Throughout New Zealand there are many individuals, organisations and official bodies that are actively concerned both with the welfare and control of companion animals. The diverse nature of their philosophy and operational modus operandi creates a need for communication and the sharing of ideas so that collectively, and by consensus, each and every one of them can contribute to the improvement of the welfare of companion animals in their areas of activity.
It was this ideology that prompted the Auckland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to initiate the formation of a forum which would bring together the many and varied animal groups in an open meeting for an exchange of views and ideas. The gathering in 1990 was named the Companion Animal Workshop, and it has been an annual event ever since. As the workshops grew in importance, and the intensity of the discussions developed into meaningful welfare concerns, it became apparent that the participants craved a structure whereby the resolutions of the meetings could be more actively pursued and topics raised could be further advanced.
As a result the New Zealand Companion Animal Council (NZCAC) was established in February 1996, and has since become a respected national organisation representing the amalgam of a diverse range of animal groups.
To evaluate the scope of its representation, the Council felt the need to provide a statement that would clearly describe the range of animals covered by its charter, and accordingly published the following definition of companion animal. “Any animal that shares a living environment and relationship with humans."
“The term ‘companion animal’ is an all-encompassing phraseology given to an entire spectrum of animals with whom interaction and/or companionship is enjoyed by humans, and where a responsible guardianship is established and accepted for their welfare by humans.
Where it is accepted that this degree of ‘companionship’ will vary by species, the expression ‘companion animal’ acknowledges the important role all such animals play in our society.”