The role of the independent Charities Registration Board (“the Board”) is to maintain the integrity of the Charities Register through ensuring that entities on the Charities Register qualify for registration. The Board can direct charities to be removed from the Charities Register when they do not advance a charitable purpose for the public benefit and it is in the public benefit to remove them. A purpose is charitable if it advances a public benefit in a way that is analogous to cases that have previously been held to be charitable.
The Board makes its decisions based on the facts before it, applying the law including relevant case law, and maintaining consistency of approach with previous Board decisions.
The Board has carried out a full review of the eligibility of Save Animals From Exploitation Incorporated (“SAFE”) for registration. The Board’s decision is to direct that SAFE remain on the Charities Register because it advances charitable purposes and any non-charitable purpose is merely ancillary to its charitable purposes. The Board considers that SAFE has charitable purposes to advance education and to advocate on animal welfare issues.
SAFE’s education purpose
The Board considers that SAFE advances education through its “Animals & Us” secondary school educational programme. The “Animals & Us” textbook series covers a recognised academic subject and is sufficiently structured to ensure learning is advanced. The textbooks were created by educators, provide clear links to the New Zealand curriculum and have been peer-reviewed by teachers and academics working in the field of human-animal studies. The textbooks proceed from an independent objective starting point and attempt to offer different perspectives on the issues covered.
SAFE’s advocacy purpose
The Board considers that the focus of SAFE’s advocacy is on providing information to the public on animal welfare issues to raise public awareness of cruelty to animals, help consumers make decisions that reduce animal cruelty, and promote the upholding and enforcement of animal welfare regulations. The Board considers that this advocacy provides, on balance, a public benefit similar to previous cases on the advancement of animal welfare.
SAFE also advocates points of view on animal welfare laws and regulation, and industry practices. The Board has not formed a view on whether this advocacy advances a charitable purpose, but considers that SAFE’s advocacy in this area is a small part of SAFE’s overall activities and is connected to SAFE’s charitable purposes. For this reason the Board considers that it is merely ancillary to SAFE’s identified charitable purposes.
The Board’s full decision can be read at the link below.
The Charities Registration Board’s statement regarding the decision can be found here