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Animal Exploitation & Religious Bigotry: your taxpayer dollars at work

Earlier this year Animal Liberation Tasmania encouraged the community to send submissions to the Dorset Council in opposition to the proposed pig killing factory to be constructed by Scottsdale Pork owned by Roger Unwin. On October 28 it was announced that the Tasmanian Liberal Government had approved a $2million grant towards the costs of the $3million project (Gutwein, 2020). This alone would be bad enough; the conversion of public taxpayer funds to private funds by government to the benefit of private enterprise is problematic in itself. However, as it transpires, this pig killing operation (potentially including the construction company who may have been hired to build the facility) is owned and operated by members of the Exclusive Brethren.

On November 23 Cassy O’Connor questioned premier Peter Gutwein over the grant. She asked “how can you explain such a substantial grant to an Exclusive Brethren figure who owns a company that does not pay taxes [?]” (O’Connor, 2020). Ms. O’Connor’s assertion that as an Exclusive Brethren owned business Scottsdale Pork does not pay taxes was not refuted by any member of the house. Nevertheless, the company has been granted $2million in taxpayer funding for their private enterprise and future profits.

The grant was approved by Michael Ferguson MP and Guy Barnett MP (2020). In 2007 it was revealed that Ferguson had sponsored two elders from the Exclusive Brethren to have access as lobbyists to ministers and back benchers of the then Howard government (Bachelard, 2007).

In 2008 Roger Unwin placed inflammatory and hateful half-page adverts in multiple newspapers targeting the Greens over their support for the LGBTQI+ community, claiming that progressive policies in support for gay, transgender and intersex rights would destroy families and society (Star Observer, 2008). As O’Connor noted in her questions to the premier, the Exclusive Brethren believe that girls should not receive an education (O’Connor, 2020). And yet this is a company the Tasmanian Liberals believe are deserving of public funds, diverting $2million away from pressing social projects to religious bigots who stand against the rights of women and the LGBTQI+ community. Imagine what $2million would mean for any one of the many underfunded public schools in this state. And somehow, the products made from the flesh of pigs slaughtered by members of this religious sect adorn the shelves of numerous Tasmanian grocers as a specialty product. When you buy Scottsdale Pork products you are paying for them twice, as a consumer and as a taxpayer. And you are funding not only animal exploitation but also religious bigotry.

The company contracted to construct the Scottsdale Pork processing facility in 2016 is owned by a member of the Exclusive Brethren. On their website Bison Pty Ltd state: “Bison Constructions Pty Ltd works closely with the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (PBCC) [the Exclusive Brethren] to improve the lives of our members and as well as the wider communities in which they operate.” (Bison Constructions, 2016). Publicly disclosed details of the construction company contracted to build the new killing factory are not available online at this time.

Animal Liberation Tasmania would have always opposed the construction of a new killing factory in Tasmania. The exploitation and slaughter of other animals should never be sanctioned. But we also stand with the human community, with the LGBTQI+ community and with women and girls affected by misogyny and religious bigotry. And we stand against the funneling of public funds into private enterprises built upon violence towards other animals and humans (both in deed and in word) by conservative politicians who have a documented history with said religious groups.

Remember this, when next you consider buying pig flesh from Scottsdale Pork. You are not only harming other animals; you are harming us all.

Star Adviser (2008). Tasmanian protest against anti-gay ads. http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/national-news/new-south-wales-news/protest-over-tasmanian-antigay-ads/9615

Bachelard, M. (2007). Two MPs sponsor Brethren lobbyists. http://www.theage.com.au/national/two-mps-sponsor-brethren-lobbyists-20071015-ge61wp.html

Gutwein, P. (2020). We’re keeping Tasmanian pork on your fork. http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/site_resources_2015/additional_releases/mersey_emergency_department_to_reopen_247/covid_safety_plans_crucial_for_businesses_moving_forward/were_keeping_tasmanian_pork_on_your_fork

Bison Construction (2016). Pork processing facility project. http://www.bisonconstructions.com.au/projects/pork-processing-facility

O’Connor, C. (2020). Treasury – Exclusive Brethren. http://www.tasmps.greens.org.au/parliament/treasury-exclusive-brethren