The Animal Justice Party is deeply saddened at the loss of life, property and environmental damage in the nation’s ongoing fires. While the human loss of life is currently well below that of Black Saturday’s 174 toll in 2009, the number of animals killed is unprecedented; because the area burned is unprecedented.
Australia’s leading expert on bush fires, Professor David Bowman, told Time Magazine (Jan 3rd): “The intensity, the scale, the number, the geographical range, the fact that they’re occurring simultaneously, and the sorts of environments that are burning are all extraordinary”. The estimate of the area of the devastation grows daily but is currently over 7 million hectares.
Bowman has also made it clear that climate change is accelerating and amplifying our fire hazards.
Estimates of wildlife killed range between 500 million and a billion. Animals haven’t just been dying in the fires, but from the heat waves driving the fires. Sheep and cattle deaths will probably never be known, except perhaps to insurance companies. The ABC published an estimate of 2.3 million cattle and 8.6 million sheep on News Breakfast on 7th of January. But such tragedies are more frequently reported as “livestock producers have suffered stock losses”.
AJP Members of Parliament are working daily to ensure that the interests of animals are clear to their State Governments. In the first instance this is to request funding and resources for wildlife rescue and carer groups.
More generally, the AJP calls upon the Morrison Government to change it’s “business as usual” approach to climate change and recognise the rapidly changing climate as nothing short of a global emergency requiring immediate and substantial action. Action will inevitably require recognition that animal agriculture’s role in Australia’s future must shrink. Farming animals in many areas will become increasingly impossible as the climate changes and regular mass incinerations of millions of animals increases. We will be taking up these issues in the New South Wales and Victorian parliaments when they begin to sit in 2020
How you can help
Thank you so much to all our Members and Supporters who are already donating and volunteering with animal rescue and carer organisations. If you would like to donate or volunteer we recommend contacting the below organisations. We strongly advise to always follow directions from authorities and organisations who are expert in fire and animal rescue and care to ensure you don’t put yourself and animals at risk. There are so many incredible groups working around the clock to rescue and care for injured animals, and getting food and water out to those animals who have survived.