From left, Animal Liberation ACT members Jessica Hare, Carolyn Drew and Benice Richmond appeal to shoppers at the Canberra Centre.

From left, Animal Liberation ACT members Jessica Hare, Carolyn Drew and Benice Richmond appeal to shoppers at the Canberra Centre. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

About a dozen pro-vegan activists brandishing pictures of farmed creatures implored shoppers to take pork and turkey off the Christmas menu at a demonstration on Sunday.

But the pleas from Animal Liberation ACT members largely fell on deaf ears as their calls of ''This is what you're eating. It's very unhealthy'' elicited little response from passersby in Civic.

The organisation's spokeswoman, Jess Ferry, was unfazed by the lack of a response. ''Unfortunately, that's what happens. We'll continue trying to tell them what the industry doesn't want them to know.

From left, Animal Liberation ACT members Jessica Hare, Carolyn Drew and Benice Richmond appeal to shoppers at the Canberra Centre.

From left, Animal Liberation ACT members Jessica Hare, Carolyn Drew and Benice Richmond appeal to shoppers at the Canberra Centre. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

''Everyone cares about animals and if they knew what happens to animals via [the meat] industries, they wouldn't support it.''

The activists were part of a national day of action. They handed out vegetarian alternative ideas such as ''veg roast'' and tofurkey.

Ms Ferry was told Australian Pork Limited, the producer-owned organisation, said Australian farmers prided themselves on their ''progressive'' welfare practices.

''I would argue the word 'humane' when it comes to killing animals doesn't exist,'' she said.

''These animals, whether they're in factory farms or free range, suffer when they go to a slaughterhouse. They're all killed. These animals are raised for meat. They're seen as objects and when an industry views living beings as objects they put profit before animal welfare.''

Australian Pork Ltd chief executive, Andrew Spencer, described the Australian pig industry as one of the world's most progressive in animal welfare. He cited the voluntary undertaking to cease using stalls for pregnant sows, a commitment made in 2010 with which about 55 per cent of the industry complied.

''We're very proud of what we do for [pig] welfare,'' he said. ''It's a pity these people can't bring themselves to recognise what we're doing.

''[Activists aren't] interested in welfare improvement, they're interested in hurting the industry with their vegetarian agenda.''

He recommended those concerned about pig welfare buy Australian pork as local pigs were more likely to have been treated humanely than those farmed in America and Europe.

Animal Liberation ACT expressed concern for the removal of piglets' tails and the clipping of pigs' teeth.

Mr Spencer explained the tails were cut because other pigs sometimes chewed on them and this could lead to infections, health problems and death. Teeth were clipped because sharp teeth cut sows around the udder or wounded pigs during play-fighting.