The truth about Australian animal welfare

There’s a few questions arising from the Weekly Times article re the withdrawal of Animal’s Australia’s ‘Make it possible’ fundraising bags from Coles supermarkets:

  • What does Animals Australia’s Lyn White mean by her threat ‘we’re about to push hard on the accelerator’. More illegally installed surveillance cameras, like the one found at the piggery near Young (NSW), followed by ”creative” film editing, followed by another unquestioned splash on ABC’s 7.30 Report, 4 Corners or Tony Jones’s Lateline?  Sounds very much like Lyn’s animal rights extremist organisation is already sitting on footage again, just waiting to release it when they believe they can achieve the highest emotive response from the general public unaware of the full facts.
  • Exactly what relationship does Animals Australia and Coles have with Australian chef but now US-based Curtis Stone? He’s employed to do PR for Coles, but must have a foot in both camps, because he’s also a supporter of Meat Free Monday (which Animals Australia is associated with, along with the Fry Family – makers of – wait for it – artificial (vegan) meat.  (Although the latest recipe Curtis Stone supplied the website contains salami…so not sure what the go is there, because last time I looked, salami was made from meat).
  • Does Coles’s statement “… concerned the (actually meaning ‘our’) good work with our farmer suppliers in the pork and chicken industries would be over shadowed by farmer reaction to the Animals Australia campaign on live cattle exports and has therefore agreed with the offer to withdraw its shopping bags” sound immensely patronising to you, or is it just me? Like farmers need big brother Coles to tell them how to raise livestock, because they are less than competent?
  • And are Coles management really so blind they truly believe Animals Australia work to ban live exports is the only rural front they’ve been working on, apart from intensive livestock raising? Animals Australia are campaigning on a multitude of fronts; chipping away one piece at a time. For example, working on abolishing rodeos by placing direct pressure on sponsors to withdraw financial support for these rural social events.  Such as K-Mart pulling out of Mt Isa Rodeo sponsorship, which Animals Australia claimed success for on their website.  Animals Australia have a long list of aims – with the eventual outcome clearly being the abolition of meat-eating and livestock industries, and are working patiently to a carefully thought-out plan.
  • “Ms Kelly said up until close of business yesterday, Coles had received thousands of supportive Facebook posts and hundreds of individual e mails supporting its campaign”.  Thousands of facebook posts? Really? And they’re all from Australians? And hundreds of “individual” emails?  All from real people, living in Australia?  Excuse my scepticism, but I’ve seen many of how many animal rights activists operate on twitter. Many if not most operate anonymous (troll) accounts, often more than one. When one account is suspended they simply move on to another. And there are webs of animal rights extremist accounts set up to send out automated spam.
  • (Lyn) White “said she asked Coles to remove the shopping bags because she believed a vicious political assault had been unleashed.  The rural lobby led by the National Farmers’ Federation has mounted a very ugly attack on Coles and its parent company Wesfarmers.” Lyn nice try; but it was farmers and people who aren’t farmers (like myself) who spoke out against Coles supporting the fundraising for an animal rights extremist organisation that has done nothing positive to help Australian animal welfare (in fact, quite the reverse).  This was NOT “led” by the NFF.  And Lyn if you want to see ‘vicious’ then your first port of call should be Facebook and Twitter accounts for members of Animals Australia. The vitriol emanating from these people is unsurpassed by anything any farmer has ever said.  Trying to turn yourself into a victim is a very unconvincing act!
  • Lyn White again: “These are the animals that the National Farmers Federation doesn’t want anyone to see, they don’t even want them to be seen on a shopping bag.” Sorry Lyn, but I’ve actually never seen a real pig with wings…nor unicorns or dragons. Only in fairytale books.  So ‘animal’ isn’t quite the right term, is it.  Plenty of (real) animal photographs are plastered all over the social media accounts of people associated with agriculture, plus websites such as this one. So claiming associates of Australian livestock industries don’t want anyone to see images of real animals, is simply ridiculous.

This is what Australia needs:

  • Something currently very rare: intelligent, big-picture animal welfare organisations that a) care about ALL animals – including native species;  b) understand feral animals such as cats, foxes and rabbits are devastating native animal populations and they must be controlled to avoid more species extinctions, and c) the web of life is complicated, looking at animals (eg feral camels and donkeys) without examining the rest of the environment (eg weed species, land and climate, efficient & sustainable food production etc) and realistic economics is foolish. The environment as a whole plus budgetary constraints must be considered and understood before policies are settled on and action taken.
  • Animal welfare organisations who recognise that livestock owners care about animals too; so pooling resources and working in partnership with Australian producers could achieve great results for the benefit of all; for example, improving animal handling standards in countries we currently export cattle and sheep to, and helping safeguard native animal species from extinction – not by taking country out of primary production, but working in conjunction with producers (eg in relation to fencing and watering points, and access by genuine researchers).
  • Full time, paid staff collating every scrap of information available on what the extremist animal welfare organisations have done in the past, with a view to helping predict the future.  There’s a pattern to the behaviour and it’s not pretty. The most recent ugliness was the discovery of illegally installed surveillance equipment in a NSW piggery.
  • Australians need to be smart enough to do some basic checking themselves. For example, read up the list of Animals Australia member organisations and ‘achievements’ before deciding whether donating is a good idea or not.  Is anyone really so stupid that they think organisations like ‘Vegetarian Victoria’ are going to sit back and be happy if live export and intensive animal raising are banned?  That would be naive in the extreme! It’s just another rung down the bottom of their very long ladder.
  • Australia needs a thorough audit of every single registered charity. Those that do no hands-on community work, such as Animals Australia, should be stripped of their charitable status – so they’re paying tax.  This provides more money for the organisations that are doing some obvious good on a practical front, rather than simply throwing big rocks from the comfort of their armchairs.
  • Erroneous statements such as ‘meat eating harms the environment’ must not continue to remain unchallenged by anyone who knows the truth.
  • Celebrities – whether singers, actors, chefs or sportspeople who support animal rights extremist campaigns such as ‘Meat Free Monday’ and ‘Meat Free Week’ must be asked the hard questions about why they believe a day or week without meat is a good idea.  Such as Maggie Beer. Why does someone like Maggie Beer, well respected by many Australians and well-known meat cook, decide that supporting a vegan-driven campaign is a good idea?  Why are no journalists asking her, and other high-profile supporters, for details behind their decision?  (A list of people involved in these campaigns is in an earlier blog post.)  These people are making decisions based on misinformation.  Everybody effects the planet; Australians eating sustainably produced food from all 5 food groups are actually having a less deleterious effect on the environment than people who avoid grass-fed meat.
  • We need more objective media, rather than editors simply publishing media releases from agenda-driven organisations, without questioning the statistics and opinions stated in them.
  • Australian food producers need to take to social media en-masse to tell their stories firsthand, without being filtered through mainstream media. Every single authentic voice has a positive effect on the world.
  • Australian farmers makes choices in favour of conserving the environment and improving animal welfare on a daily basis. These decisions are such second nature, that very few people are even aware they’re making them. Farmers need to become conscious of all the great work they are choosing to do to look after the environment and animals (both domestic livestock and native species) and make sure they tell the world about it.  It’s interesting to note how many Irish and UK farmers have ‘farmer’ and ‘love wildlife’ etc in their Twitter account bio. Australian farmers must better explain what they care about too!
  • Australians need to understand that it’s not what type of food it is that matters most; it’s how sustainably and ethically it has been produced.

Fundamentally; anyone can click an online petition or rattle off a few words on Facebook or Twitter. Conservation measures and the highest standards of animal welfare, in our rapidly urbanising society, means the cost of produce rises.  Unfortunately, when when it comes to parting with a bit more cash, most people won’t put their money where their mouths are.

A floor manager in a supermarket I visited recently, said this when I asked him if they had any free-range roast chooks (which cost a few dollars more): ‘oh we only do four of those a day. Hmmph – and we’re lucky if we have one person a day asking for one. Usually we end up discounting them.’



Tags: , , , ,