Protesters yelling "no excuse for animal abuse" are calling on the Government to change how authorities investigate animal cruelty complaints.
They say the Ministry for Primary Industries, which investigates animal welfare complaints and helps promote the farming industry, has a conflict of interest.
"We would like animal welfare separated from the Ministry for Primary Industries", says protest spokesman Shanti Ahluwalia, of SAFE.
"Because currently it's their job to look after farmers - and it is a clear conflict of interest that they also police the farmers on animal welfare".
Thirty protesters holding signs took over a section of the footpath by the Ministry's offices on central Wellington's The Terrace.
"The Government has been quite quiet on the issue, saying they are looking into it and they'll take care of it," says Mr Ahluwalia.
"Every time they promise change we always find, the moment we turn our backs nothing really happens."
The action follows an investigation by TVNZ's Sunday programme, which revealed instances of bobby calves being treated poorly by farm workers.