Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Mad Butcher op ed

Mad Butcher op ed

The Mad Butcher debacle has captivated the country with all the dramatics of a season finale of Shortland Street. And let’s face it, Sir Peter Leitch is every bit as kiwi as Shorty and just as loved.

According to one shopper interviewed outside the Mad Butcher store in Manukau last week by a Stuff reporter, Leitch is a ‘good guy’. He is a ‘good guy’, said this Mad Butcher customer, because ‘he is a well-known New Zealand personality’.

Surely to qualify as a ‘good guy’ one might need more than just notoriety as the number one criteria? But then his popularity is based on his media shaped image as a person who is down to earth, mad as a meat axe and an all-around good bloke.

New Zealanders are not always too flash at questioning the status quo.

So, hats off to Lara Bridger for speaking out when Leitch called Waiheke Island a ‘white man’s island’. What makes Leitch think he has the power to define who belongs on Waiheke Island?

The answer to this question is multifaceted and deserves our full attention.

Let’s begin with Leitch himself. Of course Leitch’s justified his racist rant as ‘banter’. For him, that is what it was. I can guarantee that he has never had to analyse his underpinning assumptions, motivations and values based on his position as a white, pakeha wealthy male. Let me state uncategorically that there is no such things as ‘banter’ when it comes to assertions of power and superiority based on racial categories.

Neither should it be reduced to ‘casual racism’ as described in the media.

Leitch’s comments are more salt in the wound of New Zealand’s painful history of ingrained colonial attitudes of superiority and white man’s privilege. There is absolutely nothing ‘casual’ about that.

And there is a deep-seated irony in Leitch being called out as a racist that has not been picked up on yet. Leitch has profited enormously from the suffering, abuse and violent deaths of animals. In this respect he is in the same league as other well-known New Zealanders such as Sir Peter Tolley and many others thoughout Western history since the invention of slaughterhouses in the 1890s. He could also be likened to the railroad barons in America who demanded and enabled the slaughter of the bison.

Given the historical and existential similarity between the slave trade and the meat trade, being called out as a racist is entirely fitting. Leitch’s absolute and totalising speciesism ( the assumption of human superiority leading to the exploitation of animals) runs parallel to his racism.

Animal liberation is , of course, a cause that many have yet to embrace. This is probably nearly all of us are party to the exploitation and abuse that allows men such as Leitch to become rich. However, what has finally been revealed about the Mad Butcher with this fiasco is this – those who abuse and disrespect animals also show disrespect for humans in equal measures.

Lynley Tulloch is an educator and independent writer on animal welfare.

Paul Judge is a documentary filmmaker and writer on environmental issues.


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Charlotte Graham: I OIA'd Every Council In NZ...

A “no surprises” mindset and training and advice that has taught public servants to see any media interaction as a “gotcha” exercise perpetrated by unscrupulous and scurrilous reporters has led to a polarised and often unproductive OIA process. More>>


Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation The South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>

Charlotte Graham: Empowering Communities To Act In A Disaster
The year of record-breaking natural disasters means that in the US, as in New Zealand, there’s a conversation happening about how best to run the emergency management sector... More>>


Campbell On: The attacks on Lorde, over Israel
The escalation of attacks on Lorde for her considered decision not to perform in Israel is unfortunate, but is not entirely unexpected…More

Jan Rivers: The New Zealanders Involved In Brexit

There are a number who have strong connections to New Zealand making significant running on either side of the contested and divisive decision to leave the European Union. More>>

Rawiri Taonui: The Rise, Fall And Future Of The Independent Māori Parties

Earlier this month the Māori Party and Mana Movement reflected on the shock loss of their last parliamentary seat in this year’s election. It is timely to consider their future. More>>

Using Scoop Professionally? Introducing ScoopPro

ScoopPro is a new offering aimed at ensuring professional users get the most out of Scoop and support us to continue improving it so that Scoop continues to exist as a public service for all New Zealanders. More>>