Legal Status Sought for Animals as Indivduals

The Vegan Society of Aotearoa joins with World Day to End Speciesism (WoDES) on the last Saturday of August to ask five important questions of the New Zealand government.

1. That a new legal status be declared – the abolition of animals as property.

Imagine a world where animals are emancipated, where they are their own beings and not the property of a human. In this world a human does not “own” a dog or a cat, though they may encourage them to share their company.

2. The second ask is for education, to teach children that animals have as much right to live on this planet as humans do.

“We are appealing for compassion and empathy for the fellow creatures we share this planet with,” Vegan Society spokesperson Claire Insley implored, “It is a natural thing for children to see animals as equals, and it is time that adults took a similar view. Not only will the abolition of animal agriculture help our planet, it will also mean we can rewild vast areas of land and rebalance our world”

We seek a world where animals are not seen as food and therefore not bred in huge numbers to be mercilessly killed at a young age.  We ask that children are educated about the importance of other species.  There are steps being made all over the world with regard to racism and sexism – this is a natural and logical progression that would allow all beings to be regarded as equals.

3. An end to animal agriculture, closing slaughterhouses and commercial fishing and for all animal testing to cease.

The closure of slaughterhouses and the end of fishing will help increase a dietary culture of non-violence. Some 74 billion land animals meet their death every year to feed humans, a further trillion sea creatures are destroyed by hugely devastating trawlers that scrape all life from the sea floor. Billions of male chicks are gassed or ground up so we can eat eggs and millions of calves are killed close to birth so we can drink milk and eat cheese. Most people, when asked will tell you it is wrong to kill animals unnecessarily, yet most participate in doing so.

4. There needs to be an end of global subsidies for animal agriculture. Instead provide aid to transition current workers in this sector. The abolition of the killing of animals for consumption and the implementation of balanced plant-based diets in all establishments must also occur, not only for the betterment of the animals, but it is also the solution to climate change. With type 2 diabetes fast becoming the world’s number one killer, there has never been a better time to implement a global diet change.

5. Animals are not scientific equipment and thus the testing of medicines and surgical procedures on them must come to an end.
There may be strict laws on the welfare of laboratory animals in many countries, others have less stringent rules. Either way, animals suffer for research, whether it is mere scientific curiosity or an earnest desire to save human lives, doing so at the expense of animals is not appropriate. The time has come to agree that there are better ways of researching interesting ideas and that animal models for medicine are cruel and inappropriate.

Ultimately these asks culminate in animals not being seen or used as resources.

Just as humans are not resources, neither are the creatures we share this planet with. Each human is an individual and the same is true of animals. The future of our species depends on our species being able to see and acknowledge the other species that we share this planet with.

THE LETTER

Dear Honourable Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins

As part of a global movement, the Vegan Society of Aotearoa is calling for new laws to ensure the rights and health of animals in this country. Last year we joined with 114 organisations in 27 countries to draw attention to speciesism. This year we write to the government to open the conversation and ask the following:

The first is a new legal status – the abolition of animals as property. If we feel that an animal belongs to us, we feel that we have ownership of the animal and in the current paradigm, animals are not seen as individuals. They are not seen as the sentient beings that they are, with their own lives to lead, their own reasons for being and with the right to life. They are instead treated as commodities, to be bought and sold at will. To be used and abused, to be disposed of when they become inconvenient.

We also ask for education, to teach children that animals have as much right to live on this planet as humans do. There are huge steps being made all over the world with regard to racism and sexism, this is a natural and logical step forward that would allow all beings to be regarded as equals. It is well known that the planet without people would thrive and do well, but the planet without any wildlife or other animals becomes a sterile environment. The plants rely on animals for pollination, the ecosystem had a wonderful balance in place before human numbers increased to the point of viral load.

We demand the closure of slaughterhouses and the end of fishing, which will help increase a dietary culture of non-violence. Some 74 billion land animals meet their death every year to feed humans, a further trillion sea creatures are destroyed by hugely devastating trawlers that scrape all life from the sea floor. Billions of male chicks are gassed or ground up so we can eat eggs and millions of calves are killed close to birth so we can drink milk and eat cheese. This is in spite of the fact that most people would tell you it is wrong to kill animals unnecessarily, yet most participate in doing so.

Animals are not scientific equipment and thus the testing of medicines and surgical procedures on them must also come to an end. There may be strict laws on the welfare of laboratory animals in many countries, others have less stringent rules. Either way, animals suffer for research, whether it is mere scientific curiosity or an earnest desire to save human lives, doing so at the expense of animals is not appropriate. The time has come to agree that there are better ways of researching interesting ideas and that animal models for medicine are simply not good enough to continue.

The future of our species depends on our species being able to see and acknowledge the other species that we share this planet with. New Zealand could be leading the way with plant production and a plant-based economy. We need a strong vision for the future, one that encompasses animals as individuals.

Thank you for your time reading this, we look forward to receiving your reply

Ka kite ano

Kind regards

Amanda Sorrenson

National Coordinator

On behalf of The Vegan Society

RESPONSE FROM GOVERNMENT

Kia ora

I am writing on behalf of the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Chris Hipkins, to acknowledge your email of 25 August 2023. Please be assured your comments have been noted.

As the issue you have raised falls within the portfolio responsibilities of the Associate Minister of Agriculture, Hon Jo Luxton, your email has been forwarded to the Minister’s office for consideration.

Thank you for writing, and take care.

 

Ngā mihi

Private Secretary

 

Office of the Prime Minister

Authorised by Chris Hipkins MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160

 

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