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 New laws could stop revelations of animal abuse Date
February 17, 2015 - 5:13PM
  • Siobhan O’Sullivan
Proposed laws are designed to ensure activists could not let the community know about abuse of animals.

The use of live bait by greyhound trainers has been exposed by animal rights activists and Four Corners.

Four Corners
and Animals Australia have again brought the live animal industry to its knees, after revealing the widespread use of "blooding" in the Australian greyhound racing industry. The
story would not have been possible without the aid of hidden cameras, trespass, anonymous sources and undercover investigators infiltrating the industry.   

Blooding refers to the use of live animals (rabbits, possums, piglets) as bait. Live bait is said to give dogs a race-day advantage by making them more aggressive. It gets their "blood lust up".

When the dog's muzzle is on, the experience is merely terrifying for the bait animal. When the dog's muzzle is off, it is fatal.   

However, it would be short-sighted to see the Four Corners' story as merely another tale of animal cruelty. In its wider context, it is much more significant than that.

The Four Corners' expose comes just days after West Australian Liberal Senator Chris Back introduced a so-called "ag gag" bill into Australian Federal Parliament. The law, if passed, would make the type of investigation Animals Australia, Animal Liberation Queensland and Four Corners have undertaken into the greyhound industry impossible. That is, of course, the point of such legislation.

The debate over ag gag laws has already been had in the US, so we have a good idea what is coming. Ag gag laws seek to duplicate existing trespass laws, but they do so with a twist. Typically, they seriously increase penalties; make it illegal to distribute or broadcast images that have not been surrendered to the police; and create a crime of seeking employment with the aim of exposing animal suffering.

In other words, ag gag laws are intentionally designed to ensure animal activists are unable to let the community know about socially invisible animal suffering.

Greyhound racing in NSW is overseen by an independent body called Greyhound Racing NSW. That body has multiple responsibilities, including animal welfare. Yet, despite that explicit remit, Greyhound Racing NSW told a 2014 NSW Government inquiry it had no evidence live animals were being used as bait.

For its part, the RSPCA told the inquiry it had good reason to suspect the occurrence of live baiting, particularly in cases where greyhound owners were also housing small bait animals. According to Australia's premier animal welfare enforcement agency, the inference was clear "that live baiting probably occurs at these properties ... [but] that the current legislation is insufficient for

On Four Corners on Monday night we learnt the RSPCA was half right. Live baiting is occurring at staggering rates, but, in fact, the legislation is adequate. On last count, about 22 greyhound owners and trainers had been suspended around Australia, with legal action to follow. The reason the RSPCA was hamstrung was because it was unable to gather the evidence needed to join the rather obvious dots.

Enter Animals Australia, Animal Liberation Queensland and Four Corners.

Animal activists were able to obtain that evidence, and more. They were smart, they were patient, and they demonstrated that animal cruelty is a routine part of greyhound racing in Australia.

Moreover, it goes all the way to the top. They did this by using undercover investigators to infiltrate the industry and a range of other critically important investigative techniques; all of which would become heavily penalised under the Coalition's proposed ag gag legislation. 

Just as in the case of the live animal exports, the community is again shocked and wants to know why nothing was done. The community doesn't mean why nothing was done to stop the animal activists. The community values the information animal activists bring them and consider the greyhound trainers to be the only culpable party.

If the type of legislation Senator Back seeks were already in place, it would not be 22 greyhound owners and trainers facing legal action; it would be Lyn White, from Animals Australia, and activists from Animal Liberation Queensland. If that were to occur, it would add insult to injury, or, rather, injustice to unspeakable animal abuse.

Siobhan O'Sullivan is a lecturer in social policy at the School of Social Sciences at the University of NSW.
Other (non-export) News / Flawed thinking that allows us to abuse animals
« Last post by WA Export News on November 09, 2014, 04:16:50 PM »
Flawed thinking that allows us to abuse animals

 Valerie Wangnet |  23 September 2014

In October last year, a Massachusetts newspaper reported strange noises coming from a local dairy farm. The noises carried out through the entire night and into the small hours of the morning. Residents, who described the low and harrowing wails as 'spooky' and 'scary' were prompted to call the local police, who, after investigating the noise, quickly determined its cause.

The noises were coming from the resident dairy cows who had just become new mothers. Their newborn calves had been taken to slaughter shortly after their births to stop them from consuming any milk. The mother cows were wailing through the night over the painful separation from their babies.

The next day, due to the influx of concern from local residents, the local police issued a short statement on its Facebook page to reassure the locals, 'We’ve been informed that the cows are not in distress and the noises are a normal part of farming practices'.

There is some truth in this statement. The immediate separation of dairy calves and their mothers is a normal function of a working dairy farm. Dubbed as 'bobby calves', the newborns (who are mostly male) are considered waste products by the dairy industry. Every year around 700,000 bobby calves are slaughtered in Australia within the first week of their lives. The routine separation of mother and calf was described by activist Gary Yourofsky in a famous lecture given at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He recounted, 'the worst scream I’ve ever heard – and I’ve heard them all first hand – was of a mother cow on a dairy farm. She screams and bellows her lungs out day after day for her stolen baby to be given back to her.'

So while this part of the Massachusetts police’s statement was true, there is something deeply troubling about the next part of it; a fallacy which is so perpetually drummed into our consciousness that we either refuse to acknowledge it or choose to conveniently ignore it. The fallacy is conveyed in six short and dismissive words: 'The cows are not in distress'.

It’s a peculiar thing when we reserve moral consideration to some but not to others. This is especially true when our reasons for doing so are very murky. The incredible contradiction we live with in our society today is that while we declare our love and appreciation for some animals, human cruelty to the less fortunate of species takes place on an extraordinarily vast and industrial scale.

As humans, we have come to realise the importance of extending moral consideration to other animals. In a society that places our own species as dominant over all others, we have set up legalisation, regulatory bodies and advisory groups to protect the welfare of other animals. We prosecute people who throw cats over bridges, assemble specialised task forces to take down the underground world of dogfighting and impose sanctions, together with other nations, in a bid to stop whaling. But for animals raised to end up on our dinner plates, we apply a very different standard for the sake of justifying our food palette. To be born a Labrador or Golden Retriever is to be loved, adored and cared for over a long and comfortable life. But to be born a pig, more intelligent and highly sensitive to the physical and emotional trauma imposed by modern farming practices, is to endure a short and miserable lifetime of abuse, terror and neglect.

Today the use of industrial methods to kill food animals on a massive scale is standard procedure. Animals are routinely (and legally) forcibly impregnated, castrated, and have their horns and tails cut off without anaesthesia. Sows are crammed into crates where they are unable to move, hens are debeaked without pain relief (leaving many to die from shock), and female cows are milked until they become too weak to stand, at which point they are promptly trucked off to be killed. And finally, like the ill–fated bobby calves who become liabilities to the dairy industry, baby chicks who suffer the terrible misfortune of being born male in the egg industry are ground up alive within the first few hours of their birth, simply because they do not have the profitable ability to produce eggs.

When we think about what is essentially wrong with all of this, what it comes down to is sentience, primarily the capacity for suffering. In 1789 Jeremy Bentham famously wrote, 'The question is not, can they reason, nor, can they talk but, can they suffer?' But while most of us agree that animals do experience pain, fear and distress, we’ve come to master the skill of switching off our empathy when told something like, 'Don’t worry, there’s no abuse happening here. This is all part of the routine'.

And it’s very easy to switch off. In fact, it’s necessary in order for us to continue with our traditional eating habits. Psychologist and author Dr Melanie Joy conducted a series of interviews with abattoir workers, revealing a disturbing occupational necessity for the workers to 'switch off'. One of them put it this way:
'I don’t (think of animals raised for meat as individuals). I wouldn’t be able to do my job if I got that personal with them. When you say 'individuals,' you mean as a unique person, as a unique thing with its own name and its own characteristics…I’d really rather not know that. I’m sure it has it, but I’d rather not know it.'

The dominant meat–eating culture in which we live successfully condemns all of us to suffer from the same moral paradox. When we think about it, we know that food animals are individuals, but we’d rather not know it. We feel compelled to speak up when confronted with images of animals being abused, yet we actively sustain an industry that bases its very growth and success on the lifelong abuse of animals. When we see the dismembered parts of animals on our supermarket shelves or on our dinner tables, we instinctively perceive them as things. This allows us to justify animal abuse in all sorts of feeble ways that remain remarkably inconsistent with our usual line of moral reasoning. 

The moral cost of our cognitive dissonance is significant. Factory farming animals, like other oppressive and violent regimes which counter regular human values, depend on a set of psychological defence mechanisms that encourages others to justify and sustain it. These mechanisms enable us to support wide scale and unnecessary violence towards other feeling beings, without the moral discomfort we would normally feel. They enable us to support an oppressive system that we would otherwise oppose, and are enforced by a range of fallacies and public deception. For example, before the American Civil War, slaves were described as not having the capacity to love their children, which made it easier for people to justify separating them. In Ancient Greece,
Hippocrates used the term ‘hysteria’ to account for emotional instability and mental illness in women – a diagnosis that survived up until the mid–19th century with the first sparks of the women’s suffrage movement. In Nazi Germany, a recurrent theme in anti–Semitic propaganda was that Jews spread diseases, which stopped non–Jews from entering the ghettos and witnessing the horrific conditions inside.

In the case of food animals, we are told that they cannot think, suffer or feel pain. That animals are not intelligent enough, or do not hold enough self–awareness, to understand what’s going on around them. Members of the public are not allowed to see inside factory farms or slaughterhouses because it poses serious 'health risks' and 'startles' the livestock. Those who film or photograph the inside of a slaughterhouse, even if standing on public property, can be liable to face jail time, pay hefty penalties and even be charged under terrorism laws. 

It is difficult to believe that when we demean and abuse other animals, that our humanity does not suffer also. It is even less difficult to believe that when we allow room for cognitive dissonance, especially when it comes to wide scale suffering at our own hands, that the very scaffolding of our ethical framework as a society does not fall victim to it. The great moral cost is not about animal rights or animal welfare, but of human responsibility, because in our relationship with other animals, our choices hold heavy life and death consequences for other sentient beings. The least we can do in the pursuit of moral progress is to allow food animals a certain degree of our moral consideration before our next meal.
   'I didn't know the dog was at the back of the ute': cruelty accused   

Courtney FowlerOctober 22, 2014, 3:39 pm 

     Accused traumatised after dog-dragging incident  Accused 'traumatised' after dog-dragging incident   

A 35 year old Wickham man appeared at Karratha Magistrates court today charged with cruelty to an animal and contravening a learner's permit.

Johnathon Wayne Smith pleaded guilty to contravening his learner's permit, but not guilty to the ill treatment of an animal.

It was alleged Mr Smith dragged the dog, named Hercules, behind a vehicle through the streets of Wickham on September 30 for approximately 5kms, reaching speeds of up to 60-70kmph, leaving the canine with burns to more than 20 per cent of his body.

It is alleged after the incident occurred he took the dog to the beach and placed him in the sea water to help, then covering it in tea tree oil in an attempt to treat the injuries.

The dog was taken to Karratha Vet Hospital by the Roebourne police after they responded to reports of the incident.

It is believed the dog belonged to Mr Smith's foster brother and he is likely to say the incident was an accident when he returns to court for his trial allocation date on January 21.

Outside the court, Mr Smith said the incident haunted him as he loved the dog and it was an accident which occurred as he didn't know Hercules had been chained to the tow ball of the vehicle.

He said he had helped to look after Hercules since he was a puppy and would never do anything to deliberately hurt him and he had taken Hercules to the beach hoping the saltwater would help stop the bleeding.

"I have a lot of love, time and care for that dog…I would harm myself before I'd harm that dog," Mr Smith said.

"I know I stuffed up 'cos I was on my learners and didn't look around my car and didn't use my mirrors…but I didn't know the dog was at the back of the ute…I am still to this day trying to find out who attached him to the car.

"As I drove off a bloke walked across the road..he just stood there and laughed, didn't say nothing and just watched me go up the road…I didn't know the dog was in the back…if he had just sung out and said something, this wouldn't have happened."

Mr Smith said the incident had left him traumatised and he didn't want to live in town anymore because of threats and comments made on Facebook, adding people he had known for many years were now "giving him the cold shoulder" and saying he was "cruel".

He has been released on bail, during which time he cannot be in charge of, or transport any animal.

The maximum penalty Mr Smith could face under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 is a $50,000 dollar fine with up to five years imprisonment.

Hercules is due to remain in Karratha Vet Hospital over the next couple of months while he recovers. He has continued to show signs of improvement, according to vets treating him.
Other (non-export) News / Former Rodeo Performer Condemns NZ Rodeo Cruelty
« Last post by WA Export News on October 28, 2014, 11:18:28 AM »
Former Rodeo Performer Condemns NZ Rodeo Cruelty

Tuesday, 28 October 2014,  9:53 am

Press Release: SAFE  Former Rodeo Performer Condemns NZ Rodeo Cruelty as Rodeo Shut Down

As Huntly Rodeo shuts down for good a United States former rodeo performer and veterinarian is condemning rodeo as ‘inherently inhumane’ in an open letter released today. As the New Zealand rodeo season begins, Dr Peggy Larson has joined with animal advocacy organisation SAFE in appealing to the New Zealand public not to buy into the cruelty, which she says is not part of United States’ tradition – or New Zealand’s.

The plea comes after the controversy last week involving Glassons and their new advert depicting a girl riding a bull. The company received hundreds of complaints. Now reports announce that the organisers of Huntly Rodeo have closed their doors for good after receiving warnings for animal cruelty from the Ministry for Primary Industries. Dr Larson's condemnation follows  the Huntly rodeo abuse case.

“Rodeo is not part of our heritage, as rodeo promoters claim. And it is most certainly not a part of New Zealand’s heritage. I urge all New Zealanders to not buy into this cruel practice,” says Dr Larson.

Dr. Larson has been a bareback bronc rider in the rodeo, a farmer, a large animal veterinarian, a medical researcher, a meat inspector, and a prosecutor. Mixing personal experience with academic expertise, she has been a strong opponent of the rodeo for years. Now she is turning her sights on New Zealand rodeo.

"Based on my extensive training and experience, it is impossible to create a humane rodeo. It is simply animal abuse for entertainment,” she says.  SAFE is also concerned that animals are being subjected to senseless cruelty, for the sake of entertainment. “Hurting animals for fun is not acceptable, in any circumstance,” says Mandy Carter, head of campaigns. “What was regarded as breaching the animal welfare act at Huntly Rodeo is common practice at every single rodeo. SAFE firmly believes this could be the beginning of the end for rodeo in New Zealand."

In the letter, Dr Larson states: “Rodeos have nothing to do with good stockmanship or farming practice. Farmers aim to handle their animals in a manner that causes the least amount of stress to the animals, whilst rodeos do the opposite.

“I urge New Zealand to ban this cruel practice.  And in the meantime, I ask all New Zealanders to boycott rodeo.”

The New Zealand rodeo season began on 25th October in Winchester. Huntly Rodeo was held every January. SAFE is calling for all animal lovers to steer well clear of the rodeo.

 © Scoop Media

Other (non-export) News / Pet beatings on the rise 19.10.2014
« Last post by WA Export News on October 18, 2014, 08:58:11 AM »
 Pet beatings on the rise   

EXCLUSIVE Natalie Brown The West Australian  October 18, 2014, 3:21 am
     Pet beatings on the rise  Pet beatings on the rise   

WA animal welfare inspectors are responding to more than 100 tip-offs of animal cruelty a week - including shocking cases of animals allegedly being beaten, stabbed and thrown from cars - as part of an unprecedented increase in complaints.

The RSPCA says it is alarmed  at a 25 per cent increase in animal cruelty complaints, many resulting in  reports of alleged neglect at the hands of owners who were too poor to look after their pets.

In July, August and  last month, inspectors received 1577 complaints of cruelty in WA, compared with 1266  in the same three months last year.

Last financial year, more than 6000 calls were investigated,  most involving alleged cruelty against dogs.

The charity's chief inspector, Amanda Swift, said the cases ranged from elderly animals with untreated injuries to horrific beatings resulting in the animals being put down or having limbs amputated.

"The shocking cruelty is the intent cruelty that we're seeing the rise of," she said. "They're the ones where they're intentionally beating or injuring the animal, they're being beaten, kicked and thrown out of moving cars."

In the past week, inspectors have been called to several incidents where dogs and cats were barely alive after being locked  in hot cars and a building where  a dog had allegedly been abandoned while tied up with no  water.

Ms Swift said poverty was closely linked with animal cruelty and those suffering the most  often  took their frustrations out on their pets by beating them or leaving them with broken limbs because they could not afford veterinary care.

Suburbs where inspectors received the most call-outs included Gosnells, Armadale, Balga, Baldivis and Ellenbrook.

Shenton Park Dogs' Refuge Home manager Judy Flanagan said the facility  had a steady increase in the amount of dogs being surrendered by owners unable to afford to look after them.

"It's pretty tough out there for a lot of people and we are seeing a lot of cases of financial hardship," she said.

"A few of those people's animals will end up in the pound, in the worst-case scenarios I'm sure they're not even cared for, or end up being hit by a car or dumped."

Other (non-export) News / The truth behind animal tourism 16.10.2014
« Last post by WA Export News on October 18, 2014, 12:06:41 AM »
The truth behind animal tourism         
  • 1 day ago October 16, 2014 8:07AM
       Make animal friendly choices on holiday. height=366   Make animal friendly choices on holiday. Source: AFP
      THE recent celebration of World Animal Day has brought an ongoing issue back into the spotlight — wildlife used for entertainment.
From elephant rides, to selfies with tigers and swimming with dolphins, The Huffington Post has pulled together a list of animal tourist attractions you should avoid at all costs with some advice from global advocacy group, World Animal Protection.

1. Riding elephants

The popular tourist attraction hides a disturbing practice of taking young elephants from their mothers to tame them for human interaction. Physical and psychological methods are inflicted upon these wild babies to break their spirit and it is said that this often leads to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder.
     The highly intelligent elephants suffer serious stress. height=488   The highly intelligent elephants suffer serious stress. Source: News Limited

2. Walking with lions
This tourist attraction actually uses cubs not lions. This means that once the cubs grow up they are no longer deemed safe to walk with tourists meaning their future is at risk as they are too tame to survive back in the wild.
     There is no use for the cubs once they’ve grown up. height=488   There is no use for the cubs once they’ve grown up. Source: News Limited

3. Taking tiger selfies
Often the claws and canines of tigers are removed to ensure they won’t hurt tourists vying for a prized tiger selfie.

4. Performing dolphins

The capturing of dolphins is so stressful that some never make it to their intended destination. Those that do are faced with a lifetime of imprisonment in chlorinated pools barely large enough for them to exercise.
     The truth behind animal tourism height=488   Dolphins suffer in chlorinated pools. Source: ThinkStock

5. Dancing monkeys
These monkeys are kept on tight chains to perform to unsuspecting tourists. These chains often embed into their skin and when they’re not performing they are usually kept in small cages.
     An African monkey caged in Singapore. height=488   An African monkey caged in Singapore. Source: News Corp Australia

6. Snake charming
Deadly cobras have their fangs removed with metal pliers and their venom ducts blocked to deter their fatal bite.
     Taking the deadly bite out of cobras. Picture: Angela Saurine. height=488   Taking the deadly bite out of cobras. Picture: Angela Saurine. Source: News Limited

7. Holding sea turtles
Sea turtles suffer serious stress from human touch which can weaken their immune system leading to disease.
     The flapping of their flippers can detach their claws. height=488   The flapping of their flippers can detach their claws. Source: AP

World Animal Protection encourages tourists to make animal friendly choices on holiday and curb the demand for unethical treatment of our wildlife.

 Woman banned over dog cruelty   

Natalie Brown The West Australian  October 8, 2014, 5:03 pm
     Owner banned after dog left tied up, weak  The dog after being found by Shire of Broome rangers. Picture: RSPCA   
A Broome woman has been banned from owning animals after her dog was left unfed, tied to a car and so weak, it could hardly stand.

Kay Sanmilliar Accarra Bamaga, 27, was found guilty of animal cruelty on July 18 and sentenced to two eight-month prison terms, suspended for 12 months and was banned from being in charge of animals for 20 years in Broome Magistrate's Court today.

She was also ordered to pay costs of almost $3000.

Shire of Broome rangers discovered the woman's four-year-old French Mastiff 'Braveheart' tied up and emaciated in her backyard in June last year.

The dog weighed 13kg less than the 40kg average for similar dogs and was suffering from infections and infestations including fleas and mites and had an ulcer.

The dog was later euthanised at Broome Vet Hospital after months of treatment.

In a statement, the RSPCA said vets believed the dog had been suffering for at least six months and his conditions were preventable.

The owner had paid $2000 for the dog as a puppy but claimed she did not have the money to pay for his care.

RSPCA chief inspector Amanda Swift said the dog suffered needlessly.

"If people genuinely cannot afford to look after their animals properly they should seek assistance from an animal welfare organisation such as SAFE or the RSPCA," Ms Swift said.

The woman also owned a second dog which will be rehomed.

The RSPCA says it is trying to get funding for a permanent base in Broome in response to calls from veterinary groups and the council.

Other (non-export) News / Does the Australian pig industry feel ashamed?
« Last post by WA Export News on October 08, 2014, 10:16:12 AM »
Lucent documentary on Australian pig farming reveals ‘the true price we pay for bacon’         
  • 23 minutes ago October 08, 2014 10:53AM is the eye-opening footage animal activists claim is happening in pig farms across Australia.
The footage, allegedly shot across 50 farms and piggeries across the country, shows pigs confined to sow and farrowing stalls, some with dead babies nearby and others with bleeding sores.

Others appear distressed and in pain.

The footage forms the basis for a new feature-length documentary compiled by animal rights activist Chris Delforce, Lucent, which he hopes will “make people sit up and question where their food really came from”.

which will show in various cinemas from October 17, also focuses on practices such as prolonged confinement, surgical mutilation without pain relief, as well as “filthy and crowded ‘free range’ sheds and the use of gas chambers at all major pig slaughterhouses”.

And activists claim the most shocking thing of all is that the treatment and confinement of the animals in this way is totally legal.
     Lucent is confronting but has been slammed by Australian Pork. Picture: Lucent height=366   Lucent is confronting but has been slammed by Australian Pork. Picture: Lucent Source: Supplied
But Lucent has been slammed by the Australian Pork industry which said the footage was deliberately designed to paint producers in a bad light.

It said the footage was also skewed to “totally misrepresent the industry” and producers were angry at being misrepresented by “those whose agenda is designed to end factory farming”.

However Operations Director of Aussie Farms and producer of Lucent Mr Delforce made no apologies for the footage which he said went “behind the scenes of a recent, highly prolific investigation by animal activists.”

He told that the film busts two common myths about Australian animal agriculture — that cruelty didn’t happen in Australia and that it was limited to rogue operators.

     Lucent claims pigs are kept in crowded and filthy conditions. Picture: Lucent height=488   Lucent claims pigs are kept in crowded and filthy conditions. Picture: Lucent Source: Supplied
“The film focuses almost entirely on the industry-standard, legal practices that, despite being so widespread, have remained hidden from the public; practices such as prolonged confinement, surgical mutilation without pain relief, artificial insemination, filthy and crowded ‘free range’ sheds, the use of gas chambers at all major pig slaughterhouses, and much more,” he said,

“These are all practices that we would never allow to be carried out on dogs, yet pigs — who are just as intelligent — are afforded no legal protection from this relentless abuse and exploitation.”

Mr Delforce said his message wasn’t about not eating meat but rather he just wanted to present what was happening.

“I’m letting the footage speak for itself,” he said.

The footage was compiled from different farms and piggeries anonymously and compiled by Mr Delforce.
     Dead piglets are seen in the documentary. Picture: Lucent height=488   Dead piglets are seen in the documentary. Picture: Lucent Source: Supplied
He said a small number of complaints were made to the RSPCA but added what was seen in the footage was actually legal and didn’t breach any code of practice.

“That’s the whole point of the documentary, all this happens to pigs and it’s legal, yet if someone did this to a dog they’d go to jail,” he said.

“And Australian Pork will say there’s nothing wrong with what their producers are doing this yet slam the footage.”

The Canberra-based web developer also admitted while he was a vegan who didn’t believe in eating animals, it was people’s personal choice whether they are meat products or not and that was not the point of the film.

However a spokeswoman for the Australian Pork Association told the footage didn’t represent Australian pork producers fairly and was edited out of context.

She said in some cases animals were deliberately stirred up to enhance the footage and that the film and images were meant to be deliberately confronting.
     Lucent claims this is the norm, rather than not. Picture: Lucent. height=488   Lucent claims this is the norm, rather than not. Picture: Lucent. Source: Supplied
“The selective photography and editing contribute to the confronting nature of the footage, as does the lack of context relating to what is being put before viewers,” the spokeswoman said.

“The act of raiding farms at night also helps with this with the poor available lighting providing a negative overall tone.”

There is only one pig producer who is currently before the courts for inappropriate practices after footage from his farm was released in August 2012.

However, other pig producers have been inspected by authorities (such as the RSPCA), and have been cleared of any violations of animal welfare law.

The Australian Pig Quality Assurance Program (APIQ) currently sets the industry standards under the program, and around 90 per cent of Australian pig farms are APIQ accredited, according to Australian Pork.

While not mandatory, the spokeswoman said it was a standard more often than not requested by wholesalers and retailers as part of their requirement for buying and retailing Australian pork.

Further, pig producers are moving towards phasing out sow stalls by 2017, which showed it was in their best interests when it came to long-term sustainability in the industry.

The spokeswoman also rejected the claim that farrowing crates, or birthing stalls were cruel, as they were designed to protect piglets from smothering and sows spend four weeks in one while her litter is weaned, which is totally legal and standard.

“Farming pigs intensively is of course not only legal but ethical,” the spokeswoman said.

“Intensive production methods give pig farmers enormous scope for the management of the health and wellbeing of their animals.”
     Activists say pigs are just as intelligent, if not more so than dogs, yet are allowed to height=488   Activists say pigs are just as intelligent, if not more so than dogs, yet are allowed to be kept in much worse conditions than the average pet. Source: Supplied
She added confinement and tail docking were done with minimal stress while carbon dioxide stunning chambers were considered to be the highest welfare method for humane slaughter.

The spokeswoman said while she respected people’s right to eat what they liked there was no excuse for “publicly persecuting and bullying people on social media”.

RPSCA spokeswoman Elise Meakin said the charity could not comment on individual cases or current claims or investigations into animal cruelty.

However she said all any complaints needed to be investigated along official channels, adding footage shot inside conventional pig farming systems can be confronting to some people.

“Unfortunately many conventional practices such as tail docking, teeth clipping and castration without pain relief as well as the use of sow stalls and farrowing crates are allowed under current laws,” she said.

Ms Meakin added laws needed to be changed to ensure better farming practices would benefit animals.

“We have therefore been pleased to see voluntary commitments by the industry to phase out the use of sow stalls by 2017,” she said.

“There has already been a lot of progress in moving sows into group housing and the RSPCA encourages the addition of straw for bedding and other materials for them to
manipulate and to give them something to do.

“The industry is also investing in new systems for farrowing (birth and initial weeks of piglets life) and we are hopeful this move away from intensive confinement during farrowing will occur quickly.”

Ms Meakin added consumers could also play their part in giving farm animals a better quality of life by looking for the RSPCA approved farming scheme.

According to the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme standards for pigs, it approves both well-managed extensive outdoor housing systems and enhanced indoor environments.

Only farming systems that cater for the behavioural needs of the pigs, as well as their physical needs, can be part of the Approved Farming Scheme and Intensive confinement systems, such as single stalls and traditional farrowing crates, are not allowed.

Animals Australia spokeswoman Lisa Chalk said the number one cause of animal cruelty in Australia today is actually entirely legal, which is the factory farming of animals for food.

“In factory farms animals can be severely confined, denied any ability to express their natural behaviours and they can be routinely subjected to surgical procedures without pain relief,” she said.

“If you committed these same acts on a dog or cat you could be charged with cruelty but for farmed animals, their abuse is considered an acceptable part of doing business.”

Ms Chalk added that the reality was that factory farming wouldn’t exist if consumers really knew the high price animals were paying for cheap meat and eggs.
Other (non-export) News / Elephant rides
« Last post by WA Export News on October 05, 2014, 12:39:41 PM »
The Authentic Elephant Ride

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