74 Stop Animal Farming

Animal-rights groups worldwide carry out rescues and investigations into for example chicken, egg and pig farms, or commercial farms for dog-breeding (puppy mills), fur farming or breeding animals for research. The list is much longer….. animal-rights groups advocate against cruel sports such as bull-fighting or hunting, force feeding to create fatty livers for foie gras, keeping animals in inappropriate habitats, and more… The activists use civil disobedience and other tactics to draw attention to the plight of animals.

Groups include the New Zealand Open Rescue, formed in 2006 after a number of animal advocates became increasingly frustrated with the New Zealand government’s lack of real action for animals on factory farms. “Twenty years of campaigning against factory farming using legal means such as protesting and lobbying saw little to no changes for animals,” says Deirdre Sims, one of the group’s founders. New Zealand Open Rescue’s aims are to openly rescue animals from places of abuse, to expose hidden suffering and to consistently provide irrefutable evidence why factory farming should be banned.

In June 2012, after an undercover investigation revealed that the conditions hens endured inside colony cages were little better than battery cages, campaigners with New Zealand Open Rescue and the Coalition to End Factory Farming spent four months creating a protest against New Zealand’s biggest egg producer: Mainland Poultry. The company had been testing colony cages, which are set to gradually replace existing battery cages over the next 10 years.

Deirdre Sims, Marie Brittain, and Mengzu Fu suspended themselves from the top of steel towering tripods on the road and chained to a gate, forming a blockade. The action “effectively shut down Mainland Poultry and halted the distribution of cruelly produced eggs to their suppliers,” said spokesperson Carl Scott, who last year spent a month inside a cage to protest the eggs Mainland sells.

Deirdre says their long-term goal is to abolish factory farming, but in the meantime, they work to raise awareness. Their investigations and rescues are certainly doing that as they grab headlines and disseminate their own press releases. They also speak to the public.

Last Saturday, 17 August 90 animal rights activists gathered in Auckland’s Aotea Square, holding dead chickens stood vigil in Auckland to draw attention to the treatment of chickens farmed for meat.

They each held the carcass of a dead chicken to represent 90 million chickens killed every year in New Zealand, says Hans Kriek the executive director of animals rights organisation SAFE.

“On New Zealand farms nearly 10,000 chickens die of disease every single day,” he said. “Many of these chickens are so badly crippled that they can’t reach food or water and succumb to hunger and thirst.”

The chickens are bred for fast growth and slaughtered at six weeks old. This causes health problems including, heart disease, lameness and sudden death syndrome, Mr Kriek said. A consumer boycott was the only way to stop the factory farming conditions, he said.

“Due to the unnatural genetic make up of the bird, there is currently no commercially produced chicken product on the market that could be described as humane.” The dead chickens used died from disease and health problems at farms around Auckland.