500-strong protest march for animal rights

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

500 protestors took to Auckland City's Queen Street to march for animal rights and an end to animal cruelty. Organisers say New Zealanders have to change their mindset to respect the life of animals like their own.

Valuing the life of animals was the central message.

Sam Lahood, a spokesperson for the march organisers, says, “New Zealand was actually the first country in the world to acknowledge the animals are sentient.”

“And what this means is they have the same experiences in life that we do, could be positive, could be negative, and they value their own lives.”

New Zealand is renowned for being a pet loving country, however, Lahood says animals here are being exploited.

“Separating mothers from their babies, which is what happens for every bottle of milk."

"There has to be a baby taken away from a mother, so that’s a problem that is systemic for that industry,” she says.

“Chickens are grown so that by the age of six weeks they're so big that they can eat as if they're a full grown bird. But then at six weeks, they're killed instead of living till their 10-year lifespan.”

Tegal Foods are seeking resource consent to build a multi-million dollar poultry farm for 1.3 million chickens.

Direct Animal Action is opposing them.

“We're actually calling for an end to all animal exploitation,” says spokesperson Deidre Sims.

“So when you've got animals commercially farmed for profit there will always be welfare issues. So we're calling for an end to all animal farming.”

“Stop eating them, stop wearing them, stop using them for entertainment,” says Lahood.

“There's so many new products which are coming out which are either great vegetable options, you've got all of the pulses, and the grains that are so healthy for you.”

Minister Meka Whaitiri is advocating for a Commissioner of Animal Rights and also strengthening the codes of animal welfare.