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New Zealand Vegetarians: At Odds with Their Nation

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image of Society & Animals

This qualitative study, conducted between August and December 2006, explored the opinions and experiences of New Zealanders who challenge orthodox attitudes to the use and consumption of nonhuman animals. To date, New Zealand (NZ) has under-investigated the perspectives of those who oppose animal farming, the eating of nonhuman animals, and the exploitation of nonhuman animals. Agriculture substantially influences the economy and cultural heritage of the nation. Given that national identity in New Zealand strongly associates with farming and meat production, this paper investigates how vegetarians living in this country experience and challenge prevalent imagery and ideas about New Zealand. In particular, the paper examines the ways in which “kiwi” vegetarians are disputing the dominant image of New Zealand as “clean and green” and a land of "animal lovers" and how they are experiencing mainstream (meat-loving) kiwi culture in their everyday lives. The paper also examines some of the more positive aspects for vegetarians of living in New Zealand.

Affiliations: 1: New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies, University of Canterbury, PB 4800, Christchurch, Aotearoa, New Zealand;, Email:; 2: New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies, University of Canterbury, PB 4800, Christchurch, Aotearoa, New Zealand


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