The high price of animal attacks

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Feb 3, 2013 in Rat News | Subscribe


A man injured wrestling a shark and a person scratched by a monkey are among unusual incidents that contributed to an animal-related injuries bill worth tens of millions of dollars.

ACC figures released to The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act show $140 million has been paid out for 216,500 animal-related injuries since 2009. They cost the taxpayer about $44.5m in 2011.

Livestock contribute to a large percentage of the payout, but birds, goats, cats, lizards, monkeys, jellyfish and even an otter have had a part to play.

ACC would not release the full details of each incident for privacy reasons, but gave a brief description of the injuries outlined by patients on their claim forms. The descriptions were found in a file search under animal-related words.

The man who wrestled a shark was on a fishing trip on January 3 last year. Later that month, ACC received a claim from a person injured when swimming into a jellyfish with their eyes open.

In an April 8 case, a boy called Liam was talking to one of his pet rats when another bit through his tongue.

“Outside of the claims and costs that are as a result of livestock-related injuries on farms, there’s still plenty of places where man and beast find themselves at odds, albeit unintentionally,” ACC spokeswoman Stephanie Melville said.

“However, it’s not surprising, given we’re a country of animal lovers and pet owners, and thankfully most animal-related claims are for minor injuries.

“That said, you just have to read some of the accident descriptions recorded by ACC claimants to realise you shouldn’t approach a goat from the front, a horse from the back or a shark from any side.”

Staglands Wildlife Reserve Cafe spokeswoman Wendy Robinson said there had been no ACC claims for animal-related injuries at the reserve.

“You do get the odd foot trodden on by goats and deer … or fingers nibbled by an over-enthusiastic Kunekune [pig]. It’s all fun and games.”

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