I went to an animal rights conference earlier this year and a woman from the Vegetarian Society talked about how people who are vegetarians for health reasons and environmental reasons generally would go right back to eating meat if they discovered some health benefits or figured out some sustainable way of farming it – and that’s so true, which is a shame because people ought to be doing it for the sake of looking after innocent animals.
I have to admit that it took me a long time to realise why being a vegetarian wasn’t doing enough for the rights of animals, and this was largely out of ignorance, because I thought so long as I brought free ranged eggs and organic milk that it would be OK.
The Auckland Animal Rights Collective do a great job at raising awareness about the fur trade, I went to one of their protests the other day on Broadway and everyone else looked younger than me, but they were definitely a lot more braver (like when talking to the pedestrians about it), which was great because it showed how much they cared for the animals.
I went leafleting to raise awareness about pig farming again today with the SAFE crew in Ponsonby (it was cool because I got to visit Nikki Kaye’s office and have a nice chat to her staff about it and then we went into a lot of the stores who were happy to let us have space on their displays). Anyhow, my friend pointed out to me that I had my letter to the editor of the NZ Herald published so I went and brought a copy – unfortunately they changed it a lot but here is the full version:
Thank you for your editorial on pork farming in New Zealand on 25 May 2009. I had the privilege of bumping into Save Animals From Exploitation’s campaign director Hans Kriek the other day and he informed me that in their natural habitat pigs would not eat and excrement in the same area, yet they are forced to do this in the factories. Seeing the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee’s chairman Peter O’Hara justify such cruel conditions on TV One’s Sunday programme by saying that “there is no reason to think that the animals are not happy” made me so angry. It is incredulous that this is the man the government is relying on to make recommendations on reviewing the animal welfare code. If only he could experience the same suffering they go through – perhaps he could have his dinner inside a toilet bowl and keep his wife inside a crate with no room to move during her pregnancies?
I crossed the Auckland Harbour Bridge today – the view from the top was beautiful and the air was so refreshing!
I’ve been dressed up for the week as a pig to raise awareness about how factory farmed pigs in New Zealand suffer. The kids love it and in a way it is about getting them while they’re young, because often it can be easy to become desensitised to such issues when you’re older and more cynical. If you missed it I seriously beg you to watch the following documentary that was aired on TV last Sunday:
New Zealand stopped live exports in 2004 after 5000 sheep died on an Australian ship bound for Saudi Arabia, prompting international disgust. However, for the past four years Saudi officials have been negotiating with New Zealand Ministry officials to try to lift the ban, and the government has plans for an agreement which would once again see sheep sent on a three week ocean journey to the Middle East simply to be slaughtered for their Hajj festival (a religious ceremony which involves families buying sheep from the market to take home and sacrifice).