New Zealand: A Battery Farm for Beef.



No grass; no shelter;
no way to treat an animal.





Cattle confined to tiny barren pens, no opportunity to graze and no access to shelter. Paddocks stacked full of cattle extend off into the distance. A battery farm for beef.

It sounds like a scene from the American Midwest, but this is not America. This is Aotearoa.

New footage shows up to 19,000 cattle confined in dirt-covered pens in New Zealand’s biggest feedlot in Ashburton, Canterbury. This is factory farming on an immense scale. With it comes significant animal suffering. Cattle are denied the opportunity to graze, forced to compete for unfamiliar food and lack access to shelter.

The footage from SAFE, shot high above the facility with a Farmwatch drone, was released last night on RNZ’s Checkpoint. This is a dark reality of modern farming that NZ Beef & Lamb is keeping hidden away behind their bold marketing imagery. Their spokesperson on the programme was keen to downplay the existence of these factory farms.

The feedlot exposé sparked hundreds of online comments expressing shock and outrage. Kiwis reject factory farming.


NZ Feedlot

Cattle will normally choose to graze for eight hours a day. When confined to a feedlot these animals cannot express this normal grazing behaviour. They become bored and bullying is common, with some cattle struggling to access food due to interference from more aggressive animals. Lack of shelter leaves them exposed to cold rain and wind, and unable to escape the hot sun, which breaches the Animal Welfare Act. Unfamiliar food can cause digestive problems like bloating and diarrhoea. Cattle can spend up to four months suffering in this way – and it is unacceptable!


This is the American industrialisation of beef farming.





Feedlots are a so-called ‘finishing operation’ where cattle go to be ‘fattened up’ before being served as food. The meat is sold as premium beef, on the shelves of your local supermarkets and in restaurants. Other feedlots are used before shipping animals overseas for the live export trade.

The virulent spread of feedlots in New Zealand shows that our country is moving towards damaging intensification of the beef industry. And it’s not just the cattle who suffer. We all pay the price for the environmental damage caused by animal farming.

This industrialised farming practice intensifies agriculture’s environmental footprint. With no opportunity for grass to grow, food has to be grown elsewhere and delivered by truck, and animal waste builds up in the small space. More cattle create more damage, impacting our fragile ecosystems.

This is not the environment we want to see in New Zealand.

But there is a solution.

Our Government can put an end to this. Environment Minister Hon David Parker can choose to end feedlots, by including them in his National Policy Statement on freshwater. Use your voice to ask him to act urgently on this matter.


Send the Minister an email urging him to end feedlots for the sake of animals and our environment.





Together we can stop this!

For the animals


Marianne Macdonald
Head of Campaigns

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