Fonterra Open Gates Protest Turns into Amicable Dialogue
Differing points of view were amicably shared today between protestors and farmers at Stewart Dairylands during the Fonterra Open Gates, 2019.
A group of activists, from New Plymouth, Whanganui and Palmerston North. converged outside the Ashhurst farm to protest to hundreds of visitors, the exploitation of dairy cows and calves. The protest was part of joint action that took place around the country at eleven Open Gates dairy farms, often in the pouring rain, by Mothers Against Dairy (MAD).
“In 2015, New Zealand legally recognised the sentience of animals, but this hasn’t translated into anything of practical help for the animals being exploited to make a profit”, says Jessica Strathdee of the New Zealand division of MAD.
Organiser of the Ashhurst protest, Whanganui resident Rebecca Lee, felt it was important to show the attending public the full picture so the consumer can make an informed decision. ‘New Zealand slaughters around 1.7 million neonatal calves annually so that humans can drink the milk intended for them. The death of bobby calves, plus the disposal of worn-out mother cows in slaughterhouses around New Zealand are not mentioned at the Open Gates events’.
During the protest, Fonterra and farming staff came to talk to the activists, seeking insight into the purpose for their presence. As lengthy conversations took place it became apparent that farmers are feeling the pressure in a time of climate change to improve their global footprint. “Transitioning to a plant-based economy will benefit farmers, the climate, our health, and animals alike”, says Lee. “While we don’t have all the answers yet, we feel strongly that the government needs to work together with farmers towards ceasing the exploitation of animals and creating a better future for all New Zealanders”.