The planned running of the sheep down Auckland's Queen Street in October has been cancelled after the SPCA called for its canning yesterday, saying it went against "humane principles''.
The plan was for a flock of sheep to run from Aotea Square to Queens Wharf at lunchtime on October 17, the Monday before the rugby World Cup final, as part of the Real New Zealand Festival being held around the tournament.
However, today New Zealand 2011 director Leon Grice, event organiser Steve Hollander and Real New Zealand festival director Briony Ellis decided to cancel the event.
"We do not believe it is healthy nor conducive to showcasing New Zealand to play out this controversy in front of the world's media and international guests,'' Mr Grice said.
Yesterday, SPCA national chief executive Robyn Kippenberger said she hoped the organisers would rethink and cancel the event.
"Although we have been assured by the organisers that no harm will come to the sheep, this runs against the humane principles held by the SPCA around the use of animals for entertainment. If animals are likely to suffer, simply as a side show, then the SPCA believes that they should not be subject to this distress,'' she said.
The Real New Zealand Rural Sport 2011 competition, featuring sheep shearing and wood chopping on Queens Wharf, would still proceed, Mr Grice said.