A nationwide initiative to eradicate animal cruelty is ramping up with children being taught the importance of respecting farm animals.

The SPCA is releasing a second collection of storybooks aimed at helping school age children about the care and wellbeing of animals.

It's part of a national education strategy to change the attitude and behaviour from the next generation of animal owners.

In the past year more than 78,000 books have been put into 2000 primary schools across New Zealand to educate our youngest on how to treat family pets.


Now a second batch of six books is about to go into schools focusing on farm animals.

SPCA chief executive officer Andrea Midgen said the books taught animal care and wellbeing through original stories.

She said there was a deliberate focus on farm animals because after their pets New Zealand children were most likely to interact with farm animals.

"We continue to care for around 46,000 animals that have been lost, abandoned, injured, or abused each year. This is simply not good enough and we need to do better as a country. Teaching animal care and empathy at a young age is vital to turning this around."

The goal of the series was to develop empathy towards all animals from the next generation, said Midgen.

Titles in the next tranche of books included Garry the Goat's Escape, Barney and the Sheep with No Name and Toni, the Party Pony.

The storybooks were part of the SPCA's free in-school education programme created by teachers for teachers and included classroom resources, teaching plans linked to the New Zealand Curriculum and a teachers' and students' online portal.