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MEDIA RELEASE: Tasman Bridge Response

Animal Liberation Tasmania Media Response

Following today’s action on the Tasman Bridge, Animal Liberation Tasmania (ALT) would like to both issue a formal apology to the public, and clarify a few points that have been stated in the media, which are false representations of the motivation behind the presence on the Tasman Bridge today.

It has been stated that ALT members blocked a lane of traffic. This is incorrect. At no point did ALT ever intend to block or disrupt traffic. There were two activists harnessed on to overhanging signage hanging up a banner, and 20-30 in the walkway on one side of the bridge. No members of ALT were ever on, or intending to move onto, the road in any of the lanes.

When police arrived they approached an ALT spokesperson and instructed that the two hanging the banner must come down, and then proceeded to close a lane. Lane closure has not happened in previous actions of a similar nature, and so was unprecedented. Once established that the lane was going to be shut and disrupt traffic, the two activists complied with police and immediately attempted to descend in the same way they ascended, which had caused no traffic disruptions, however the ladder that was used for their ascent had been removed by officials on the bridge. This caused an unnecessary delay in which traffic continued to bank up. Given one of the activists was told that a lane need not have been closed had they immediately climbed down, it begs the question why the ladder was removed. At no point during this process was it necessary for any members of ALT to be in the lane that was closed, making the closure redundant.

ALT understands that no matter the original intention, the outcome of this caused a large number of people huge inconveniences, and sincerely apologises for that. Every precaution was taken in the preparation of this event so this exact outcome was avoided. Unfortunately, this did not end up being the case.

ALT would also like to remind everyone about the importance of the issue that they were raising awareness for. Last week, for the 12th time in the last four years, an Australian slaughterhouse was exposed and shocking footage of animal cruelty brought to the attention of the relevant regulatory body. Following this release, chief scientist of the RSPCA national body Bidda Jones, head of RSPCA Tasmania Peter West, Independent MP Andrew Wilkie and Greens MP Andrea Dawkins have all called for the facility (Gretna Quality Meats) to be shut down, at least while there is an ongoing investigation. Despite this, the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment has allowed owner, Mr. Michael Munnings, to continue operating. Considering there are clear breaches of guidelines, faulty equipment and improper training of workers, Animal Liberation Tasmania is extremely concerned this place is still allowed to kill animals. The idea for choosing this location and time was to raise as much awareness as possible about the systemic and widespread cruelty involved in the slaughter of animals, and to point out that authorities can not be trusted to protect these animals while they have a vested interest in industry. Instead, what has consistently shut down these places in recent years has been public opposition.

“ALT is very sorry for the inconvenience caused to people today, as blocking lanes of traffic was never our intention and we did not believe it would be necessary if we complied with the police,” says spokesperson, Mehr Gupta. “We hope people can see past this, and understand the gravity of the issue we are trying to raise awareness for and why this called for what people may consider drastic action. If anyone was angered by our approach today, we ask that they watch the footage on and see why we are angered everyday by the unnecessary suffering of millions of animals because people are not aware it is occurring, and that they are contributing to it.”