Photograph by Paris Waterworth
Animal rights activists from around New Zealand have chipped in to fund a new billboard, which was erected on
Wellington's Cuba Street on Thursday morning (14/02/2019).
The 6m x 3m billboard features an image of a factory farmed pig (supplied by Farmwatch NZ) and the words "If you think
it's wrong to hurt animals, you already believe in being vegan”. Designed by volunteers Atom Emet and Lauren
Wickens-Smith, the billboard encourages viewers to consider whether veganism aligns with their own beliefs, and
challenges them to sign up for a free 22 day vegan experience at https://www.challenge22.com/
Emet, who has been vegan for over 20 years, stated, “Most people already know that it's wrong to exploit animals, and we
know that we don't need to. So ideologically at least [most people] are already on-board with veganism”.
Co-designer and project manager Wickens-Smith said, "It’s funny, people talk about the 'vegan agenda' as if it's somehow
different from their own. But most people, if they find sick or injured animals, will try to save them. Even someone who
eats chicken every day, will usually feel sad when they hit a bird with their car. We just don't think about the animals
who are suffering and dying for our food. Or maybe we don't realise that by paying for it to happen, we are
“So it's not that we're trying to change people's beliefs. We are simply asking people to align their actions with the
values of kindness and compassion that they already hold. It’s just about making that connection, and having the
strength of conviction to follow through with it".
“Like with any lifestyle change, becoming vegan can take some getting used to. But everyone I know has found it much
easier than they thought it would be”.
Wellington-based activist Paris Waterworth, who is a mentor for Challenge 22 and supports participants via a Facebook
group, said that Challenge 22 “makes the transition to veganism as easy as possible”.
“I've been blown away by how supportive and caring everyone in the community is, and I wish I had known about it when I
first decided to go vegan!”
“I hope that people who see the billboard are interested and take advantage of this resource”.
The billboard will be up on Cuba Street for five weeks, and will then be reused in other locations around Wellington and
New Zealand. The activist group also plans to produce a range of new designs, focussing on the ethical, environmental
and health impacts of animal agriculture.
Simon Lyons, who kick-started the billboard venture, said that he has always been a fan of “many hands, light work” and
that he took the same approach with this project.
“I could see a bunch of passionate vegans, some of whom were already busy doing activism, and saw it as a good way to
bring everyone together to fund local vegan projects”.
Anyone wanting to support this, or future campaigns, can make weekly, fortnightly, or one-off donations to
12-3142-0408873-01 using the reference “billboards”.