Ac­tivist’s im­ages cap­ture at­ten­tion

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRIESTLEY

See­ing is be­liev­ing.

And 26-year-old an­i­mal ac­tivist John Dar­roch wants to use that to his ad­van­tage.

The pho­tog­ra­pher’s im­ages of a caged hen be­ing re­leased and piglets tak­ing their first steps out­side will be on show in the An­i­mal Ex­ploita­tion and Lib­er­a­tion art ex­hi­bi­tion next week.

The event has been or­gan­ised by the Auck­land Univer­sity An­i­mal Rights Group and is show­ing at the Te Karanga Gallery on Karanga­hape Rd from Au­gust 4 to 8.

It is about get­ting the shock­ing im­ages into the public eye, Dar­roch says.

‘‘It’s in­cred­i­bly over­whelm­ing and dis­turb­ing. I don’t think you can re­ally get the sense of just how many an­i­mals there are or how crammed in they all are un­til you see it. The cam­era acts as a bar­rier be­tween me and the an­i­mals some­times, which is use­ful.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be thought­pro­vok­ing for peo­ple, I think.’’

Dar­roch vividly re­mem­bers watch­ing a tele­vi­sion show about a fac­tory farm in 2004 and be­ing hor­ri­fied at what he saw. He be­came a veg­e­tar­ian the next day.

Over the next few years he be­came heav­ily in­volved in an­i­mal ac­tivism and signed up to an­i­mal rights or­gan­i­sa­tion Farmwatch.

The so­cial work stu­dent stud­ies at Auck­land Univer­sity’s Ep­som cam­pus and di­vides his spare time be­tween work­ing, look­ing af­ter his son and tak­ing pho­tos for Farmwatch’s in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

The work in­cludes crawl­ing through fields and over fences in the dead of night be­cause the farm­ers do not al­low the Farmwatch team on their prop­er­ties.

Dar­roch takes pho­tos of what they find when they get in­side in or­der to ex­pose the con­di­tions, he says.

The work is re­ward­ing but it does take a psy­cho­log­i­cal toll, he says.

‘‘Lit­er­ally just driv­ing around the coun­try I see things that would just shock the meat-eat­ing public. We’ve come across young calves with their horns chopped off and blood run­ning down their faces.

‘‘When you start think­ing about the way an­i­mals are treated and drive through the coun­try­side with that mind­set it sud­denly be­comes a very dif­fer­ent place. It’s no longer this idyl­lic thing.’’

The ex­hi­bi­tion aims to raise money for an­i­mal res­cue or­gan­i­sa­tion Help­ing You Help An­i­mals New Zealand and in­crease aware­ness about the pe­ti­tion to re­duce an­i­mal deaths on the Auck­land Univer­sity cam­pus.

Auck­land Univer­sity An­i­mal Rights Group leader Nic­cola Davies says it’s about mak­ing the public aware of an­i­mal rights in gen­eral.

Art as an ex­pres­sion of so­cial jus­tice is in­valu­able, she says.

‘‘We’re just try­ing to build a bit of a com­mu­nity of peo­ple who care about these is­sues as well.

‘‘It’s such a rel­e­vant is­sue at the mo­ment and we kind of want to con­tinue the mo­men­tum and keep peo­ple in­ter­ested and car­ing and wor­ried and con­cerned.’’

Photo: LAU­REN PRIESTLEY

right: John Dar­roch uses pho­tog­ra­phy to keep the con­ver­sa­tion go­ing around an­i­mal rights.

Photo: JOHN DAR­ROCH

An­i­mal rights: John Dar­roch’s photo of a caged hen be­ing re­leased will be in­cluded in the ex­hi­bi­tion.

Art ac­tivism,

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