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50,000 of us took action to protect animals in 2019

In 2019, we worked with New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS), SAFE, Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Direct Animal Action to take powerful coordinated action to protect our animal friends.

SAFE are taking action for our country's cows

A group of cows, one looking straight at the camera

We know animals can experience a full range of emotions from joy to sadness, to fear, to love.

New Zealand's laws around animal welfare have been updated to acknowledge this and are meant to protect animals from harm. However the government still allows farmers to export cows and other animals to countries with much worse animal welfare standards for the sake of private profit.

While exporting animals for slaughter was stopped back in 2003, farmers are still exporting live animals for ‘breeding purposes’. In 2019, more than 22,000 cows were sent overseas.

The animal charity SAFE used OurActionStation to petition the government to stop future shipments as cows sent overseas are likely to end up in concrete factory farms and when slaughtered it will be with cruel methods that are banned in New Zealand.

Over 30,000 people signed the petition and it's now sitting with Parliament. And while we can’t change the rules for how other countries treat animals, we can change the rules in New Zealand and stop sending animals away to suffer.

We're working together to save Hectors and Māui dolphins

A māui dolphin swimming through the ocean water

Hectors and Māui dolphins are unique to Aotearoa New Zealand. They live close to the coast, making human activities such as fishing especially risky for them and unfortunately today there are only about 60 Māui and 15,000 Hectors surviving.

Whale and Dolphin Conservation have teamed up with ActionStation to join the call for government action to enable Māui and Hectors dolphins to flourish. They've set up a tool on OurActionStation that enables people to email Jacinda Ardern about their concerns and more than 9,000 people have since taken action. You can send an email here.

NZAVS are working hard to end cruel animal testing

A mouse looking straight at the camera

Up until a few decades ago many scientists believed that animals didn’t feel pain and acted simply from instinct and reflex. Many of our current animal welfare policies and factory farming systems were designed during this time.

However, science now recognises that animals are conscious, can experience pain and have complex emotions such as anxiety, fear and love - something anyone who has an animal friend in their life already knows. Our law now says clearly that animals are ‘sentient’ beings meaning, like us, they have awareness and capacity to experience and feel things subjectively.

While this law provides weight to efforts to stop cruelty to animals in our communities, it is still happening. Last year, animal rights group New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) learned that universities are using animals in a test designed to model human depression that forces mice to swim until they almost drown.

The Forced Swim Test (FST) is an experiment where mice or rats are dropped into a vessel of water and forced to swim in order to stay alive. They are given different kinds of test drug compounds. When the mouse feels close to drowning it will give up and float. The experimenter records when this happens, assuming that a more depressed animal gives up trying to escape earlier.

Not only is this test cruel but the test doesn’t model any sign or symptom of human depression. This suggests it is not relevant to our understanding of mental health and potentially sending researchers down the wrong track.

To stop harming animals NZAVS is asking universities to use human-relevant research methods. There are a number of options for finding real, effective treatments for human depression, addiction or any other human illness.

In 2019, they launched and delivered a petition calling for an end to these tests that more than 17,000 people signed.

Together we saved the habitat of the Haast Tokoeka kiwi

A Haast Tokoeka kiwi

In 2018, 18,534 of us took action to stop a water bottling company from building a destructive pipeline through a sanctuary which is home to New Zealand's rarest kiwi, the Haast Tokoeka.

Okuru Enterprises Ltd (now trading as Alpine Pure) was given the right to take and export 800,000 tonnes of water – about 800 million litres – each month from a water catchment high in the mountains at Mount Aspiring National Park.

However, as a result of our combined people power the project was stalled and in 2019 we won! The kiwi sanctuary, surrounding forest and the Haast Tokoeka are safe for now but we'll keep an eye on this and be sure to let you know if we need to mobilise again.

A quick note from our team: Around Aotearoa and the world there is a small but committed group of people who donate to ActionStation every month. They are some of the unseen heroes in these stories who nurture our campaigns from the moment they spark into existence to the moment they win.

If you feel moved after reading about what we achieved together, please consider setting up a regular contribution. 

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