Author Topic: 'Ag-gag' laws not welcome in Australia- doesnt it protect and promote cruelty?  (Read 892 times)

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Australia debates 'ag-gag' laws 

ABC Rural  By Catherine McAloon
 Updated 2 hours 26 minutes ago

    The Tasmanian Government promised to ban sow stalls but now appears to be backing down. height=227 Photo: The pork industry has been targeted by animal rights campaigners secretly filming at piggeries.    
Audio: Ag-gag law debate in Australia (ABC Rural)   

Debate over laws which shut animal activists out of farms has reached Australia.

Several American states have introduced legislation, known as 'ag-gag' laws, that make it illegal for animal rights groups to secretly film on farms.

Australian animal rights group Voiceless is worried similar legislation will be introduced in Australia, and has brought out US writer and commentator Will Potter to address a lecture series focussed on the laws, around the country.

Mr Potter, who opposes the laws, says in the states where they've been passed, animal rights campaigners have been silenced.

"National animal protection groups have been prohibited from conducting investigations into what happens on factory farms and slaughter houses," he said.

"It is the law of the land right now, and they are not able to violate those laws, so in effect animal abusers in those states know that they can continue their actions with impunity."

Currently, there's no similar legislation being proposed in Australia, but politicians from New South Wales and Western Australia, have expressed their support for stronger action to be taken against animal activists.

Australian Pork Limited chief executive Andrew Spencer says stronger legal protection is needed to protect farmers from activists.

"I don't really know if 'ag-gag' type laws are the answer, but I do believe that we need stronger protection for the rights of farmers, through trespass laws that are a true deterrent for people to carry out these types of farm raids," Mr Spencer said.

"And the biosecurity threats that some of these raids represent, from people who don't really know what that means, they are enormous."

The pork industry and animal welfare groups have endured a combative relationship in Australia in recent years.

Last year, two pig farmers took out apprehended violence orders against the executive director of Animal Liberation, after activists secretly filmed at their piggeries in the New South Wales town of Young and posted some of the footage on YouTube.

"We've got the situation today where we have vegetarian groups raiding pig farms, misrepresenting what goes on on those pig farms through selective film footage and making ridiculous and defamatory claims about what's going on on those farms, all driven from an agenda that animal agriculture should not exist," Mr Spencer said.

"We think that is completely unfair and that the law needs to be able to deal with that effectively."