Southland’s History

“You promote Veganism in Invercargill/Southland?  Don’t you know we’re all dairy farmers?”

Huh….you know….we’d never noticed that before! ;-)

Its certainly true New Zealand has long been known for our “agricultural export”, our “Freezing Works” export slaughterhouses have long been in operation:

“The New Zealand meat industry developed to service the British market. The first shipment, of 842 cases of canned meat, was in 1870, and in 1882 the first consignment of frozen carcasses was successfully shipped.”

“The Dunedin carried 4,909 sheep and lamb carcasses in the first shipment of frozen meat from New Zealand to Britain.”

Exporting frozen corpses by sea back to Mother Britain!  Who wouldn’t want to be in such a noble career?  Well, the sheep certainly wouldnt, who would want to be killed and sent to the other side of the world, in a frosty morgue?

Two “industry books” about Southland slaughterhouses, click to view inside, they contain GRAPHIC PHOTOS, taken for industry publications which show blood and animal flesh.

“A Cut Above” documents the first 25 years of the Alliance slaughterhouse company.

click to see more of the book”A Cut Above”

“This hapless animal with the paper hat became the 2 millionth lamb killed for the season on 23 May, 1968.  It was a New Zealand record.”

click to see more of the book”A Cut Above”

“The Keys to Prosperity” focuses on the history of the slaughterhouse industry in Southland.  The photos are remarkable in being from as early as the 1930’s, through to the 1980’s.

click to see pages from from “The Keys to Prosperity”

 Bizarre evolutions in the slaughterhouses are shown, along with “celebrations” of milestones, such as the below picture from 1953, where:

“June the 9th was a red letter day for the Makarewa works.  On that day, it became the first works (freezing works, an export slaughterhouse) in New Zealand to kill one million sheep and lambs in the season.  All employees recieved a crisp new £1 note.”

click to see pages from from “The Keys to Prosperity”

The victorious Managing-Director Alex Derbie looks sort of like a cross between US President Harry Truman  and US actor James Cromwell.  Vegetarian before starring as an animal farmer in “Babe”, Cromwell went Vegan while making the movie :-)

 “He says of his Babe character Farmer Hoggett, “I think the character I played had an ability to see animals as sentient beings, with as much a destiny and a drive and aspiration as he had. That dichotomy is true of everybody. People eat unconscious of what goes into the making of the food that is in front of them.” He also discussed his views on having companion animals, “First, I disagree with two of those words—’to own’ and ‘pet.’  You can’t own another creature…They’re not pets. ‘Pets’ has a connotation that we’re a superior species and they are an inferior species. We’re here to take care of them because they can’t make it on their own. They are companion animals, hopefully, if they choose to be, and we certainly do not own them,” he said.”



In 1978, local farmers became so very frustrated that slaughterhouses were at capacity, that they had to put up with “old sheep” who were “meant to be killed months ago”, they drove them into the streets of Invercargill and set them loose to cause panic in protest.

They were later killed as the cameras rolled, their throats cut, their blood overflowing the trenches dug in dirt.

The Invercargill Vegan Society attended the 35th anniversary reunion of the farmers slaughter protest.  Jordan went, the lone Vegan in a room full of retired farmers and slaughterhouse workers! :-)

Click to see photos of the farmers sheep slaughter protest, and book “Bloody Friday Revisited”, launched at the reunion.

Of course, present day local slaughterhouses are no better, they exist to harm and kill Other Animals, not care for them when they are sick.

“South Pacific Meats” is often written about in The Southland Times, with its never ending failures and abuses.  From workers cutting themselves, massive “effluent” dumps, or even 18 out of 20 (!!!) workers caught in drug tests, its not a shining beacon of respect for Animals.

Click to see more about these bizarre and upsetting incidents at this current day local slaughterhouse, right by Southland Hospital – a place of healing.  CONTAINS GRAPHIC PHOTOS AND OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE WRITTEN IN SHEEPS BLOOD.

We also have the only Horse Slaughterhouse in all of New Zealand which kills horses for humans to eat.  “Horse meat” is exported overseas, including the flesh of former racehorse.


click to see our visit to “Clover Export Limited” Horse Slaughterhouse in Gore

Perhaps present day Southland is best known for killing sheep, forcibly impregnating female cattle to take their breast milk (before killing them once they get “too old” and start producing less milk per pregnancy), but what of other animals we’ve killed?  Such as… Whales, and Seals.

Invercargill (and Southland) was home to many “Whalers” and “Sealers”, people who killed the animals we presently love, tourists come from around the world to see New Zealands wild animals.  Judging by this display at the Southland Museum & Art Gallery, we’ve come a long way!


The Southland Times “Southland Man Guilty Of Seal Attack” 12 November 2010 (Contains a self recorded video of these brave young Southlander stoners)  Notice the newspapers description of the seal as an “it”, rather than a he or she.

“A 20-year-old Southland man has become the first person in New Zealand to be sentenced to jail for viciously attacking a leopard seal.”

“The three men saw the seal as they were driving past Te Wae Wae Bay, 9km southwest of Tuatapere, and after stopping, began filming themselves throwing rocks at it before dragging it down a beach.”

“McKenzie’s friends Michael William Matthews, 23, and Phillip Ray Horrell, 24, were fined $7000 and $5000 respectively on the same charge when sentenced last month.

The maximum penalty for the charge under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 is six months in jail or a $250,000 fine.” 

Next time you enjoy the view at Lands End, consider its other name, Landsend/Stirling Point

We find out more about William Stirling on a memorial plaque

Far from being seen as cruel or horrific, killing whales and seals was all in a days work in Southland.  We may not talk about it often, and remain deeply opposed to present day whale killing, yet the place names, “Whalers Bay” remain, as do the plaques at Stirling Point, partly paid for by the Girl Guides!

You’ll also see these display panels as you walk up the Bluff Hill lookout tower.


Starched white shirts and bowler hats.


There were animals to kill, and money to be made, and so Southlanders killed whales and seals.

How long until we begin respecting *all* animals, to the degree we now respect whales and seals?  Not in terms of fines and moral panic, but in genuine respect in the marvel of others lives.  We’re so very lucky to be alive today, lets be nice to one another :-)

Perhaps Federated Farmers, and Dairy NZ are right to have “a tombstone” outside their Invercargill building?

Dairy NZ’s current motto of “Profitability, Sustainability, Competitiveness” wont be worth much when the majority of New Zealanders feel its wrong to hurt or kill *all* other animals.

Thankfully for those suffering, times change.  Invercargill citizens, Southlanders can be proud to campaign for Animal Rights, by promoting Veganism as the *least* other animals deserve, not to be seen as “things”, as property, but respected as our friends.