AUSTRALIAN KILLING CULTURE HAS TO GO

Animal Justice Party candidate for Eden-Monaro, Frankie Seymour, has called on the Australian government, whatever parties comprise it after the July election, to take the lead in working to obliterate what she calls ‘Australia’s killing culture’.

Outraged by the ACT government’s announcement last week of yet another slaughter of kangaroos on ACT reserves, Ms Seymour says:

‘Once again the ACT government has ordered this cruel slaughter, based on nothing resembling science, without any monitoring or evaluation to determine what impact the killing is having on either the kangaroos themselves or the native species which depend on the kangaroos to maintain their grassland habitats.

‘Yet the government’s own slaughter is just one of many licenses (83 in 2015) issued for shooting kangaroos in the ACT.

‘In NSW, indeed across the whole country, it’s even worse, with both farmers and commercial shooters rapidly driving various kangaroo species down the road to extinction.’

The killing does not stop with kangaroos, Ms Seymour adds, noting that the NSW government has recently decided to slaughter thousands of brumbies in the Snowy Mountains. Ms Seymour asserts:

‘They know that to make their target residual population of 600 brumbies stick they will have to go on slaughtering thousands or millions of wild horses in perpetuity.

‘And brumbies are just the latest in a long list of naturalised species being persecuted throughout the country, including wild dogs, cats, foxes, pigs, rabbits and deer. Some of the methods for killing these animals are even more cruel than shooting.’

Ms Seymour claims that mass shooting animals of any kind is invariably cruel.

‘There are always some who are wounded and die a terrible death. There are always young animals orphaned. There is always disruption and distress caused to the survivors.

‘But there are even worse killing methods than shooting in use for many of these other naturalised animals – 1080 and other poisons, as well as germ warfare against rabbits. These methods cause excruciatingly painful and lingering death in every single case, whereas shooting at least has some hope of bringing about instantaneous death.’

Ms Seymour claims that ’managing’ animals by killing them is neither necessary nor effective. She points out that every time you kill a wild animal, you get several more of the same species filling the empty niche, as younger, more fertile individuals are born of the survivors.

‘So killing these animals actually ensures you get more of them, at least for a while until the population stabilises around the same level it was before you “managed” it. So all you’ve done is made the problem, if there ever was a problem, worse.’

Ms Seymour says that, if there really is a problem with any naturalised wild animal species, the only effective solution is fertility control.

‘Thankfully, fertility control, as long as it is conducted sensibly, is also the only humane solution – if there really is a problem.

‘But fertility control is not an appropriate solution for kangaroos, who are not naturalised but native animals, because kangaroos are very slow breeders and are already in steep decline. Fertility control will only hasten that decline.

‘On the other hand, it might be a more humane road to extinction than the one our kangaroos are enduring at the moment – if Australians really want their national emblem to become extinct.’

Coming back to the issue of whether either kangaroos or naturalised species really are a problem requiring ‘management’, Ms Seymour responds:

‘Kangaroos are simply not a problem. They were managing the environment in Australia long before even the Indigenous humans arrived, and will continue to do so if we can only let go of our gun-happy culture.

‘With naturalised species like cats, horses, pigs etc, the issue is more complicated. Once a species has found a niche in the ecosystem, it is impossible to remove it in large numbers without doing harm to that ecosystem, sometimes more harm than good. In a rapidly changing environment, as Australia’s has been for the last 200 years, the harm of removing any naturalised animal is very likely to exceed the good.’

Ms Seymour cites the simple but high-profile example of wiping out the feral cats on Macquarie Island. She explains:

‘On the mainland, it is virtually impossible to completely wipe out any fast-breeding species. So killing them just guarantees an increase, rather than a decrease in the population.

‘However, it is possible to wipe out all members of a species on an off-shore island because (if it occurs at all) recruitment from outside is much slower than on the mainland.

‘On Macquarie Island, the government hoped to protect some of the endangered seabirds by killing all the cats.

‘Without cats to prey on the rats, the rats became much more of a danger to the seabirds (eating their eggs) than the cats had ever been!

‘And how does the Australian government respond to this new threat? Let’s kill all the rats now!

‘Still absolutely no consideration of how yet another ham-fisted human incursion is going to resonate down the food-chain!’

Ms Seymour’s conclusion is that Australia’s whole killing culture has to stop in its tracks.

‘The vast majority of Australian people are compassionate, civilised people who want the killing to stop. Most of us also recognise the link between violence against animals and violence against humans.

‘We know in our bones that none of us is safe while guns, poisons and diseases are considered an acceptable way of solving our problems.’

For interviews and further information contact Frankie Seymour on 0405 252 980.

Authorised by Anna Hall, Animal Justice Party NSW

FLYING FOXES HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR NATIONAL ANIMAL JUSTICE PARTY

A decision by Federal Minister for Environment Greg Hunt to use his ‘national interest’ power to harm a large colony of flying foxes highlights the desperate need for a voice for animals in the national Parliament according to Frankie Seymour. Ms Seymour is standing for the Animal Justice Party in the bellwether electorate of Eden-Monaro in the July federal election.

Ms Seymour has weighed into this issue ‘because it is the clearest possible example of why the Animal Justice Party must run candidates for seats in the federal Parliament.’

At a meeting of Batemans Bay residents on 16 May 2016, Minister Hunt announced that he had used his ‘national interest’ discretionary power to exempt the grey-headed flying-fox from all the protections of the Commonwealth government. The grey-headed flying-fox is listed as a vulnerable ‘species of national environmental significance’ under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Mr Hunt’s decision allows Eurobodalla Council to remove a large local colony of flying-foxes by any means they choose (even fire). The decision has been announced in the absence of any information suggesting a change in the actual vulnerability status of the grey-headed flying fox.

‘As if that weren’t bad enough, the decision appears to have been made during the caretaker period when no decision of national significance should ever be made by a halfway responsible government,’ Ms Seymour notes.

The Eurobodalla Council had already financed and published a plan for dispersing the flying-foxes. The plan concludes that dispersing the colony would be both costly and risky to the public. The plan recommends that, if dispersal is to be undertaken, it should take place at a different time of year when overall numbers are lower, and there are fewer dependent young present. This approach would not only reduce the suffering of the animals but also the risks and costs to residents.

Hunt’s decision to remove the protection from these animals gives the Council permission to destroy the colony in any way they like. It is utterly disgusting,’ Ms Seymour said. ‘The Minister appears to have taken this outrageous action for no other reason than to buy the votes of a few residents of Batemans Bay who fail to appreciate that they live in a part of Australia where the flying foxes are a keystone native species.

‘Any loss of a significant population could be the last straw for a vulnerable species. If this large colony of flying foxes is destroyed, it could ultimately spell extinction for the whole species, and that will cause ripples right through the ecosystem, impacting on numerous other species of plant and animals – species the residents might well regard more highly than the flying foxes.’

‘The fact that a Commonwealth Minister can make a decision that puts so many animal lives in danger and threatens them with such extreme suffering shows in no uncertain terms how desperately we need a voice for animal justice in the federal Parliament.’

For interviews and further information contact Frankie Seymour on 0405 252 980.

Authorised by Anna Hall, Animal Justice Party NSW

Animal Justice Party Targets Federal Marginal Seats

Actor and pioneering animal rights activist Lynda Stoner is one of 54 candidates standing for the Animal Justice Party in the coming federal election.

Ms Stoner will stand for the Senate in New South Wales. In addition to contesting the Senate the AJP will stand around 42 lower house candidates. Sixty five per cent of AJP candidates are women.

National AJP President Professor Steve Garlick said today, “With a double dissolution election, the AJP has a reasonable chance of picking up the last Senate seat in NSW and in Victoria and by targeting marginal lower house seats we aim to influence the outcome of the entire election.”

Professor Garlick stated the AJP aimed to stop animal cruelty. “We need to restore the balance between the human, natural and animal worlds and to examine the potential impact on animals of government actions at all levels,” he said.

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ACT Government ignores proven non-lethal alternatives to cruel kangaroo killing

The ACT Government is continuing to ignore non-lethal alternatives to the unnecessary slaughter of thousands of kangaroos in public reserves in the nation’s capital.

National President of the Animal Justice, Party Professor Steve Garlick said today that the ACT Labor Government and the Greens had ignored calls to use well-researched and well-used non-lethal wildlife management practices instead of cruelly shooting, beheading and bashing to death the country’s national emblem.

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The 2016 Federal Budget and Animal Wellbeing

If ever there was a time when the interests of animals in this country needed to be represented in the Australian Parliament, it is now. Animal welfare rates scant mention in the Turnbull Government’s 2016 Budget, except to transfer responsibility to the states.

In this era of multi-lateral free trade agreements, the Animal Justice Party views this abrogation of responsibility for animal welfare by the Commonwealth as unacceptable, and economically unjustified. The responsibilities of the Commonwealth Government in animal welfare have now been watered down to virtually nothing.

Australia has become a huge exporter of live animals of all species, as well as the meat from Australia’s unique native macropods. The AJP believes this is totally unsatisfactory and calls for an independent office of animal welfare with powers of investigation and policing similar to the ACCC and ASIC.

We strongly oppose the funding of small exporter assistance to market kangaroo meat internationally. We also oppose the live trade in cattle and sheep, with its industry-determined animal welfare codes.

Animal cruelty in Australia continues on an epic scale, with the Budget offering nothing. Animals are affected by the activities of many Commonwealth Government portfolios, but none of the portfolio budget statements or ministerial statements talks about it. This government-sanctioned cruelty is Australia’s shame.

It is time there was a cross-portfolio focus on the impact the Government’s various activities have on animal wellbeing. Commonwealth portfolio initiatives and responsibilities in agriculture, trade, the environment, health, education, tourism and infrastructure development should be high on the list for early action.

The AJP welcomes further Budget support for plant-based agriculture, which we see as more ethical, healthy and environmentally responsible than lethal animal agriculture.

We also support ongoing initiatives in the Environment portfolio on the protection of specified marine animals and other threatened species, including in relation to their illegal trade. The AJP would however stress that the focus of rigorous protection needs to be extended to all Australian native animals via the EPBC Act, rather than to only a few species.

A crucial baseline in progress towards a smarter, more holistic and sustainable economy is to regard the use of animal cruelty to meet economic goals as unconscionable and without moral justification. Our view is that any politicians, institutions and enterprises supporting animal cruelty are ethically and morally diminished.

An approach to economic policy that values the capability and wellbeing of animals can generate greater national benefit for all. We propose an economic policy with wisdom, compassion, and fairness as guiding principles. These principles are absent in the economic policy narrative of the 2016 Budget, with its people- and animal-free mantra of labour productivity, innovation and aggregate demand.

Contact:

Professor Steve Garlick, President, Animal Justice Party. president@animaljusticeparty.org