Hundreds of caring New Zealanders from around the country will rally together in the streets of Wellington on Saturday November 28th to demand justice for animals. Initiated by a local grassroots activist group, Wellington Vegan Actions, the aim of the march is to raise awareness about the systemic oppression of non-human animals. The March will begin at 1pm at Te Papa, ending at Parliament where speeches will be given by animal rights activists to educate people on a range of issues facing animals in New Zealand.
“We like to think of ourselves as a compassionate nation, but we cause unnecessary suffering and misery to millions of animals in this country,” says Chris Huriwai, spokesperson for the March. “If there were a need, I’d understand. But there’s no justification in this modern world for what we do to animals.”
Documentaries revealing the realities of animal farming and slaughterhouses have become more widespread in recent years. Cortnee Butler, one of this year’s speakers, has first-hand experience of working in a slaughterhouse. “It left me traumatised. But it also left me informed,” Butler says, believing the majority of people would not choose to consume animals if they knew how they were turned into food.
Among the eight speakers confirmed are ‘Mothers Against Dairy’ founder, Jessica Strathdee and ‘New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society’ Executive director, Tara Jackson. Demands being made of the government include a call for the abolishment of animal agriculture, animal testing, the use of animals in entertainment, and the killing of introduced species. “Like us, animals can feel pain, love, happiness and fear.” says Mr Huriwai. “Our treatment of animals is one of the most urgent social justice issues of our time.”
This sentiment is echoed by over 1300 people who have so far registered their interest in this event, with many traveling from other parts of the country to take part. The Animal Welfare Act 1999 sets out the needs of animals which must be met by persons in charge. However, animals bred for slaughter, animals considered as pests, and those used in scientific research are exempt from most of the protections in the Act. “Different animals have different levels of protection by law, despite their shared capacity to suffer,” Mr Huriwai adds. “People are starting to realise that things can be different. That it hasn’t always been this way and doesn’t have to continue like this.”
For more information about the March, including the full line-up of speakers, visit the website. Detailed information about our demands and specific sections of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 which create these exceptions can be found here. A list of resources can also be found on the website, as well as a link to Dominion.
Animals in New Zealand
Over three million day-old male chicks are killed annually due to the egg industry. “Humane destruction” methods include being shredded alive in a macerator.
200 million land animals and countless marine life are killed for profit every year.
Over two million bobby calves are separated from their mothers and killed annually, due to the dairy industry.
Every year 300,000 animals are used for research, testing and teaching.