Date: 26 September 2013 Source: Office of the Minister of Conservation
Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith is welcoming today’s conviction of a Blenheim man over the killing of 23 New Zealand fur seals on the Kaikoura coast in late 2010.
“This was an obscene crime that would offend all New Zealanders who care for our native wildlife. This callous attack needed to be prosecuted to send a clear message that senseless and deliberate violence against animals will not be tolerated,” Dr Smith says.
38-year-old Jemaal Large was convicted on two charges of wilfully ill-treating animals. Mr Large did not dispute that he, along with co-offender Jason Godsiff, who has already been sentenced for his part in the attack, killed the seals but had pleaded not-guilty to ill-treating the animals. The fur seals, including some newborn pups, were beaten to death with a galvanised steel pipe at the Ohau Point seal colony in late 2010.
“The men were charged under the Animal Welfare Act because of the tougher penalties available under this Act compared to the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This reflects the seriousness of the attack and the large number of seals killed,” Dr Smith says.
“I’d like to thank the Police and Crown Prosecutor for their investigation and prosecution of the matter which sends a strong signal that killing seals will not be tolerated.
“The Government takes the protection of our marine mammals extremely seriously and is making changes to both the Animal Welfare Act and the Marine Mammals Protection Act to strengthen those protections, along with the penalties available for breaches.”
Rachael Bruce, +64 21 841 087