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Dairy Industry called out for ‘dirty’ practices in mock award ceremony

by Nic George (he/him)

chief reporter

Anti-dairy activists gathered outside the National Dairy Awards to host the “Dirty Dairy Awards” on May 15th.

The protest kickstarts the End Big Dairy campaign seeking to end “industrial farming which causes untold harm to animals, soils, waterways, wild ecosystems, communities, workers and the planet.”

According to Aotearoa's Climate Change Commission He Pou a Rangi, agriculture accounts for 91% of biogenic methane emissions and 94% of nitrous oxide emissions within Aotearoa New Zealand. This represents approximately 50% of the country’s gross emissions.

The event was hosted by Rise Up for Climate Justice, Climate Justice Taranaki, Auckland Feminist Action, Animal Save NZ, and Aotearoa Liberation League.

Spokesperson for Auckland Feminist Action Eliana Darroch spoke to the interconnectedness of the different advocacy groups within the anti-dairy movement.

“We are a rope and all of the different aspects of why the dairy industry should rapidly transition are all the strands of that rope."

“All of those aspects of why dairy should end are all interwoven into that rope, and it's just so lovely to see different aspects of the movement.”

Protesters stood near the entrance of the Great Room at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland CBD, holding signs and making noise to disrupt guests arriving at the National Dairy Awards ceremony being held inside.

Darroch says the turnout was promising and there was a positive energy coming from the crowd.

“It was really nice to be able to just turn that despair at the misery of animals and the destruction of our environment and putting it back at the industry and saying ‘This is what you've done, and you can't just hide behind some glitz and glam.’”

Speakers stood on a platform presenting their own “Dirty Dairy Awards”, mocking the ceremony inside the hotel.

Ceremony attendees passed by laughing and taking pictures of the protest, while guests arriving through the front entrance quietly ducked through the crowd.

Darroch says she saw the response from the farmers and was disappointed by their lack of concern.

“I saw a few laughing and that was kind of disheartening. We are genuinely bringing up issues that affect them too."

“Like nitrates in the water causing blue baby syndrome, and there's a high correlation between colon cancer and nitrates.”

She says the government needs to halt its investment in dairy farming if it is serious about climate change.

“The government should stop subsidising the dairy industry, and that includes making it exempt from the emissions trading scheme.”

There was a heavy police presence at the event as they formed a line between the protestors and the entrance to the event.


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