I wouldn’t. And nor should you.
Fortunately the Animal Justice Party isn’t a single issue party.
The AJP isn’t the cat protection party, or the dog lovers party, or the whale liberation party. But it’s name doesn’t instantly convey the full implications of treating animals as if their interests matter. It’s doubtful that any short name will do this. Does the name of the Australian Labor Party party fully convey its policy reach? Of course not. If you want to know what a party stands for, then the name is just a hint; a mnemonic at best.
But the appearance of the word animal in the party name is a very strong hint that concern for animals is central to our vision. But the reach of the policies based on that concern is extensive.
Here are a couple of examples.
First, anybody with a concern for animals, which obviously includes humans, will be concerned about our destabilisation of the climate. It is a problem of monumental proportions but the AJP is the only political party with a rational climate change policy. This is because we are the only political party which doesn’t worship at the feet of our meat industries. Because of our advocacy of a plant based diet, we have no difficulty treating the climate impacts of the cattle and sheep industries objectively. The warming over the next 20 years caused by these industries this year will exceed that of the coal we burned in our power stations. We are the only political party that doesn’t ignore the climate science on this. See details below.
Second, our serious concern for animals has profound implications for human health. Animal products are implicated in a range of serious human health problems such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Our plant based food policies can be a potent way to slash health care budgets while increasing the length and quality of our lives.
You need to read all the AJP policies to grasp their full range, but beyond the party’s name, there is also our core values. Some political parties don’t have core values; but we do. What are core values and why do they matter? Core values give you a little more information about the AJP vision. Our core values were formally adopted nationally in 2017 but were adopted by some states earlier and discussed over some years. They are kindness, equality, rationality and non-violence; KERN for short. We’ve already seen some of these in action with regard to our climate policy and all of them are implicated in our plant based food policy. We recently adopted a position statement on marriage equality. We believe that accepting the yes side of the debate flows clearly from our core values.
An AJP position statement is a little different from a policy. It tells you how an AJP member of Parliament will act on an issue, but it’s our policies that determine what our MPs will work hardest on.
AJP has a broad range of policies covering the most important issues facing most Australians. As the party matures, you can expect more position statements and more detailed strategic analysis of how we will achieve our policy goals and what will be their costs and benefits.
Appendix: Comparing the climate impact of sheep and cattle with coal.
The raw data on our greenhouse gas emissions is here, in the spreadsheet containing our submissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Table 3s1 shows that our grazing animals (sheep and cattle) produce a little over 2 million tonnes of methane annually. The non-grazers are largely irrelevant. Pigs for example produce just 3,500 tonnes of methane.
According to the best available climate science, each tonne of methane has an impact on warming over the next 20 years equal to 105 tonnes of carbon dioxide. So the grazing industry has a warming impact over the next 20 years equal to 210 million tonnes of CO2.
Table 1s1 puts the total carbon dioxide output of public electricity (including heat production) at about 187 million tonnes of CO2. There’s also some other climate impacts from mining, but I’m trying to keep this simple so I’m also ignoring some significant extra cattle impacts, like deforestation emissions.
So the climate impact ratio of sheep and cattle methane to coal CO2 over the next 20 years is 210:187. But the Greens ignore it in the climate policy. This shows an extraordinary willingness to compromise policy integrity because many Greens supporters (and leader Richard Di Natale) aren’t willing to change their diet to give us a fighting chance of saving the planet from the worst ravages of climate change. The scale of this lack of policy integrity is beyond hypocrisy. None of us is perfect, we all fail at times to live up to our best intentions, but this cuts to the core of what the Greens are supposed to stand for. If you can’t switch to vegan BBQs to save the planet, then you can’t claim to give a damn. Either that or you don’t really believe the science on climate change.