Ebola for bunnies

The Government intends to release a deadly rabbit haemorrhagic virus next month.  AJP has argued in a submission to the Invasive Plants and Animal Committee that the release is unsound both on conservation and ethical grounds. Rabbits are also much loved companion animals and the only available vaccine has only had a small pilot study.

What can you do? Talk to your vet about the vaccine if you keep rabbits and request an urgent meeting with your local MP to lodge an objection.

There is also an article on New Matilda based on the submission. You can add comments.

 

 

Vote 1 Animal Justice Party in WA on March 11

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The AJP in Western Australia has been working hard to ensure we have a substantial presence in contesting the State Election taking place on 11 March.

We are running two candidates for the Legislative Council (Upper House) in North Metro, East Metro, South Metro and South West.

Additionally, the AJP will be running candidates in the Legislative Assembly (Lower House) marginal seats of Belmont, Bicton, Forrestdale, Jandakot, Mt Lawley and Perth.

We will be taking a full suite of animal protection policies to the election in order to hold the major parties to account and put animals on the political agenda. Please VOTE 1 AJP to send a message that animals matter.

 

OPINION: WHO BENEFITS FROM SILENCING ANIMAL ACTIVISTS?

Recent media publications by The Land and The Guardian of meeting documents provides disturbing details of a forum held in August last year between agribusiness owners, NSW Farmers Federation, Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair along with Police and the RSPCA. They reveal the extent to which industry and government are working together to silence activists seeking to expose animal cruelty in farming.

barnaby-joyce-australian-porkThe documents obtained under freedom of information laws confirm what many activists have argued for a long time; the interconnected links between animal agriculture, government and sadly, the RSPCA. The forum participants committed to an action plan to harmonise state laws regarding the supposed threat of “farm trespass” by animal activists. The plan reflects the fears of an industry that understands the implications of its routine practices being exposed to the public. Transparency and truth are to be avoided at all costs. We also see Federal and State governments intent on ensuring cruel practices remain hidden from view. Rather than listening to community concerns and accepting that animal welfare standards need to be radically reformed, government is determined to keep animal welfare legislation in the 1970s.

One of the more alarming revelations is the active participation of the RSPCA in such discussions. The RSPCA’s willingness to side with industry and government is an affront to their charter, and would no doubt come as a surprise their many supporters. The fact that the RSPCA participated in such discussions which made no mention of enforcement or prosecution of animal cruelty laws is concerning. One is entitled to ask, what is the role of the RSPCA in farm trespass policy discussions? Why are they not holding industry to account for their cruel practices? As has been said many times; if we kept a dog in the same conditions that industry keeps pigs in intensive farms, animal cruelty charges would be laid.

The document identified that;

38 piggeries in the Young area of NSW, along with poultry farms in other states, were known to have been “invaded for the purpose of installing unauthorised surveillance devices, ostensibly to ‘reveal’ animal husbandry practice believed to be poor”.

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, this statement reflects the absolute lack of concern for animal well-being. The treatment of these animals is appalling, not poor. Animal cruelty is standard industry practice, not an aberration. Activists seek to bring transparency and truth to the public arena, enabling consumers to make balanced decisions about their purchases and food choices.

If industry is confident that their practices are acceptable then there should be no issue with footage showing industry practice. If the government is confident that their animal welfare laws are so robust, then let’s show those lawful practices to the public. Tail docking, castration, eye teeth clipping, debeaking, removal of skin (mulesing), battery cages, farrowing crates, faeces laden broiler sheds- let’s shine the camera light onto the everyday cruelties that these animals suffer.

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NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Geoff McKechnie is documented as stating that;

“These incursions fall into the ‘trespass with intent’ category, NSW Police have been investigating these incidents actively, but evidence gathering around such incidents presents significant challenges”.

No comment on the crimes exposed by activists?

Many may not be aware, but the NSW Police are also an enforcement agency under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. It is not just the RSPCA or Animal Welfare League that has powers to enforce and prosecute animal cruelty crimes, yet the attitude of government and the NSW Police is to leave enforcement to a poorly resourced charitable organisation that is almost completely unaccountable to government. Yet significant police resources are being used to investigate and pursue animal activists.

Statistics show that cruelty committed against animals often leads to crimes committed against people, yet, as can be seen from this attitude of the NSW Police, significant police resources are being used to investigate and pursue animal activists filming intensive farms. This shows a narrow-minded approach to tackling crime and future protection of the community. Would the community, or indeed government be satisfied if a child services charity were tasked with the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed against children? Would it be acceptable for the NSW Police to be actively pursuing whistle-blowers filming or recording child abuse despite the physical smacking of children being lawful?

NSW Police also told the forum that;

“the ideology of farm trespass by animal activists was “complex” and not based on improving animal welfare practices.”

This is correct, it is not the job of animal activist to improve animal welfare. This is the job of every stakeholder that attended this forum and their decisions should be based on truth, transparency, and the wider public’s expectations of what is acceptable welfare practices. Indeed, the activists are doing the job that all these stakeholders are failing to do themselves, that is to publish the truth to the public and allowing the public to decide what they expect. Instead, animal welfare is seen as an unnecessary cost to already profitable business models that seek to sanitise and disconnect the public from what really goes on behind the factory farm shed door.

The documents go on to suggest;

“Introduction of other measures to improve evidence collection, for example, security cameras may also be considered.”

How can someone, on one hand, justify installing elaborate security recording networks to deter activists YET dismiss sensible reforms such as mandatory CCTV of inside the shed or inside the slaughterhouse? Does one not stop and think that maybe, if farmers installed cameras facing in the shed, on the animals, then there will be no need for cameras facing outside the shed to deter activists?

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Indeed, for me it has become personal. Twelve months ago I attempted to visit Rivalea pig slaughterhouse to discuss the cruel method by which pigs are subjected to gassing prior to slaughter. I was refused entry at the front gate and never left public space and yet I am currently the subject of a police investigation as a result of that visit. Again, this is a sign of cover up and intimidation, rather than let an elected MP formally tour the facility and witness the slaughtering method, I was denied access. Rivalea engaged their industry heavyweight, Australian Pork Ltd, and now almost 12 months to the day I am contacted by the NSW Police and informed that I am under investigation. It is true that, due to all the industry efforts to hide and cover up standard practices that they are ironically so proud of, they have in fact made the public more suspicious.

Mark Pearson MLCMark Pearson MLC

 

Bird Flu in 2016

2016 has seen bird flu outbreaks in many countries. Currently its “rocking” Europe, but earlier in the year it hit Iraq and South Korea . In Iraq’s case it was the H5N1, which can also infect and kill people, but the current European outbreak is H5N8.  This particular subtype of H5N8 bird flu was first found in China in 2014 but reached Europe in the same year. The globalisation of factory farming and its products will mean a steady increase in new viruses and its only a matter of time before there is another Swine Flu … a deadly species jump which killed some 284,000 people in its first 12 months.

Red meat and diabetes, the CSIRO diet link

It’s always interesting when a person changes their mind. Peter Clifton is a co-author of the biggest selling diet book in Australian history … The CSIRO Total Wellbeing diet. A diet built on research involving 200 grams of red meat per day. The book sold over a million copies and, wait for it, we still have an obesity epidemic.  In the research on which the best selling diet was based, the people on the high meat diet lost exactly the same amount of weight as the people on the control diet; which shouldn’t be surprising because both diets contained the same number of kilojoules.

But the CSIRO simply told the public the opposite, namely that people on the diet lost more weight …when they didn’t.  So it’s not surprising that a million copies of the diet hasn’t solved our obesity problems. The diet didn’t work and the CSIRO knew as much. What’s Clifton doing these days? He began a 2011 study with the words:

Meat protein is associated with an increase in
risk of heart disease. Recent data have shown that meat
protein appeared to be associated with weight gain over
6.5 years, with 1 kg of weight increase per 125 g of meat
per day.

And now in 2016 he’s looking further at the link between red and processed meat and diabetes. Eat a meal of red meat and bread … rather like a hamburger … and your insulin levels spike. Do this often enough and you may develop insulin resistance and diabetes.

Will we ever see a CSIRO vegan diet? Don’t hold your breath.

 

Meat and dairy “heat tax” is obligatory

A recent study in one of the world’s top climate science journals recommended a substantial tax on meat and dairy products.

The lead author told The GuardianIt is clear that if we don’t do something about the emissions from our food system, we have no chance of limiting climate change below 2C.”

But still Australian politicians from across the political spectrum, including The Greens, continue to give Australia’s largest source of climate heat little to no attention.  The article points out that it isn’t only the climate that will benefit.

“In addition, measures to change diets away from emissions-intensive food commodities, such as meat and dairy, towards more plant-based diets are seen to offer great potential for reducing GHG emissions, and could be associated with additional co-benefits in terms oimprovements in human health …”

More success for the AJP this week

Three important results in the last week demonstrate the Animal Justice Party is on a successful roll to get better outcomes for animals in Australia.

While counting for the Senate in the Federal Election is continuing, the AJP will almost double its vote from the 2013 election to around 190,000.  The AJP increased its vote in every jurisdiction at the recent election. In Victoria the AJP is trending sixth out of 37 parties behind the three majors, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.  We have the fifth highest percentage growth in votes in that state.  An excellent result and still in with a chance to pick up one of two remaining senate positions there.

In the lower house, the AJP obtained more than 4 percent of the vote in three seats (with one of these being close to 5 percent) and another four gained more than 3 percent. In many lower house seats we were the party with the fourth largest vote behind Labor, Liberal and the Greens. In some booths the AJP captured five and six percent of the vote. In several seats AJP preferences influenced the final outcome. Running candidates in the lower house is great for local brand recognition.

Over the coming weeks we will have an independent post-election review of all aspects of our structure and operation that will draw on the experiences of candidates and supporters as well as mining the available election result data.

Ever since an ABC Four Corners report on the greyhound racing industry,  the AJP has been campaigning nationally, including within the NSW Parliament and with other organisations, to ban the industry because of its gross animal cruelty. Following a special investigation into the industry by Justice Michael McHugh, NSW Premier Mike Baird announced that a ban on the industry would come into effect in NSW on 1 July 2017. The ACT Government announced it would also impose a ban on the greyhound racing industry.

Finally, at the end of last week the AJP gained registration as a political party in the ACT.  The AJP is now registered in four jurisdictions throughout Australia.  The AJP will compete in the elections for the ACT Legislative Assembly in October this year. It is also likely the AJP will stand candidates in local council elections later this year in NSW and Victoria.

 

Animal Justice Party calls for end to live animal exports

The Animal Justice Party today called for an end to the live animal export trade adding its voice to almost 80% of the Australian population, who recent surveys estimate oppose live export1.

AJP National President, Professor Steve Garlick said;” There is no moral or economic argument in support of this cruel trade.”

“The past week of revelations concerning the abuse of Australian live trade animals has been shocking. This litany of cruel behaviours cannot go on.

“Industry and government statements attempt to hide the fact that the industry is miniscule, brings little by way of economic return to the country and damages the reputation of our nation.2 “Live export is only worth one eighth of Australia’s boxed meat exports. Most farmer income in these situations (93%) is derived from crops and wool).

“Continuing revelations of animal abuse in the live animal export industry, whether it is the tens of thousands of animals that die at sea or the often horrific cruelty in arrival countries demonstrate that government claims that the sector is being regulated are not matched in practice. It is evident that neither of the major federal parties appears to have the will to regulate this trade in a humane way.”, “If the majority of Australians who oppose live trade want it stopped they need to support the AJP to gain a voice in parliament so it increase its strenuous efforts to stop this appalling trade.

Professor Garlick said that AJP policy was to establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare. The ALP expressed its support of this in a letter to the AJP President last week.

The ALP had also backed the AJP’s concept of financial support for plant based industries in Australia. “We know there is at least $8.3 million available,” Professor Garlick said. “This is funding that the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has just announced he wants to spend funding Vietnam abattoirs so they can take even more live Australian animals for slaughter.

“This live export industry needs to be stopped and funds allocated to alternative industries in Australia like increased plant based industries, that employ Australian workers.

The struggle must go on but a vote for the AJP at this election is now very important.

Contact details: Professor Steve Garlick, National President 042 888 0564

Background summary

Animal Justice Party abhors Government cruelty actions

Australia exports over three million live animals every year. Cattle, sheep and goats are shipped long distances in distressing conditions which result in illness and death for a significant number. They are often slaughtered in countries without adequate protections against cruelty.

Most of the dreadful incidents regarding this terrible industry were not detected through the Labor or Liberal Government’s own monitoring systems. These incidents only came to light through investigations by non-government organisations. Labor and Liberal Australian government regulations are failing to prevent or detect cruelties in the live export trade.

Following years of evidence-based criticism of the cruelty of live animal exports, over recent days the need for urgent action has become even more evident.

Survey after survey tells us the Australian people want this industry to stop.

For the animals themselves, this cruel live export must stop.

Revelations over the last week show the only way to prevent the live export of animals is to vote for political parties which are committed to stopping the trade. The only political party which will do this is the Animal Justice Party.

Here is the most recent history of the situation:

  • Last week (June 15) saw the terrible images shown on the ABC’s 7.30 report about Vietnam abattoirs.
  • Soon after was the revelation that cattle export industry representatives called for less regulation about the wellbeing of animals on the basis that these regulations allegedly limited Australia’s economic benefit.
  • On Wednesday June 22nd came the revelation concerning the expert veterinarian Dr Lynn Simpson being removed from her job by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture because she revealed the cruelty of existing transport conditions for live export animals. The Commonwealth Department had allegedly received complaints from Industry about the
  • potentially damaging impact of a report as critical as hers.
  • On Thursday June 23rd the Deputy Prime Minister announced $8.3 million dollars to Vietnamese abattoirs.This litany of support for animal terror has demonstrated a number of important things.
  • evidence of cruelty is not enough to make any government of the major political parties stop the trade
  • revelations of the cruelty of the trade can lead to moves to remove the source of this information from employment
  • the so-called economic benefit to the country is miniscule, as is the number of farmers involved, as Live export is only worth one eighth of Australia’s boxed meat exports. Most farmer income in these situations (93%) is derived from crops and wool).

The AJP has strenuously pushed for an Independent office of Animal Welfare as part of Commonwealth Government arrangements to combat the ferocity of vested interests.

The AJP has developed an agreement with the ALP that establishing an Independent Office of Animal Welfare is a necessary one and one which is to be implemented if the ALP governs the country.

Moreover the AJP has addressed the economic issues of transition away from live animal exports through an agreement with the ALP to fund the development of plant- based agriculture .

Voters and all animal focussed organisations who are truly sick of the corruption of public process around animal wellbeing should support the AJP in its vigorous campaign to stop live animal exports.

Support statements can be found on:

  • https://www.voiceless.org.au/the-issues/live-export
  • Backlash – Australia’s conflict of values over live Exports – Bidda Jones

[1] Lonergan Research, WSPA Live Export Study Report (2012) 4-6 Quoted on Voiceless web site

The Age June 24: Opinion poll after opinion poll shows most of us want the bloody business of live animal exports stopped. It’s our political leaders who are looking the other way. Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/arguments-for-live-export-trade-ring-hollow-20160331-gnuss0.html#ixzz4CSmHP6Zr

2 Live export represents just 0.4% of Australia’s total exports, while chilled meat trade is already worth 12 times more to our economy than the live trade for slaughter. In 2013. Most farmers don’t live export. Just 6% of cattle and 7% of sheep raised for slaughter in Australia last year actually went into the live export trade, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

 

 

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AJP Independent Office of Animal Welfare proposal gains Labor support

AJP Independent Office of Animal Welfare proposal gains Labor support

An Animal Justice Party proposal for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare has gained federal Australian Labor Party support.

Professor Steve Garlick, President of the AJP said “The AJP proposes that the Commonwealth Government establish a regulatory office focussing on animal welfare. The Office of Animal Welfare would cover all animal sectors coming under Commonwealth Government legislation.”

Professor Garlick said ALP support for the AJP proposal was confirmed in a letter from the Shadow Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Mark Butler.

Mr Butler had said that when in Government the ALP “would work with the states and territories to identify the most appropriate structure of an Independent Office of Animal Welfare operating independently of government. Labor would also re-establish state and territory intergovernmental cooperation to ensure animal welfare matters receive the consistent national approach they deserve.”

“We welcome the fact that the ALP sees the need for government to look more closely at animal welfare in areas such as live trade, kangaroo killing and intensive animal agriculture. We are happy to work closely with the ALP to ensure an animal welfare regulatory framework and agenda such as this becomes a reality”, said Professor Garlick.

”While ALP support is important, nevertheless an AJP presence in Parliament is vital to ensure animal welfare issues are taken into account in relevant government-supported programs.”

Professor Garlick said the IOAW would function similarly to regulatory bodies like the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission or the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. He said, “The recent ABC 7.30 program showing appallingly cruel treatment of Australian exported live cattle to Vietnam once again demonstrates that industry and the Turnbull government cannot be relied on for animal welfare.

An Independent Office of Animal Welfare would prepare a regular State of Animal Welfare report for Parliament, including breaches to legislation. It would also report to a relevant Ministerial Council to ensure consistency and collaborative effort between all spheres of government, Professor Garlick said.

 “”It would include an independent Inspector-General of Animal Welfare, with policing functions. Such arrangements would make any need for the so-called ‘ag-gag’ legislation(1) being considered by the Turnbull Government, completely redundant[i],” he said.

“The support of the Labor Party for an IOAW means that such an office may soon become a reality and a welcome light will at last be shed upon a wide spectrum of animal cruelty activities in Australia.”

 

[i] Ag Gag legislation is legislation specifically designed to curb animal activist monitoring and investigative activities within the agricultural sector. For example In September 2015 the NSW government signed into law the Biosecurity Bill 2015. The Biosecurity Bill legislation has been criticised and labelled as the advent of Australian “ag-gag” legislation due to the powers and provisions it provides law enforcement with, particularly regarding activist activities on behalf of mistreated and abused animals.

Labor and the Animal Justice Party agree to increase plant-based food production

 The Animal Justice Party and the Australian Labor Party have agreed to work together to increase the production of plant-based food in Australia.

Professor Garlick, AJP President, said today: “Following discussion with us, the ALP in government has agreed to develop and expand initiatives which can maximise plant-based food production and expand these agricultural markets. This will be great for local investment and jobs.”

As a result of discussions with the AJP, the ALP Shadow Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Mark Butler, has stated that a Labor Government would direct funding to support this approach, Professor Garlick said.

“Increasing the availability of plant based food stimulates non-lethal agriculture and horticulture,” he said.

“This is an alternative to an industry which presently involves cruel and unnecessary trafficking in live farm animals to far away countries inflicting immense suffering on Australian bred animals during the journey and frequently at the destination country.

Professor Garlick said that Mr Butler had said that Labor believed “in safeguarding animal welfare and promoting the ethical treatment of animals and lifting plant food productivity.” “This will be great for jobs, human health and ameliorating climate change”, said Professor Garlick.

“The AJP is opposed to trafficking live farm animals,” Professor Garlick said. ”It is an industry which exists only to generate a good rate of return for a small number of high worth individuals and institutions but which comes at the expense of animal cruelty, human health and local jobs. Successive Australian governments have encouraged this unnecessary and cruel industry.

Professor Garlick said, “The proposal by the AJP and the ALP to support investment in plant-based food is about ‘jobs and growth’; but in an ethical non-lethal industry. Our belief is that in the future, investment in the live trade industry will cease in favour of investment in a diverse, organic, non-lethal agriculture industry where the returns, the jobs and other benefits for us all will be greater.”

“A great deal of rhetoric by parties such as the Greens and some animal groups about banning the live trade in farm animals has achieved nothing for the animals for three decades.  They have had no real plan. This is not good enough. Now, thanks to the AJP, there is a plan to end this awful live trade industry which has become worse over the past decade.”

14 June 2016

Further information: Professor Steve Garlick, President: 042 888 0564