MORE THAN 80 animal rights protesters staged a silent protest at City Square today, holding the carcasses of animals – including kangaroos, penguins and a stingray .
Members of Animal Liberation Victoria staged the protest against animal cruelty about 12.30pm.
The protest attracted a media scrum as the animal activists held the bodies of sheep, pigs and chickens they said had been found dead or dying inside industrial animal factories around Victoria.
Other animals, including possums, ducks, rats and a cat were found in paddocks or on the side of the road.
“We are here today to draw attention to the fact that humans are currently responsible for the breeding and slaughter of 64 billion land animals around the world each year and between one and three trillion sea animals,” said ALV president Noah Hannibal.
“Like us, these animals have an interest in living and not suffering, and we cannot ignore their interests simply because they do not belong to our species.’’
ALV campaign spokeswoman Felicity Anderson said the group had obtained a permit form the City of Melbourne to stage a peaceful protest but had not advised the council about the presence of animals.
“There are dead animals in cafes all around us,’’ she said. ‘‘I don’t see what the difference is or why this would be an issue.”
Ms Anderson said this was the first protest of its kind in Australia. Similar protests have been held in Spain, Chile, France, Germany and Peru.
“We’ve been inspired by similar protests, like one in Madrid this year that had 400 people. We hope to touch Australian hearts today.”
Animal Liberation Victoria actively campaigns against animal cruelty. Its members have been arrested for breaking in to animal factories and removing sick and injured animals.
Four ALV members, including former president Patty Mark, were charged earlier this year with trespassing on a Mornington Peninsula egg farm. The activists breached bail conditions relating to an earlier break-in offence by refusing to leave sheds housing up to 20,000 hens.
Ms Mark said in a speech to the protesters: ‘‘We stand here today to speak out for social justice and equality. Animals are not our property, they are not our slaves, they are not our raw materials. They are individuals.’’
‘‘We would like people to reflect on the harmful choices they make. We stand to encourage our fellow humans to broaden their circle of compassion,’’ she said.
The protesters held two minutes’ silence for the dead animals.