In July 2019, Australia’s federal parliament invited submissions in relation to the Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019. The bill introduces new offences for individuals who use the internet or other “carriage services” to incite another person to trespass, damage, destroy or steal property on agricultural land.
Earlier, in June 2019, the parliament of the state of Victoria announced a public inquiry into the impact of animal rights activism on the state’s agricultural sector. The Legislative Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee invited submissions from anyone who had information or views they wished to share.
My submissions can be accessed via the images below, including a supplement to the Victorian submission.
State of Victoria
Here’s a summary of my key points in each:
Honesty and justice
- We teach children that honesty and justice are noble traits; however, such traits are sorely lacking in the treatment of farmed animals.
- Industry advertising and PR largely determine the community’s perceptions of animal agriculture, enabling unjust practices to proliferate.
- Many exemptions in favour of the animal agriculture sector apply to so-called “prevention of cruelty to animals” legislation throughout Australia, permitting cruelty to occur as standard practice.
- In Victoria, the government has displayed double standards by banning puppy farms, which it has described as “cruel and barbaric factory farms”, while permitting cruel and barbaric practices in relation to other animals.
Uncovering the truth: The case of Oliver’s Piggery, Tasmania
- Without animal activists entering Oliver’s Piggery in Tasmania, we may never have known of the horrific practices that had been occurring there.
- The piggery had been a major supplier to the supermarket chain Woolworths, with the owner appearing in promotional brochures as one of its “fresh food people”.
- It had recently passed an industry-based quality audit, with only a clerical error delaying formal approval.
- The activists notified police after the RSPCA refused to assist.
- Charges were laid and fines imposed against the piggery’s owners and operators.
- The term “carnism” was coined by Harvard-educated psychologist and author Dr Melanie Joy, comprising “carn” for “flesh” and “ism” to denote a belief system.
- It is an invisible belief system or ideology that conditions people to eat certain animals but not others.
- If the community were willing to challenge this dominant belief system, it may begin to look objectively at the horrors we are imposing on animals used for food and other purposes.
Challenging laws to achieve social justice
- History is full of activists who challenged the law of the day in pursuit of a just cause, and suffered through intimidation, arrest and incarceration.
- They allegedly broke laws and challenged those in authority, only to eventually be widely regarded as heroes as the validity of their position became evident.
- Today’s animal activists could one day be perceived the same way by the general community.
Humans have almost complete power over the other animals with whom we share the planet.
With power comes responsibility.
However, we largely ignore that responsibility, and abuse our power, by forcing tens of billions of animals globally and hundreds of millions in Australia each year to become units of production.
It is hoped that the material contained in the submissions provides each committee with some perspective that may otherwise have been lacking when considering their position on animal activism.
“A beautiful face, with someone inside – sold to the highest bidder”, © Bear Witness Australia, “Witness #5, http://bearwitnessaustralia.com/
Animal Liberation via The Aussie Farms Repository, “Broiler (meat) chickens, approximately 7 weeks old
Other image credits are included in the submissions.
Agriculture Victoria, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Legislation: Summary of legislation, http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/animal-health-and-welfare/animal-welfare/animal-welfare-legislation/prevention-of-cruelty-to-animals-legislation
Dowling, J., “Bracks’ Secret State”, The Age, 24 Sep 2006, http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/bracks-secret-state/2006/09/23/1158431942575.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap2
Baker, R., “How Bracks is failing to honour his commitment to openness”, The Age, 16 July 2003, http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/07/15/1058035003170.html
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Original Position”, First published Tue Feb 27, 1996; substantive revision Wed Apr 3, 2019, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/original-position/
Government of Victoria, Minister for Agriculture, “Ending Puppy Farming Once And For All In Victoria”, 29 June 2018, https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/ending-puppy-farming-once-and-for-all-in-victoria/ and Twitter, @DanielAndrewsMP, 5:15 pm, 10 Oct 2016
Animals Australia, “Where do puppies come from?”, https://www.animalsaustralia.org/puppies
Animals Australia, “Duck farming: 9 ways duck farms are failing animals”, https://www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/farmed-ducks.php
Agriculture Victoria, “Animal Welfare Action Plan”, December 2017, http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/animal-health-and-welfare/animal-welfare/animal-welfare-action-plan
Letter from minister for agriculture, Jaala Pulford, 29 April 2016
Victorian Government, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, About Us, https://djpr.vic.gov.au/about-us
Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAOSTAT, Livestock Primary, Producing Animals Slaughtered
Australian Government, Department of Home Affairs, Historical Migration Statistics, April 2019, https://data.gov.au/data/dataset/historical-migration-statistics
World Bank, World Development Indicators, Birth rate, crude (per 1,000 people), https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.CBRT.IN
World Bank, World Development Indicators, Population, total, Australia, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?locations=AU&view=chart
Tasmanian Times, “Ashamed to be a human being”, 30 September 2009, https://tasmaniantimes.com/2009/09/emma-haswell-hero/
ABC News, “Pig farmer fined over animal cruelty”, 12 August 2009, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-08-11/pig-farmer-fined-over-animal-cruelty/1387142
60 Minutes, Nine Network, “The Hidden Truth”, 20th November 2009
Brightside Farm Sanctuary Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 2, June 2009, pp. 4-5, https://issuu.com/brightside/docs/newsletter_june_09v2/4
miffywickham, “The Pig Files: Scales of Justice”, 8 September 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpIrB6UOL7shttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpIrB6UOL7s
Beyond Carnism, “What is carnism?”, https://www.carnism.org/carnism
Giuffre, E., “Speciesism: Why do we love one animal but condemn the other?”, Voiceless, Undated, https://www.voiceless.org.au/content/speciesism-why-do-we-love-one-animal-condemn-other
Rezalan, J., “British suffragettes from 100 years ago are hailed as heroes, yet the government still considers them criminals”, The Washington Post, 6 February 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/02/06/british-suffragettes-are-hailed-as-heroes-yet-theyre-still-considered-criminals/?utm_term=.678877259dae
The King Legacy, a partnership between the estate of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. and Beacon Press, “The King Years”, http://www.thekinglegacy.org/content/king-years
Levingston, S., “Children have changed America before, braving fire hoses and police dogs for civil rights”, The Washington Post, 23 March 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/02/20/children-have-changed-america-before-braving-fire-hoses-and-police-dogs-for-civil-rights/?utm_term=.4532929a43f5
Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Alabama Integration, http://crdl.usg.edu/events/ua_integration/?Welcome
Nelson Mandela Foundation, Biography of Nelson Mandela (undated), https://www.nelsonmandela.org/content/page/biography