The Independent is proud to present a new column by one of NZ”s foremost animal rights activists, Hans Kriek
Hans is well-known on the Coast as he worked at the Kapiti Coast SPCA shelter as a manager and animal welfare inspector before taking on the management and directorship of Wellington SPCA.
He’s now Executive Director of SAFE (Save Animals From Exploitation) New Zealand’s leading animal advocacy organisation.
Hans has exposed many shocking animal cruelty practices on national TV cementing his reputation as New Zealand’s most outspoken critic of animal exploitation. With 13 years experience within the SPCA and a 26 year affiliation with SAFE, Hans has a longstanding commitment to animal advocacy in New Zealand. Here’s his column…
The Fieldays at Mystery Creek near Hamilton is the largest agriculture show in the southern hemisphere.
Around 120,000 people visit over 900 exhibitors displaying their wares. This year, SAFE, New Zealand’s most proactive animal advocacy group, turned heads by holding for the first time ever an eye-catching display showing the cruelty of pig and chicken factory farming.
“A strange experience’
For an animal rights activist, being at the Fieldays is a strange experience and the whole environment feels somewhat alien. Why do all those attending fail to see that the wool is being pulled over their eyes?
The Fieldays presents a sanitised picture of animal agriculture, where the dairy industry’s Rosie, the cow, tells children that without milk production, they couldn’t have icecream but does not mention that her babies, and eventually she herself, will be killed.
Leaving out the more unpalatable facts of the farming industry seemed to be the theme of the event. The poultry and pork industries succeeded best. They simply did not attend, ensuring that their factory farming practices remain well hidden.
Ministry fails on animal welfare
Even the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) failed to address animal welfare. Instead they had a flash $150,000 display telling farmers that they want to double agriculture income by 2025. How? By sending more of Rosie’s milk to China.
New Zealand profits from animals and their products to the tune of 21 billion dollars each year. Of this money a measly 0.03 percent is spent on animal welfare. Sadly, this lack of interest in animal welfare was reflected at the Fieldays, where visitors were kept ignorant of the suffering inflicted on farmed animals.
By presenting the case for the animals, SAFE’s factory farming display was a real eye-opener for many people. I hope it made them think and question why animal-using industries are less than forthcoming when it comes to showing the full picture. As consumers we vote every day with our wallets and every day we can make a difference. On your next trip to the supermarket, take a stand for animals. By not buying battery eggs or factory-farmed pork and chicken you will join the many thousands of New Zealanders who no longer support the cruel farming of animals.