After 27 people were arrested for taking part in an animal rights protest that blocked a major Melbourne intersection on Monday, others were left wondering what the vegan action was all about.
More than 100 activists chanted: “What do we want? Animal liberation – now!” with some sitting on tram tracks near the Flinders-Swanston St intersection as rush hour traffic ground to a halt.
And while their chants failed to go into specific details, the protest’s organiser Chris Delforce elaborated further on why they were out on the streets in force on Monday.
Mr Delforce, who is the director of the documentary Dominion, which looked to reveal the graphic underbelly of animal agriculture, said the protest commemorated the first anniversary of the short film.
“The industry is telling people these animals are being killed ethically, that they are being killed humanely – the reality is … it’s the furthest thing from humane,” Mr Delforce told AAP.
He laughed off Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s suggestion the protests occurring across the country were “un-Australian”.
“I think most Australians are opposed to animal cruelty,” the animal rights activist said.
Controversial animal activist group Aussie Farms, which was responsible for the interactive map which detailed the activities of farmers across the country, has outlined their demands over the recent protests.
The group, which Mr Delforce is the founder and heavily involved in, outlined six key requests they want state and federal agriculture ministers to consider.
Several requests surrounded around Dominion, with calls to have the documentary added to schools’ curriculums.
Aussie Farms’ six demands on the government
Publicly acknowledge inherent cruelty in the process of killing animals for food, clothing and entertainment
Insert a link to view documentary “Dominion” in a prominent position on their department’s website
Publicly commit to banning use of intentionally deceptive marketing labels and imagery on animal products
Commit to screening “Dominion” in school curriculum for students aged 15 and over
Add warning labels onto animals products advising of ethical, health and environmental issues associated with them
End government subsidies for industries that use, exploit and abuse animals
Melbourne protest latest in series of events
During Monday’s event outside Flinders Street station, protesters held signs that said: “This is a peaceful protest” and “SOS animal emergency climate emergency”.
One man started jumping up and down before being detained by five police officers as the action caused traffic chaos during the morning peak.
Some protesters chained themselves to vans, draped in black and emblazoned with the web address of a vegan documentary, that were parked in the middle of the intersection.
While those vans have now been towed, protests were also staged on Monday at Victorian abattoirs in Corio, Pakenham and Bacchus Marsh.
Police criticise lack of communication
Victoria Police confirmed 27 people were arrested on Monday including two 17-year-olds and a 15-year-old following this morning’s protest.
Protesters were arrested in relation to obstructing a roadway, resisting or obstructing police, and are assisting police with their enquiries.
Superintendent David Clayton said action was taken due to a lack of communication before the protest.
“Police were not engaged with prior to the protest that took place in Melbourne CBD this morning,” he said.
“Police are able to facilitate planned protests when we are engaged with which doesn’t put the community at risk.
“This lack of engagement puts the entire community at risk with road closures and delays to transport services.
“We respect the right for people to protest peacefully but we will not tolerate anti-social behaviour that disrupts the broader community.”
It comes after hundreds of animal rights activists rallied on Saturday, as part of a global protest, calling for an end to slaughterhouses outside Queen Victoria Market.
Nine people were also arrested at a Goulburn abbatoir after they chained themselves to machinery.
Protestors also took to the streets of Sydney with planned events in Hyde Park and Martin Place.
But Mr Delforce denied his followers were involved in harassing a farm cafe to the point of closure.
Scott Morrison hit out over the behaviour of protests on Monday, saying their actions were unacceptable.
The prime minister scolded the “shameful” actions of vegan protesters who have invaded farms and abattoirs.
“It is shameful, it is un-Australian,” Mr Morrison told 2GB radio on Monday.