SAFE (Save Animals from Exploitation Inc.) is a registered charity (Reg. no. CC40428) with the Charities Commission. The Wikipedia entry for the organisation defines it as an “animal advocacy group“, whose “purpose is to oppose practices of perceived unnecessary animal exploitation and experimentation.” SAFE “actively campaigns against current intensive pig and chicken farming practices, is opposed to duck shooting, live sheep exports, genetically engineering animals and vivisection on beagles [a much-loved dog breed] and other animals [some less loved!].” SAFE also devotes considerable efforts to get the law changed with respect to improving animal welfare (political advocacy).
SAFE’s many well-publicised mind-numbing charitable advocacy campaigns, including its financial members dressing up as “lame-ducks” outside the Department of Conservation HQ to protest against duck shooting, and the illegal and heroic rescue mission of pigs by New Zealand comedian Mike King and his SAFE organised and funded film crew, have not gone unnoticed by Charities Commission officials and other enforcement agencies. Pigs Incarcarated Inc. – whose members still remain housed in squalid farm cages – and who witnessed some of their colleagues being liberated by SAFE saviours; remain eternally grateful for the SAFE charitable rescue missions.
SAFE’s executive director Hans Kriek has just hit the headlines with his staunch opposition to the practice of a Wellington family-owned French restaurant which offers its customers a traditional French starter delicacy Foie gras, made from duck or goose livers that have been engorged by over-feeding them with fat-covered grains [Censor’s warning note: graphic details of this practice have been ommitted from this story as potentially “objectionable” and “in poor taste” – no pun intended].
Those concerned about community standards in the media are asking serious questions:
Is engaging in “animal rights advocacy” by a registered charity allowed under the Charities Act 2005? Is engaging in “advocacy” on behalf of ducks and geese allowed under the Act? It would appear so (see below).
But the question on the minds of every reader of the Dominion Post remains:
Are employees of “animal rights” charities permitted to (allegedly) attack, harrass, and hound the owners, staff and clients of a French restaurant who are engaging lawful practices? The answer to this question may depend on your choice of delicacy: scrawny or bloated/enhanced-biodegradable duck livers.
Today’s Dominion Post’s Report (p. A4) – “Activists cry foul over French delicacy” states:
A FRENCH restaurant in Wellingtoin is beng hounded by activists protesting against its popular foie gras starter.
Placard-wielding animal-rights protesters have taunted Le Canard restaurant in Thorndon every weekend for more than six months, its owners say….
Pascal Bedel, whose family own Le Canard, said he was not concerned when activists began chanting, holding up banners and handing out pamphlets outside his Murphy St restaurant last year. But then negative comments began appearing on websites and he started receiving calls every couple of days asking if he would take the [foie gras] dish off the menu.
“Since December I’ve got people coming here every couple of days and they protest during my service. They are here all the time and they push, push, push.”
Mr Bedel said he aimed to give diners an authentic French experience which included the “expensive and delicious” dish of his home region of southwest France. So he would never take the popular dish off the menu.
“I don’t make the law in New Zealand. Go to complain to them. not me.”
“You can’t talk to these people because they’re fanatical.”
Hans Kriek, executive director of animal-rights group SAFE, called foie gras a “barbaric” product, and said he knew about regular protests at a Wellington restaurant.”
[It is not surprising that he knew about the protests as one of SAFE’s Board members, Dr Michael Morris, has been one of the leaders of the regular protests over the last six months]
According to the Charities Commission website records (www.charities.govt.nz), the registered charity, SAFE, (Reg. No. CC40428), directed by Hans Kriek, dubbed by its members as “The Voice for all animals”, employs nine full-time persons as charity workers (including Mr Hans Kriek); five part-time employees and this involves 433 hours per week of paid/employee work.
In its audited financial accounts for the year ended 31/03/2011, SAFE records an income of $814,896 which derives largely from public donations ($691,268). A tax rebate can be claimed by donors against taxable income on all donations above $5.00.
SAFE’s total expenditure for the year was $959,592 and of that 61% ($589,430) is recorded as “salaries and wages” (to SAFE “employees, volunteeers, board members”). A total of 11% of income was spent on advertising to raise funds and promote its “animal rights” charity message. A sum of $22,718 in depreciation was claimed as an “expenditure” item in 2011. The closing balance involved a liability of $127,685.
The cost of a single popular foi gras starter at Le Canard in Wellington at $30, seems to us to be a mere paltry sum to pay to smear the senses as compared with the $959,592 spent to give a charitable-funded voice to poultry and over-plump peccaries, via foul and illegal advocacy charity protests. Expenditure on lame-duck suits and peccary face masks for SAFE protesters may have to be cut back in future years if SAFE officials are going to be able to safely afford to attend future Board meetings at Le Canard and safely sample French delicacies.
1. SAFE website: www.safe.org.nz
2. SAFE was a participant organisation in the National Animal Rights Conference held in Auckland 22-24 July 2011. It submitted the following description of its activities to organisers for publication. See: www.ar-conference.org.nz/Organisations/
“SAFE is the second largest animal advocacy organisation in New Zealand and has for over 78 years been one of the strongest voices in New Zealand defending animals against cruelty and abuse. SAFE is dedicated to changing attitudes and nurturing compassionate values by educating the public about the inherent value of animals.”
3. The Dominion Post. Wednesday, May 9, 2012, A4. Activists cry foul over French delicacy. Story by Judy O’Callaghan.
5. Wellington SAFE Group Protest in Lower Hutt against the ‘slavery’ of “Jumbo” the circus elephant
See video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pdYPJowETE
6. SAFE’s Freedom For Pigs Campaign