5000km animal welfare walk ends at Parliament

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Wellington

Stephen Brassett along with his two canine companions arrived at Parliament today after a year-long, 5000km walk across the country. The trio's trek raised funds and awareness for animal welfare groups.

One year, 5000km and four pairs of walking shoes later, Stephen Brassett's longest walk is over.

"I started in Invercargill and went as far North as Kaitaia and then turned around and went down the other side towards Wellington," he says. "My goal was to introduce people to the animal welfare organisations in their community and encourage them to get actively involved."

Brassett and his dogs, Jake and Piccolo, were welcomed by Wellington City Councillor Dr Peter Gilberd and later met with Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson to thank them for their support.

Dr Gilberd says, "We've just had an animal policy introduced which encourages people to look after their animals better so we have fewer issues with animals. People like Mr Brassett are just a fantastic support for that sort of encouraging campaign.”

The trio raised $5000 for animal welfare groups and visited 46 SPCAs across the country while sleeping in their 100kg handmade micro-camper home.

"The key problems I found animal welfare groups were having is they wanted people to be micro-chipping their animals, de-sexing their animals and making sure they're adequately confined and cared for."

Brassett also welcomes news that Trade Me will ban the sale of pugs, and French and English bulldogs come March.

"Legitimate breeders won’t be selling on Trade Me and they will be, generally, making sure that animals have got a home before they're even conceived.

“If people are looking for a purebred dog look for those sorts of things and look for official organisations that they're listed under."

While it's the end of a journey for Brassett he says when it comes to his animal advocacy work it is not the end of the road.