group SAFE has been criticised for walking out of a Government-led hui after two notable industry representatives joined the meeting.
The hui, led by Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri, was intended to cover a wide range of animal welfare concerns across New Zealand.
But when NZ Rodeo Cowboys Association president Lyal Cocks and a notable pig farmer walked in, the appalled SAFE [Save Animals From Exploitation] representatives chose to walk out.
Mr Cocks told RadioLIVE that he wasn’t aware that they had left upon his arrival, but called the group’s exit “disappointing”.
“We are all there as animal advocates to speak in front of the Minister and other members of Parliament to hear the views of the people there,” Mr Cocks added.
SAFE spokesperson Hans Kriek told RadioLIVE that they were assured that the hui was only for advocacy groups.
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“We were very disappointment with the organisation of the hui. We were assured that the hui was for animal advocacy groups only and not for industry representatives.
"We believe it was extremely disrespectful of the organiser to allow these people in and even give them speaking rights,” he told RadioLIVE.
Ms Whaitiri clarified that the hui was an open invitation intended for anyone with invested interest in animals to talk to her and engage in a conversation on issues facing New Zealand.
The Associate Agriculture Minister is set to release her animal welfare findings, which includes hui-based anecdotes and advise from the Ministry, by the end of June.
Watch the full interviews with Lyal Cocks and Meka Whaitiri above.