Animal Liberation Tasmania (ALT) has once again taken to the streets of Hobart in response to footage released two and a half weeks ago by Animal Liberation New South Wales, exposing horrific cruelty at a Tasmanian slaughterhouse, Gretna Quality Meats. Following the controversial Tasman Bridge protest, activists are engaging in another peaceful protest, this time outside the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE), in order to highlight the inaction by the regulatory body that is supposed to be responsible for the protection of animals that go through this facility.
A number of white crosses have been spread out on the ground outside DPIPWE for the animals who have suffered, and are still suffering, at this facility due to the failure of the Department to act, despite clear evidence of the violence that is occurring there. Activists are holding a banner with the URL where this evidence can be viewed, as well as stills of the footage and quotes from the slaughterhouse owner, Mr. Michael Munnings and Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Mr. Jeremy Rockliff.
These quotes include references to the slaughterhouse operating by the code, and that there is a robust regulatory process in place, which includes regular inspections of these types of facilities. However a report by chief scientist of RSPCA Australia, Bidda Jones, has stated a number of “key failings” that are occurring at this facility. Some, such as the overt cruelty to animals, can be clearly seen on the undercover video footage released. Others, such as inappropriate and failing equipment, should have been picked up during regular inspections of the facility by DPIPWE, before this footage was even released. All show that the system that is currently in place is failing those who it is designed to protect.
RSPCA Tasmania currently has a Memorandum of Understanding with DPIPWE, so they cannot take over the investigation into the Gretna facility. However, any member of the public can prosecute in Tasmania, and if the Department fails to prosecute this facility, ALT believes the RSPCA should take on this role. Failing this, ALT will look into other options.
“There is evidence to suggest DPIPWE have overlooked failings of the facility during past inspections thinking no one would find out, and that they are currently overlooking the exposed cruelty thinking no one will care. However Animal Liberation Tasmania, as well as many members of the community, do care, and will go to every effort to ensure protection for the animals DPIPWE is failing”, says spokesperson for Animal Liberation Tasmania, Mehr Gupta. “The Department should be embarrassed by how they have failed in regards to this facility”.