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

 

NSW ANIMAL JUSTICE PARTY MP MARK PEARSON EJECTED BY LOCAL NATIONAL MP FROM PUBLIC MEETING ON HUNTING TRESPASS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-Date 21/04/2016

NSW ANIMAL JUSTICE PARTY MP MARK PEARSON EJECTED BY LOCAL NATIONAL MP FROM PUBLIC MEETING ON HUNTING TRESPASS

When is a public meeting a closed meeting? When Kevin Humphries, Nationals Member for Barwon says so! Animal Justice MP banned from public meeting on stock theft and illegal hunting trespass.

In February 2016, after months of negative media publicity about the devastating impact of illegal hunting trespass on rural landholders, the Baird Government announced the establishment of the Stock Theft and Trespass Review, to be conduct by the well-respected former Assistant Commissioner of Police, Stephen Bradshaw.

As the first elected member of the Animal Justice Party to be represented in NSW parliament, I have received a number of calls from distressed landholders, traumatised by illegal hunting trespass on their properties. Landholders are fearful for their own lives as well as describing the carnage left by weekend warriors who blast away at any animal that moves. Dead and dying wildlife and abandoned hunting dogs are often found on their properties.

It was for this reason that I was keen to attend a public meeting of the Stock Theft and Trespass Review. My staff contacted the Review office as well as Mr Humphries’s staff given his role as host of the Barwon meetings. They sought and were given the details about the upcoming meetings. At no point was I told that I could not attend the public meeting. Meetings were promoted on the Stock Theft and Trespass Review Facebook with “Please come along if you’re in the area”.

I had already intended to visit Barwon, the largest electorate in NSW (48% of NSW land mass) where Broken Hill is central, in order to address the information that had come to me regarding the disturbing rise in the serious egregious cruelty inflicted on animals in both illegal and legal hunting. I had also organised to meet key animal protection and rescue groups.

What became apparent was the hostility and defensive resistance from the Nationals member for the electorate, Kevin Humphries who insisted that I leave within several minutes of my arrival at the public meeting in Broken Hill on the 19th April. I was frogmarched out of the meeting by Mr Humphries before I was even able to ask a question. Two police officers appeared by his side, which is a quite extraordinary given the public nature of the meeting and fact that I am a democratically elected representative of the people of NSW.

I was not given the opportunity to raise my concerns regarding the brutality of hunting and its increased incidence on private property and how this terrifies land owners as well as terrifying, maiming and killing animals. It appears this National party member wants to obstruct any constructive discussion to address the growing violent culture of killing animals for sick enjoyment which in turn frightens property owners where these animals live or move through.

This attitude by the National Member for Barwon is completely unacceptable and indefensible.

I refuse to be shut out of addressing this appalling situation and I will return in several months to address a public meeting where police, rangers and regulatory authorities will be invited to attend. I will also be meeting with animal rescue and carer groups and with Indigenous elders.

My aim is to lobby for a proactive Task Force to address this issue in this region and for a pilot task force to be established in other regions of NSW where this violent culture has developed.

Contact:

Mark Pearson: 0417 252 107

END

Support for animal cruelty potentially just got a whole lot worse with the changes to Senate voting arrangements

The Turnbull lead Coalition Government has an appalling record in its support for animal cruelty. In just a few months it has added further support to the live trade in farm animals, the grotesque kangaroo slaughter industry, and the overseas trade in greyhound dogs to name just three areas.

The changes to the voting system recently imposed upon us by the Liberal and Green alliance means this record on animal cruelty by the Australian Parliament may get a whole lot worse. Both of these parties believe it will increase their chances of having their own senators elected while smaller parties will be disadvantaged. The major parties already have a disproportionately greater number of Senate seats compared to their share of the overall vote, while smaller parties share of Senate seats is currently lower than their 20 percent share of the Senate vote.

The new changes mean voters have to number a minimum of six party-named boxes above the line. Alternatively, one can number at least 12 candidate-named boxes below the line. As so much confusion is expected in relation to the new system on Election Day, just one party box numbered above the line will be accepted to prevent a very high rate of informal vote.

Voting [1] for the AJP above the line will give animals a better chance in the decisions of the Australian Parliament then they have ever had before. The AJP:

  • is the only political party that has preventing animal cruelty as its central objective
  • is much larger than many of the other parties often referred to as micro parties
  • will gain enough votes to ensure major Parties will want to conclude preference deals with us to try and help their candidate gain the last Senate seat in the State. In exchange for this we will demand concessions for the animals
  • stands in lower as well upper house seats and there is no change in that voting system. By strategically targeting marginal lower house seats we will again be pressuring the major Parties to negotiate with us for the animals
  • will only highly preference other parties where we are convinced they support animal wellbeing in their policies and practices
  • was able to win a seat in NSW under a similar voting system, however it will be harder to do this federally as the percentage of votes required for a federal seat is greater than it is in NSW
  • has excellent Senate candidates and resources (esp. brilliant volunteers) to fight this election and are still in with a chance of winning seats.

AJP stands toe to toe against duck shooters in Victoria

Today, our party convenor in Victoria – Bruce Poon – is on the wetlands with many other AJP office bearers, members and supporters. If you’ve ever wondered how the Animal Justice Party is working to end this cruel slaughter, here’s a message from Bruce to explain:

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting (CADS) led by the redoubtable Laurie Levy have been on the wetlands rescuing wounded waterbirds for 30 years now. Laurie and the other people at CADS are thorough professionals, and have done fantastic work in saving lives, but also demonstrating to Victorians that this annual slaughter is cruel and unnecessary.
All of this campaigning over the years has led us to this point. The overwhelming majority of Victorians support a ban on duck shooting, the number of shooters is tiny (0.4% of the population), and yet the Government will still not ban it. Why?

Leading in to the Victorian State election of 2014, AJP made Duck Shooting, a matter of state legislation, one of our key campaigns. We had a number of meetings with the major parties to try and ensure a cessation, but with no result. Even as late as a few weeks before election day, we were still negotiating on the duck’s behalf with key ministers and Labor politicians in marginal seats. Even then, we were unable to budge the Labor party as a whole.

Despite getting MORE votes than the Shooters and Fishers party, we won zero seats in the upper house and they won 2, with the preference support of a range of small and major parties. They now hold 2 seats in the Legislative Council of 40. Labor hold 14, and require 21 votes on each bill.

This is the nub of the problem. If WE had won two seats, and the Shooters nil, Duck shooting would be over. But the Labor government requires Shooters and Fishers support in the Council for a range of initiatives. The Premier is reported to have had lunch with their MPs the day before a duck season was announced this year.

If we want to end the cruelty of duck shooting, and many other animal abuses, we must win for them a measure of power. Only parliamentary power, supported by the public, will see these campaigns won.

So this year, like so many others, many AJP members will be seen out on the wetlands of Victoria with CADS and other groups, rescuing ducks and trying to prevent suffering and death. Let’s hope that it sends the strongest possible message to the Government, and public outrage grows. But also remember to support our initiatives to grow the Animal Justice Party and win political power, because it is the ultimate strategic tool to achieve justice for all animals.

Season’s Greetings to all Animal Justice Party supporters

xmas-wombat

Rosie the lucky wombat, who is being rehabilitated by President Steve Garlick and his wonderful wife Rosemary

We would like to thank every Animal Justice Party member and supporter for helping to make 2015 such a successful year for the animals. Together we not only witnessed, but made history, with Australia being only the second country in the world to elect an animal representative to Parliament.

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Animal Score Card: Mr Turnbull’s 100 days as PM

After 100 days as PM, Mr Turnbull has shown that animal abuse by his self-labelled Government of the 21st Century is set to continue at record levels. After 100 days this is what we have seen Mr Turnbull achieve for animals:

  • Held negotiations with the Indonesian Government to dramatically increase the live trade in cattle to that country despite all the evidence of ongoing extreme cruelty in this industry
  • Provided financial support to increase export marketing by the hideous commercial kangaroo killing industry, thereby strengthening our claim to be the country with the highest slaughter of a land-based native animal on the planet.
  • Encouraged the export of greyhounds to south east Asia despite formal requests to stop it by other Asian nations and clear evidence of abuse to these animals being perpetrated.
  • Going soft on opposition to whaling operations in negotiations with the Japanese prime minister.

People who support animal abuse should not be elected to public office. The Labor Party might have given Mr Turnbull a ‘B minus’ scorecard for his first 100 days. The Animal Justice Party gives him an ‘F for fail’ with a note saying he needs to re-consider his future.

International Meeting of Animal Political Parties

international-political-party-leadersNational President Steve Garlick and our NSW upper house member for the AJP Mark Pearson in November attended the fourth International Meeting of Animal Political Parties held in Tirana, Albania. The meeting was organised by the Animal Politics Foundation of the Dutch Party for the Animals (Partij voor de Dieren).

AJP National President Steve Garlick with Party Leader of the Dutch Party for the Animals Marianne Thieme

AJP National President Steve Garlick with Party Leader of the Dutch Party for the Animals Marianne Thieme

The meeting attracted 13 animal political parties from around the world and covered a range of topics that will benefit the AJP. Steve and Mark presented cases on the live trade in animals and the trade in kangaroo products. The meeting agreed there would be international collaboration among members to stamp out trade in both industries.
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