She's been called a "nutter" and told to "go back to Auckland", but Whanganui newcomer Sandra Kyle vows her animal activism will carry on.

The story of Kyle singing to animals to comfort them as they await their fate at the Heads Road meatworks provoked some strong reactions.

She was singing to sheep before they were slaughtered when she was asked to leave the Land Meat property in Castlecliff last month.

Trucks carrying sheep pull up there before heading to the Affco Imlay meatworks, and she and supporters stand vigil most Sundays from 1.30pm to 2.30pm.


She copped some strong abuse on social media when the Chronicle ran the story but she says it didn't bother her.

"I am well-informed and committed, so I am not unsettled by such criticism."

Her vigils will continue and she will ask the owners of Land Meat and Imlay if she can get closer to the animals and comfort them before they die. In some countries, abattoirs permit this, but she's not hopeful.

"I would like to remain in the holding pens with the animals if they allowed me," she said.

Pigs and cattle are slaughtered at Land Meat, and she has heard the pigs arrive after dark — "It could mean some night vigils."

Kyle says animals are sentient beings with emotions and should not be killed for food.
She became a vegetarian at university, then a vegan.

"I became a vegan overnight seven years ago, when I learned about bobby calves."

The feedback included a number of people supporting her stand, with some people offering to join her on her vigils, and a German author offered a donation.


Agriculture was not only cruel to animals but wasteful of resources and polluting for the environment, she told the Chronicle.

She is on a pension, but puts at least 10 hours and $150 a week into her animal activism.

As well as the vigils, she does Facebook posts and has a one-hour weekly Access Radio programme, Safe and Sound.

The programme — recorded in Palmerston and with guest speakers — is the most shared broadcast on Access Radio and was a finalist in the New Zealand Radio Awards this year.

She eats vegetables, grains, fruit and nuts, and has vegan biscuits and chocolate for treats.

"Vegan food is every bit as delicious as any other kind of food, as well as being healthier for the body, more sustainable for the planet and an amnesty for farmed animals who die in their billions every year."

And her pets are transitioning to a vegan animal food brand, Ami, and now "gobble it down".

The animal rights movement is growing worldwide, and Kyle believes slaughterhouses will be gone within 10 years as people move to a plant-based diet.

"We are seeing the death throes of a dying industry."

Animal agriculture is 16 times harder on the world's resources, including water, than horticulture, she said.

"Agriculture is not only cruel to animals but wasteful of resources and polluting for the environment."

She can't understand how hunters enjoy "taking the life of an innocent animal" and said predator control methods in New Zealand are cruel and indiscriminate.

"Why is the life of a kereru worth more than the life of a possum?"

As well as her work with animals in the Save movement, Kyle gives music lessons and is writing a book about animal rights.