ANIMAL CRUELTY AND THE LIVE ANIMAL EXPORT INDUSTRY Dr Margaret Park, Regional Group Leader, Animal Justice Party, South Coast read by Sue Frazer
Madam Mayor, Councillors, staff and members of the public. I am Sue Frazer speaking on behalf of Margaret Park on motion number 18/006. Thank you for the opportunity to address council and to Clr McGinlay for raising this important issue. As the local representative of the Animal Justice Party, I wholeheartedly and firmly support the views expressed in the motion and the means by which we can work towards ending the live animal export trade, including the establishment of an Independent Office of Animal Welfare.
We’ve all heard the saying – “Think Globally, Act Locally”, this is attributed to the great Scottish Town Planner, Patrick Geddes, to ensure that town planning relates directly to those living within villages and towns, and how decisions that are made for us, affect all of us. These words have relevance still.
I stress, especially to those who may doubt why we should encourage a local government response, that we are ‘Thinking Nationally, Acting Locally’. By acting locally and stating that we want to effect change to this cruel and inhumane practice, we must start at the local level. The Animal Justice Party is a companionship of people against cruelty to animals. We are a voice for animals in a political sphere where there was once only silence and at best, ignorance.
I urge you, as our local representatives, to make this difference by writing to the federal government as outlined in this motion. If local councils nation-wide represented the number of Australians who stand against the live export trade, the general consensus is that you would be representing 80% of the local population.
Just as many of us who remain outraged, upset and appalled by the 60 minutes Live Export Expose wrote to our local federal members, you too can and should add your significant voice by writing to the federal government advocating for change. Hearing the news on a daily basis, we know that many politicians in government now and from the past, at local, state and federal levels, are standing up, and like Sussan Ley (MP) has said, ‘calling time’ on this sordid business. At the state level, Mark Pearson, Animal Justice Party (MLC) in the NSW Upper House, has repeatedly advocated to stop the live export and for the introduction of an independent regulator for animal welfare.
Thousands upon thousands of people are enraged and impassioned. This deplorable industry is of no benefit to anyone – certainly not to the animals, or to the farmers who entrust their animals to the exporter, nor to the nation as a whole. So many people I have spoken with over the last two weeks have commented on how “UnAustralian” it is.
I know this because last week I volunteered, alongside others, to gather petition signatures at the Village Centre, Batemans Bay. Over 250 people signed the ‘Animals Australia’ and ‘Animal Justice Party’ petition.
Many expressed their horror and anger at how long this trade has been allowed to continue. How many governments have come and gone, and what has been done to transition this trade away from live export to a humane method of exporting meat. We talked with people from a wide cross section of our local community and at all stages of life. We all know how many politicians, animal advocates, supporters and activists, investigative journalists and distressed ordinary citizens have been attempting to bring this hidden and ugly secret into a clearer and more public view.
You may be surprised to hear that the voice of a retired meat processing worker was the first to sign. He wanted to see the end of this diabolical business and a return to what he called the home-grown meat processing industry. We spoke to farmers and those who work with animals. All signed with one voice to enact this moral change and to do it now.
Some people walked by, no time to stop, not wishing to sign, and this is expected in our busy modern world. One person, when asked “had they seen the footage on TV” said “Yes, but it has nothing to do with me”.
But is has everything to do with us as people, as human beings, as an ethical and more humane society, as a nation acting nationally … and as citizens thinking how we can effect change for the good … beginning … here, now, locally.
Thank you for your time.