Author Topic: Kirby pushes for animal protection rethink - Lateline 08.08.2012  (Read 745 times)

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Kirby pushes for animal protection rethink - Lateline 08.08.2012
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2012, 04:41:17 PM »
Former High Court judge Michael Kirby is arguing for a rethink of laws governing animal protection and live exports, pointing to research showing closer genetic links between humans and other animals.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Well as we heard earlier in the program Tony Abbott has decried last year's temporary suspension of live cattle exports as the most disastrous incident in Australia's relations with Indonesia.

But a former High Court Justice Michael Kirby has his way, restrictions on live exports could become permanent. Michael Kirby is now arguing for a rethink of laws governing animal protection, pointing to research showing closer genetic links between humans and other animals.

This report from Suzanne Smith and a warning, some viewers may find some of the following pictures disturbing.

SUZANNE SMITH, REPORTER: Whether it is primates like these bonobos, livestock or domestic pets, the former judge said they should expect tougher laws protecting them in the next decade.

MICHAEL KIRBY, FORMER HIGH COURT JUDGE: If I ask myself what are the big moral questions we are going to be thinking about in the future one of them is certainly animal welfare.

SUZANNE SMITH: Michael Kirby was the headline speaker at the Byron Bay Writer's Festival and has become the patron of the animal rights think tank Voiceless.

He says new research has revealed the animal genome is similar to the human one. The latest research shows that humans and dogs are much closer than we think.

When a dog looks at its owner it is the same chemical reaction in the dog's brain as when a human looks at its loved ones.

BRUCE CRABB, ABC ARCHIVIST: There's a real bond between us and, you know, a lot of stuff is unspoken. He's very sensitive to the tone of the voice, noises, that kind of thing, so he understands a lot.

MICHAEL KIRBY: To me this isn't just a matter of my pets. This is a matter of the way one species, the humans, relate to other species and that we now recognise or should recognise they are not just things, they're not just objects.

They aren't just put on Earth for our benefit and our amusement. They are creatures that have feelings very similar to our own and if we can understand our own feelings and our own fear and pain, we should be able to understand that of other animals.

SUZANNE SMITH: Michael Kirby says humans have been removed from the slaughter process so they don't have to think about the moral issues.

MICHAEL KIRBY: If you get the animal flesh packaged in plastic in the local shop, then you're not really going to think about the moral questions. Animals are not things.

Some of the interpretations of the Bible, which are always rather suspect, regard animals as things put on Earth by God, the beasts of the field, the foul of the air, for the benefit and amusement and nutrition of human beings.

SUZANNE SMITH: Of more concern to Michael Kirby is what he describes as the corporatisation of animal slaughter.

MICHAEL KIRBY: It's a huge industry now. It's not just the local killing organisation. In order to feed the hamburger market in the United States, for example, there are huge facilities of death.

SUZANNE SMITH: The live export trade has been very controversial, would you say it's time to ban it?

MICHAEL KIRBY: Well, if Australians actually knew what happens in the live export trade, that sentient creatures that feel as we do are packed into a ship, often in circumstances where their faeces fall down on other animals below them and are taken on very long journeys over which quite a number of them die in the course of the journey and then are treated rather cruelly at the end of the line when their slaughter comes up without stunning and without other protections to reduce the pain, I think Australians would be really shocked about this. It's not just economics, it's morality and it's the spiritual thing that we share with other animals.

SUZANNE SMITH: Now Michael Kirby is asking whether people who make animal cruelty videos for fun might attract criminal sanctions.

MICHAEL KIRBY: The writing is on the wall on this subject. This is going to be a big issue in the decades to come.

SUZANNE SMITH: Farming and livestock peak bodies were contacted for this story but were not able to comment at this time.

Suzanne Smith, Lateline.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 07:06:18 PM by Export News Tasmania »