The Auckland SPCA has closed down an arcade game involving
live crayfish at three pubs across the city.
The animal welfare organisation said it had visited the three
pubs it knew of in Auckland running the game, where patrons
paid to try to catch live crayfish using a metal claw, and
made the machines inoperable. Other outlets around the
country would face similar action.
Sue Archer, manager of Happy Days pub in Manukau, said she
had contacted Catcher Cray, which owns the machines, and was
told they would be collected today.
"The crays are very happy because there's water and it's a
nice little aquarium for them. Nobody's trying to catch them,
and they'll be fine until somebody comes to collect them
today hopefully," Ms Archer said.
Ms Archer said the game had been in the pub for the past few
months, and it had been quite popular.
"It's $3 a play, and we took $115 last week. But some people
chase a cray for about $20, and they'd probably be better off
going to the supermarket and buying one that's cooked and
ready. So, amusement wise, children come along and look at
the scary things inside the tank, but I'm very much against
it," she said.
Andrew Jackson, manager of The Albion in inner city Auckland,
said he had received the notice and was complying with it.
"We're just waiting to hear from Catcher Cray who are in
touch with their lawyers today.
"Nobody can play on the game now, and we're quite cooperative
with that," he said.
A third machine at the Tanui Tavern was also closed down.
SPCA executive director Bob Kerridge said they had achieved
what they set out to achieve. "We'll just see what happens
"In the meantime we've stopped the cruelty and that's all
that matters," Mr Kerridge told NZPA.
"We haven't had anything to do with removing the crayfish at
all. We don't know whose property they are, whether they
belong to the pub owner, or the operator. That's something
for them to sort out.
"Our hope is the machines will be removed and the crayfish
with them," he added.
"The pub owners were cooperative when we came round to serve
the notices. I think they felt a little uneasy with the game.
"There were six to eight games in Auckland, and when the
complaints started to come through, some of the other pubs
just asked that the games be removed.
"These three remained and that's why we had to do something.
"Now, it's just a matter of seeing the reaction to the action
we've taken. As far as we're concerned, this action puts an
end to it, and we feel the best resolve will be to simply
remove the machines and give the whole idea away," Mr
He said the games had been the subject of intense
investigation by the society, involving expert species
specialists and legal advice.
"Our expert advice is that the crayfish subjected to this
arcade game are likely to suffer unreasonable or unnecessary
pain or distress which is unacceptable in our view", he said.
Under the Animal Welfare Act (1999) inspectors "may take all
such steps as are necessary or desirable to prevent or
mitigate the suffering of the animal", Mr Kerridge said.
He said they would do that by "rendering the mechanical parts
of the machine unable to be used".
He said the action might also prompt court action against the
SPCA but he was satisfied it had reasonable grounds,
including legal advice, to take the action. The SPCA said
seven bars had removed the machines after animal welfare
complaints from patrons.
The owner of Catcher Cray Ltd was unavailable for comment.