‘Veganism Will Fix Our Souls’ – New Zealand cows who tried to flee a slaughterhouse

Two steers made a brave effort to escape their fate in a slaughterhouse in Aotearoa New Zealand this week.    The speciesism that values some non-human lives over others sealed their fate.


On Monday 11th July a cow who had been running around the streets in a New Zealand town for nearly two hours was shot dead by police.  Another steer who escaped with him was contained and returned to the very place both animals were desperately trying to flee.

Self-isolating with Covid, I couldn’t drive to where the drama was unfolding to appeal for the lives of the animals. I am familiar with all three slaughterhouses in this town.   Since moving to Whanganui four years ago I have been doing peaceful weekly vigils at two of them, as part of the Animal Save movement.  I have countless photos and videos of frightened, depressed cows, and friends and I  have recorded them lowing, mooing, and bellowing their distress as they wait to be killed.   From the very moment they arrive they are on high alert.   Their instincts tell them something is very wrong, and they can probably ‘smell the blood in the air’.  It is rare animals ever get a chance to escape, but one came up at Waimarie Meats on Monday, and two steers went for it.

Forced to stay home and follow online, I telephoned the police to ask them not to kill the animals, saying I could provide a temporary home for them until a sanctuary could be found.   I had just been told the steer had been killed when I received a call from a police officer, who politely explained why such drastic action was taken.

According to the officer the decision was made because the steer in question was agitated, and had already charged an officer and knocked him to the ground.     The steer was stuck in mud near a cycleway that runs along the riverside near the meatworks, and risked breaking a leg as he tried to extricate himself.  The officers were also concerned if he did get himself out he could run onto the main road and cause a crash, or attack members of the public (despite the fact that he had already been running through the suburb for more than an hour prior to this).

I asked why several officers couldn’t have approached the distressed animal while he was partially immobilised.  They could have tried to calm him down by talking softly, then use ropes to secure him, and help him out of the mud.   The animal was frightened, and vulnerable.  Why was the most violent and lethal option chosen before anything else was tried?  The officer replied that they had carried out the course of action they thought best in the circumstances.

I was angry and upset.   Why don’t people care about the lives of farmed animals?  There is no intrinsic difference between the life of this steer and the life of my own beloved dog.    Our society has a ‘speciesist’ mentality that creates arbitrary distinctions between different animals, such as dogs and cats, and the animals we farm for food. Speciesism also carries the idea of human entitlement to the point that our steak sandwich is more important than the only life an animal will ever have.   We think nothing of ripping off their skin for a fur or leather jacket, forcing them into slaughterhouses for a sausage, separating newborn calves from their mothers because we want to drink their milk.  We do this hundreds of billions of times in the world every year, hundreds of millions of times in Aotearoa New Zealand, and it is all normal.    But ‘normal’ is not ‘right’.   Our treatment of other animals is purely and simply a question of morality.

While other animals may be vastly different from us in terms of form, and level of intelligence among other things, it is not our differences that are relevant when deciding whether non-humans matter morally, but our similarities.   The most important of these is sentience, the capacity to feel pain and experience emotional states subjectively, and we share this with all other animals on the planet.

The cows who made a valiant bid for freedom on Monday spent their last hours in pain and terror.   Within their massive bodies their hearts were hammering as they ran the streets of Whanganui looking for a safe haven, only to discover that none could be found. 

Knowing how they suffered I didn’t find the puns from this George article remotely funny, and was saddened (but not surprised) at the tenor of online comments on local news pages.  Pathetic, predictable comments such as ‘steak-out’ abounded, and most of the reactions – hundreds of them – were laugh emojis.  In the Whanganui Chronicle article a witness was quoted referring to the cow as ‘this thing’, and their writer used the word ‘beast’ at least once to describe him.   Speciesism in action.

We don’t have to be killing and eating other animals in 2022, and bringing needless suffering upon their innocent heads.  It is high time to fix our prevailing thinking that judges some lives to be less important because of the pleasure we get from a 15 minute meal.  

We need to start phasing out animal agriculture from Aotearoa New Zealand, and begin to work towards a plant-based economy.  There will be many advantages if we do, not only for the animals, our health and the environment.    When we finally stop exploiting and killing animals we won’t only be fixing our outdated, inherited thinking.  We’ll be fixing our souls.  



Sandra Kyle is an animal activist, teacher and writer.  She is the Editor of End Animal Slaughter

Voices For Animals Over The Years: Henry Bergh, Founder of the ASPCA

As part of our series ‘Voices for Animals over the Years’ in this article we profile Henry Bergh, the founder of the American Society for the Protection of Animals.


Henry Bergh (August 29, 1811-March 12, 1888) was the founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and was also involved in founding the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Bergh was the first to successfully challenge the prevailing view that animals were property with no rights of their own.

Bergh was born to wealth in New York City. His parents were Elizabeth Ivers and Christian Bergh, a ship builder.  As a young man he attended Columbia College in New York, but never completed his degree, instead travelling to Europe, where he dabbled in the arts and attempted a career in writing. In 1836 he married Catherine Matilda (née Taylor) and after his father’s death in 1843 he was rich enough to become a man of leisure, and he and his wife moved to Europe, where he wrote several unsuccessful plays.

In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed him to the American Legation at the court of Czar Alexander II in Russia. While in Europe, and particularly in Russia, Bergh witnessed extreme abuse of animals, which was commonplace.   At that time life was extremely hard for animals, and they had absolutely no rights or protection.   To see the way animals were treated, particularly horses who at that time were the main mode of transport and visible everywhere, made Bergh very sad.   While he was in Russia, whenever he noticed a peasant beating his horse he would step between the abuser and the animal, and command that the beating stop at once.  In this simple and courageous way he began his journey speaking out for the rights of suffering animals, and encouraging others to do the same.   

On his way back to the United States from Russia, Bergh stopped in England where he observed the work of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and he became determined to form a similar organization in America. Once home he began to talk to people about animals’ rights, enlisting the support of many influential friends.  Because of his contacts, people skills and his own money, he was successful in getting the first animal protection laws in America passed.  In 1866 he and his supporters formed the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, generally known as the SPCA.

The idea that animals had rights was laughable at that time, but Bergh and his followers were passionate.  They gave speeches on street corners, raising the awareness of the public, who began to be see that to treat animals cruelly is morally wrong.

Through the fledgling SPCA’s outreach, city dwellers also came to be aware of the suffering, not only of overworked and exploited horses drawing carriages, but also of farmed animals.  Out in the country dairy cows were suffering.  Many were half-starved, and were living in filthy barns.  As a result of their advocacy for dairy cows,  Bergh and his followers succeeded in getting regulations passed that dairy cows had to be well fed,  and were to be given decent shelter in clean barns.

Bergh fought for the rights of not just horses and cows but also of dogs, sheep, and other animals. He believed that all animals were important, including those on their way to slaughterhouses.  An empathetic and caring man, he later extended his concern to abused children, being instrumental in the founding of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

When Bergh died in 1888, he was greatly respected. His life had been devoted to improving the treatment of the most innocent and helpless – animals and children.    Today the ASPCA carries on the work of its compassionate founder Henry Bergh, friend of all animals.

SUBMITTING TO PAIN – How The Bit Controls A Racehorse And Why It Is Cruel

Main Points:-

  • The bit is forced against areas of the horse’s mouth that are known to have an extremely high density of sensory receptors. The only possible experience for a horse of this pressure from the bit in its mouth is pain.

  • Studies show Injuries from bit use range from lesions in soft tissue and bruising, to chronic impediment of a horse’s ability to breathe or swallow normally. The bit induces high levels of pain that can override all other pain a horse might experience, including fear. It’s this attribute that makes bits the highly effective, albeit cruel instrument of control they are.

  • Bits allow riders to push horses well past safe physiological limits, control them in painful and frightening circumstances, and are a contributing factor, if not the cause of many of the falls, shattered limbs, asphyxia and sudden death experienced by horses on the racetrack.

  • Because the general horse-loving public and non-racing horse riders often do not recognise the behaviours that indicate pain caused by bits, the magnitude of the problem is hugely underestimated. 

  • In general, people don’t want to contribute to cruelty to horses, so as awareness grows of the suffering, bit use must come under question.

  • If the Industry cannot force horses to run without the infliction of extraordinary cruelty and pain, is it ethical that they should be allowed to practice in our society at all?


Read the full Coalition For The Protection Of Racehorses article here

A Birthday Surprise – VEGAN VOICES writer Ingrid Newkirk

Next in our series on the writers of “VEGAN VOICES –  Essays by Inspiring Changemakers”, is Ingrid Newkirk.  

Ingrid Newkirk is the founder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (PETA), the largest animal rights organisation in the world with more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide.  She is the author of more than a dozen books that have been translated into several languages, her latest being Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries about Animals and Revolutionary New Ways To Show Them Compassion.

Extract from her essay in Vegan Voices:
“We were at the fanciest restaurant that served lobster in the Philadelphia area, and we had driven hours to get there. It was my birthday, and I can’t remember now if I was turning twenty or somewhere around there. The place was gorgeous – that I do remember – and the evening was perfect. White wine, freshly baked bread, candles, white linen, soft music, and the man I loved beside me. We ordered the lobster.
The next thing I recall is the waiter arriving with a silver salver, on which there were three lobsters to choose from.  They waved their antennae in our direction, but I thought nothing of it.  I didn’t know then that lobsters flirt, hold hands to guide each other across the ocean floor, and live to be decades old.  I didn’t know what my next words would mean to the one I gestured towards as I said, in answer to the question, “Broiled or boiled?”  “Broiled, please.” “



Review of Vegan Voices by Bruce Friedrich, Co-founder & Executive Director, The Good Food Institute:

“There are as many reasons to be vegan as there are vegans, as this lovely anthology makes clear. So many of my heroes in one place—what a treat. Read it and be inspired.”


Vegan Voices: Essays by Inspiring Changemakers
Available at Lantern Publishing & Media

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-59056-650-3
eBook ISBN: 978-1-59056-651-0

‘Lumps of flesh covered every surface’ – A slaughterhouse worker’s story

In this moving article, End Animal Slaughter contributor Mike Shaw recalls his job as a slaughterhouse worker, his ‘epiphany’ as he was about to kill a young boar, and his view on slaughterhouses now.


I didn’t do well at school, in fact I didn’t do well at childhood.  Bullied, and brought up in social services, I didn’t attend school at all for most of my last year. I still managed to pass one O level, albeit in art, but it wasn’t going to feed me.    I stumbled into retail work as I stumbled into most things in the those days, and should have been a baker but it wasn’t for me. I did though become a butcher in a local supermarket and after a while I could call myself a ‘time-served butcher’ due to experience, something you don’t hear much of nowadays. I had a knack for it.  I could throw a carcass through a bandsaw better and faster than most, and was a dab hand at trusting up a silverside or topside joint.  Then I had to move.  For a while I was homeless while still managing to keep the job down, but it was becoming harder and harder to do.  After a while it proved impossible so I became jobless to go along with my homelessness. I moved a little further up north and managed to get a room with relatives, and they told me about the plant nearby that was looking for workers.   I went on the off chance, and met the manager.   He took me into his office and we had a chat.  He said he was impressed with my credentials, and offered to show me around.

‘There were people in white everywhere you looked, and lumps of bloody flesh covered just about every surface, hung from every available space.  The dead animals outweighed the humans by some 20 to 1’.

The place was vast.  I was used to a butchery department in a store, and wasn’t prepared for this. The noise is the first thing to hit you followed by the smell, something you will never understand until you have never experienced it. There were people in white everywhere you looked, and lumps of bloody flesh covered just about every surface, hung from every available space.  The dead animals outweighed the humans by some 20 to 1.  I got the job.   I started in the cutting bay next to the slaughter bank.  Fresh meat was sent through on hooks to be fashioned into whatever cut of meat was required. I was fast, and before you knew it I was a supervisor. You got used to the noise, machinery, chatter, and sometimes the smell too, but one noise you never got used to was the animals you heard going through the slaughter bank.


But it was just a job.


When they asked me to move through to the slaughter floor, saying they would get me my licence to slaughter, I thought it sounded very James Bond so took the job.  Little did I know.

‘First day in the killing bays they give you a lamb, a knife and a set of electrodes, the idea being if you can kill it you can kill anything. It was less than six months old. They leave you to it, no matter how long it takes. It took me three hours, three hours of trying to not look at it, trying to not make eye contact, three hours before I could dispatch it’.

First day in the killing bays they gave you a lamb, a knife and a set of electrodes, the idea being if you can kill it you can kill anything. It was less than six months old. They leave you to it, no matter how long it takes. It took me three hours, three hours of trying to not look at it, trying to not make eye contact, three hours before I could dispatch it.

It had been several years and I had seen most things come through for slaughter; sheep, goats, bulls, horses, but the one thing I hated seeing coming through more than anything was the pigs.  They knew, they understood what was going on, they screamed, they fought you tooth and nail to stay out, they screamed and they screamed loud.

‘It had been several years and I had seen most things come through for slaughter; sheep, goats, bulls, horses, but the one thing I hated seeing coming through more than anything was the pigs.  They knew, they understood what was going on, they screamed, they fought you tooth and nail to stay out, they screamed and they screamed loud’.

I dreaded the pigs because I knew they knew.

Once an incident occurred that changed everything.  I had had a rough weekend, split up with my girlfriend at the time, and got so drunk it should have killed me.   It was a Monday morning and I was not in the best state of mind, made worse when I saw the paddocks full of pigs delivered in over the weekend.  Not just a couple, but hundreds.  It was going to be a busy day – and the pigs knew.

I put my whites on, grabbed my knife roll and went into the bank.   Outside the door I could hear them coming, high pitched screams and workers trying to muster them through.   They just didn’t want to go, but in they came, covered in old and new scars from journeys and loading and unloading, covered in each other’s shit from not being able to move around in the backs of lorries.  Suddenly there he was standing in front of me,  a young boar, teeth clipped so as to not damage the other ‘goods’, castrated, and screaming at me.

I didn’t realise how long I just stood there, I didn’t realise I had been crying for so long, I didn’t realise they were calling my name.

I just stood there looking at him and he sat looking back at me, no longer screaming. In my mind the same mantra was repeating again and again, “What the fuck are you doing?”

‘Standing knife in one hand electrodes in the other I cried, crying for what I had become, crying for what I was doing, crying for the man now buried deep inside the monster wielding a knife in front of its victim’.

Standing knife in one hand electrodes in the other I cried, crying for what I had become, crying for what I was doing, crying for the man now buried deep inside the monster wielding a knife in front of its victim.

I heard them shout my name.   I turned and who knows how I must have looked, tears on my cheeks and the same look on my face as the pigs, as they try not to go through the doors.  They looked at me wondering what was going on, and I didn’t know either.  Was I having a breakdown? 

No, it wasn’t a breakdown.  It was an epiphany.

I looked back at the young boar,  told him I was sorry, sorry for all I had done.  I dropped the knife and electrodes, took off my whites and dropped them to the floor. I turned and walked out, never to return.

It was just a job, but it wasn’t my job any more.

I moved away from the meat industry, lived my life as normal as others. I learnt to disassociate the same way as the rest of society does. I even carried on eating meat because it comes in styrofoam trays wrapped in clingfilm.

It’s now many years later and I’m now a vegan, an ethical vegan.    I’m here to tell you there is nothing humane within the walls of a slaughterhouse, it’s a place were all humanity is lost.  The existence of slaughterhouses is a terrible blight on our societies, and they need to be closed down forever.

Photo of Mike with his companions Piglet the English Bull Terrier, and Grumble the British Bulldog


Peter Singer To Donate $1,000,000 prize to charities

End Animal Slaughter’s congratulations go to Professor  Peter Singer who is the sixth recipient  of the Berggruen Institute’s annual $1 million Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture.


Established by French-born billionaire philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen in 2016, the award goes each year to thinkers whose ideas have profoundly shaped our world.


The Berggruen Prize jury chose Singer because he has been extremely influential in shaping the animal rights and effective altruism movements, and has for decades worked for the eradication of global poverty.


I have some of Professor Singer’s books, and admire him as a rigorous and fearless ethical philosopher.  Some of his views have been controversial, but as he wrote when he launched the Journal of Controversial Ideas in 2020, suppressing a view that may offend some people ‘would drastically narrow the freedom of expression on a wide range of ethical, political and religious questions.’  Freedom of thought, rightly, receives absolute protection under international human rights law.  Rather than suppressing views, it is informed, rational and compassionate public debate that is called for.  


I still remember as a young woman reading Animal Liberation, the book Singer wrote in the 1970s to argue that the suffering we inflicted on our fellow animals in food production and research was morally indefensible.   Even today I recall how my hand shook as I turned the pages, wondering what other horrors of our inhumanity to our fellow beings would be revealed.  This book helped chart the course of my life, and I will always be grateful to Professor Singer for that.   I also know of many other activists who read that book, and acknowledge the seminal it played in their life’s work.


 Nearly fifty years later, Singer remains a powerful force for change.  He will donate half the prize to The Life You Can Save, a charity he founded to help the world’s poorest people, and the remainder will go to animal charities, especially those working to free animals from factory farms. You can help decide how some of the money he is donating will be allocated by going to his charity’s website.


As Nicolas Berggruen says, Singer’s ideas ‘have inspired conscientious individual action, better organised and more effective philanthropy and entire social movements, with the lives of millions improved as a result.’


Thankyou Professor Singer for everything you have done and will continue to do.  This prize is very well deserved.


Sandra Kyle, Founder, End Animal Slaughter

Animal Exploitation Through The Ages

While our current civilisation is the most enlightened we continue to wreak extreme suffering and death on sentient non-human animals.  Future generations will regard this as the greatest moral failure of our time.


Yet while modern exploitation of animals for food, for research, for their skin and fur, for entertainment, and as ‘beasts of burden’ causes incalculable suffering to countless trillions of beings, we have always profited from other animals at their expense.


In this article from Crate Free USA we see how, from antiquity to the 21st century, we have caused our fellow beings incalculable suffering.  Because of the sheer numbers involved, animal abuse is now on a scale never before seen. 

One of the most effective ways we can help to redress these grievous wrongs is by stopping animal agriculture by adopting a vegan diet.


Read the article here:

We Need A Discussion On Animal Sacrifice

In this article from India Today a brave Indian Muslim fasts to protest animal sacrifice.


We need a discussion on animal sacrifice. Many animal sacrifice rituals are based on “substitution”, using animals as proxy-humans to discharge sins. We must ask why an act of publicly killing an animal (often with brutal, painful methods, entailing great suffering to the animal) is needed in 2021.  We have progressed in knowledge and understanding from thousands of years ago, when such practices were first carried out.


Animal sacrifice should be substituted entirely with other non-violent rituals that express the essence of the religious act, but without causing pain, emotional suffering and bloodshed to sentient beings.


Read the article here:





MUST-WATCH VIDEO: Dr Joanne Kong: Cherish All Animals

‘Dr Joanne Kong is an amazing person. A concert pianist and a Director of Music at the University of Richmond, she is also a TED speaker and lecturer on animal rights, environmental sustainability and compassion.  

This insightful and powerful video, written and produced by Joanne, blew me away. At only twelve minutes it can be seen again and again until the full importance of what she is saying is understood. It is a must-watch’.

-Sandra Kyle



We have come to a point we have never had to face in our lifetimes….  The  challenges are daunting… yet I believe we have been given this moment as a turning point.  It’s about fully realising this: that all  existence is deeply connected to the nature of our relationships with all other beings, human and non-human.  How we regard and treat our fellow earthlings, the attitudes we hold towards them and the places they have in our lives.  My purpose is to bring about conscious global awareness of the most destructive act on the planet: the domination and exploitation of non human animals mostly for food but also through the research, entertainment and clothing industries.  



What is it about ‘Fish are sentient’ that you don’t understand?

Fishes are sentient beings that deserve our respect and protection.  Vegan seafood alternatives are available.  Knowing what we now know about fish intelligence and sentience, it is highly unethical to be torturing and killing trillions of fishes every year. 


Read the Stuff NZ article here:- 



”Most of the public and most activists concentrate their attention only on mammals, in spite of scientific evidence that crabs and lobsters feel pain, that octopus and squid show complex behaviour comparable to mammals, and that fish also show evidence of similar complexities.”

“Fish displayed obvious signs of stress, such as breathing faster, hiding and avoiding eating, and the evidence that fish experienced pain is stronger than the evidence for many mammals” –  Professor Calum Brown, Macquarie University

“The perception that fish have a ‘three-second memory’, aren’t intelligent and don’t feel pain is wrong.”- Animal Rights campaigner Dr Michael Morris


Watch the Surge Video here:-


Most comprehensive website for fish advocacy:-