Australia animal activists shut down streets and storm slaughterhouses

Animal rights protesters block the intersection of Flinders and Swanston streets during a demonstration Monday in Melbourne, Australia.

(CNN)Dozens of animal rights activists were arrested as coordinated protests brought one of Australia's biggest cities to a brief standstill Monday amid calls for sweeping changes to the country's meat industry.

The biggest protest appears to have taken place in the Victoria capital of Melbourne, where more than 100 activists blocked a busy intersection in the center of the city, CNN affiliate Nine News Australia reported. Some were believed to have chained themselves to vehicles in the street, police said, with 38 people -- including three teenagers -- arrested.
"We want to show we're regular people who have had enough, we are killing the planet and killing animals at rates that are just unacceptable," one of the organizers, Christine Lee, told Nine News.
    Australia's beef industry is one of the country's most lucrative businesses, accounting for almost 2% of GDP, according to trade group Meat and Livestock Australia. Cattle farming is one of the most significant contributors to rising greenhouse gas emissions on the planet, and consumption patterns across the globe have showed no sign of slowing down.
    "Drastic times call for drastic measures so that is why we're here today," Lee said.
    Victoria Police Superintendent David Clayton said the activists "caused considerable disruptions to thousands of people attempting to navigate through the CBD during peak hour."