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Artist Contribution: Hazel Alger

When I created the original artwork, as an eight-piece installation telling the brief tale of a meal in progress, my aim was to explore themes of tradition, complacency, and giving non-human animal exploitation a physical identity. Viewing it now, however, it invokes new and different thought processes in me.

Revisiting the piece two years onwards, rather than further delving into my thoughts on it’s original intentions, I’d like to offer it to the audience solely as a thinking point.

In my opinion, whatever you find in it, whatever it makes you ponder upon – if anything at all – turns it into a brand new work, as much yours as mine. In essence, make what you will of it.

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GOVERNMENT INACTION ON DUCK SEASON? NO SURPRISES THERE…

Animal Liberation Tasmania are appalled but unsurprised by the revelations that advice from the Principal Wildlife Management Officer to close eight key sites for the duck slaughter season of 2020 was likely ignored by the minister, Guy Barnett.

Duck killers leaving their hide, Moulting Lagoon 2018

The inadvertently released minutes from earlier this year advised that due to extreme drought on the mainland and the transitory nature of wild duck populations between Tasmania and the mainland, the Tasmanian Liberal Government should adopt strategies in line with those taken in other states in order to reduce impacts on populations by the slaughter. The drought has significantly decreased wetland habitats across eastern Australia (including Tasmania) resulting in large numbers of wild ducks seeking refuge in the state.

The department advised the following reserves be closed for the duration of the season:
• Moulting Lagoon Game Reserve
• Lake Tiberias Game Reserve
• Farm Cove Game Reserve
• Brushy Lagoon Conservation Area
• Lake Crescent Public Reserve
• North East River Game Reserve
• Waterhouse Conservation Area
• Cameron Regional Reserve
The department did not advise reducing bag limits due to the bureaucratic logistics of amending the regulations. A reduced season was likewise not recommended.

As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, many of these sites were closed to the public, including to duck shooters, as well as lands managed by Hydro Tasmania and STT. Killing on private land and under crop protection permits was allowed, however the minutes advised farmers with CPPs to deter rather than kill wild ducks where possible.

Primary Industries Department Secretary Tom Baker has claimed the minutes were not provided to the minister by his department, and in comment has sought to absolve the minister of any and all responsibility for the failure to act on this advice.

However Cassy O’Connor of the Greens has stated that it is unlikely the minister did not see the minutes, and if he did not then it was likely deliberate. Based on our interactions with the Tasmanian Liberal Government on matters relating to non-human animals over the years, which have been largely met with either dismissal or outright hostility, we concur.

Irrespective of drought conditions or bird numbers, the recreational slaughter of wild ducks is a cruel and exploitative activity that has no place in a modern and progressive society. We will continue to oppose the slaughter by whatever means necessary.

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NOTICE OF AGM POSTPONEMENT

Due to circumstances beyond our control we are postponing the AGM until the 18/7/2020, to be held at 12:30pm at a venue to be announced.

All are welcome, however please be advised that in order to vote or nominate for positions persons are required to be a member. Please visit al-tas.org to join.

In order to follow public health and safety requirements we ask individuals to wear a mask and abide by social distancing; hand sanitiser will be available on arrival.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the postponement.

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Comments: Ten Mile Enterprises Abattoir, Scottsdale

Comments regarding the proposed Scottsdale Pork Abattoir, Ten Mile Enterprises, Daniel Unwin (Application No. 51/2020)

To the General Manager,
We write in objection to the construction of the proposed abattoir by Ten Mile Enterprises and seek clarification on a specific operational matter. Our concerns and objections are as follows.

1. Environmental Impact Statement for Abattoir (p.3) states volume of slaughter to be 120 pigs per day, operating five days per week. The Wastewater Reuse Feasibility Assessment (App. B, p. iv) states volume of slaughter to be 100 pigs per day with an additional capacity for a further 50 pigs per day, 6 days per week. Clarification is required as regards the proposed operational days and the volume of slaughter as there is a significant difference between 600 pigs per week and a potential 1000 per week and the associated impacts.

2. Two active Wedge-tailed Eagle nests have been identified north east of the site within 800 m of the construction platform. Wedge-tailed Eagles are listed as endangered and will not nest in areas with an increased human population or activity. The species are known to be shy nesters and will potentially desert nests if exposed to the elevated levels of disturbance associated with construction and development. Once the facility is established the noise levels associated with the operation of the slaughterhouse, including increased volume of large vehicles transporting pigs to slaughter or collecting the product and the 2 to 4 tons of waste matter per day (to be collected by Western Tiers Proteins for rendering) will potentially jeopardise continued usage of the nesting sites. The construction of the facility will also occur during the height of the Wedge-tailed Eagle breeding season posing a potential disruption to the courtship displays, laying and nesting of the birds who will utilise the afore-mentioned nesting sites. The sudden disturbance in the area relating to construction and ongoing operations may result in an endangered species being prevented from breeding. The rights of these birds to maintain existing nesting sites and engage in breeding undisturbed must be given precedence over the proposed project.

3. The Great Forester River runs along the northern boundary of the property. This river is a known habitat for the threatened Duck-billed Platypus and the endangered Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Crayfish. Both species have been negatively affected by habitat degradation caused by industry including animal agriculture. The Freshwater Lobster Recovery Plan of 2006/2010 identified the Great Forester River as containing good habitat quality and good populations of this unique species, and the Tasmania Platypus Management Plan listed agricultural threats to platypuses including fecal contamination resulting in degraded aquatic habitats. The development application lists various strategies designed to minimise the impacts of run off on animal and plant species, however the risk of runoff especially during construction is considered apparent. Given the status and the fragility of these species any and all developments that elevate potential risks must be considered unacceptable for the area irrespective of the theoretical mitigation plans.

4. A key component of the proposal is the perceived higher welfare standards to be incorporated into the facility design and welfare outcomes associated with shorter travel distances. However there appears to be a significant flaw as regards travel distances as the facility will also be utilised by pig producers across the state. Whilst those pigs killed for Scottsdale Pork will no longer be subjected to hours-long journeys to slaughter, hundreds more per week from other businesses will now be subjected to extensive travel times. The establishment of this facility does not prevent the compromising of animal welfare via travel times, it merely relocates the destination.

5. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention 6 in every 10 known infectious diseases affecting humans are spread through contact with non-human animals, and 3 in every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in humans come from contact with non-human animals. The potentially catastrophic impacts on the human community by zoonotic diseases is currently demonstrated by the ongoing covid-19 pandemic. This is compounded by the recent discovery of a new strain of influenza amongst pigs farmed for their flesh in China that has spread to humans and has been recognised by researchers as having the potential to cause another pandemic. The construction of a new pig slaughterhouse in Tasmania expands the opportunity for producers to breed more pigs for slaughter thus increasing herd numbers and the potential for disease outbreaks to occur that could pose a significant threat to public health and safety. In the current climate it would be irresponsible of any government body to approve of a plan with these associated risks.

6. Finally we must question the fundamental ethics of constructing a new facility dedicated to the killing of sentient beings in Tasmania. According to figures taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia slaughters well in excess of 600 million non-human land animals every year. This violence is often hidden behind claims of better welfare standards. The development application by Ten Mile Enterprises appeals to notions of improved standards of slaughter in an attempt to humane-wash an industry that by necessity relies upon the infliction of violence against unwilling victims. As Dinesh Wadiwel (The War Against Animals) states:
“The scale by which we kill and harm animals would seem to confirm that our relationship with animals is combative or at least focused upon producing harm and death.”
This project will only serve to increase the capacity for producers in the state to kill animals, and as such stands as a sad indictment on our dysfunctional relationship with all animals.

We thank you for your consideration of our comments in opposition to the proposed Ten Mile Enterprises project.


Regards,
Animal Liberation Tasmania

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SCOTTSDALE PORK: THE HUMANE-WASHING OF KILLING CONTINUES

Humane (adj.): marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals.
Humane-washing (verb): the act of appealing to notions of that which is humane as a marketing strategy.

Scottsdale Pork are proposing the construction of a $2.5 million pig slaughterhouse at Springfield in the state’s north-east. The facility will have the capacity to kill at least 1000 pigs per week, producing an estimated 9 tonnes of pig flesh per day and 2-4 tonnes of organic waste including fecal matter and organic solids such as offal (the latter to be on-sold to Western Tiers Proteins rendering plant).

It is frequently said that nothing that happens in a slaughterhouse can ever be truly considered humane. However this does not stop businesses such as Scottsdale Pork from appealing to the broader community’s concerns for animal welfare as a means to package their product in a more appealing manner and to justify a premium price. Their website is glossy and picturesque, using phrases such as “paddock-bred”, “nourished and sheltered”, “eco-shelter” after which they encourage visitors to their website to “taste the difference”; by connecting higher “welfare” standards with the taste of the product itself, the company simultaneously cuts out the crucial step of slaughter, a reality which consumers rarely wish to confront. The pigs themselves are relegated to being a product.

In proposing this slaughterhouse, Scottsdale Pork have had to lay bare to interested members of the public the truth of the inner workings of a slaughterhouse. As part of the development application the full process for the slaughtering of the pigs, from unloading to killing, from scalding to packaging, has had to be detailed thus opening the processes to public scrutiny. The proposed method of stunning will be the electrocution of restrained pigs, who will then be tipped onto a conveyor belt where their throats will be cut (sticking) and they will be bled out before entering the scalding tank. It makes for harrowing reading.

Even here the company has attempted to present this process through a “humane” lens. Included in the proposal is a short paragraph detailing the considerations made for animal welfare. These include the design of the facility, the density of pigs in the holding pens, and the monitoring of stress through the levels of squealing observed. There is a vague reference to Scottsdale Pork’s “understanding” of humane handling practices, followed by claims the company will “consider the recommendations of the US livestock handling specialist Temple Grandin” in the design (note: they do not commit to actually implementing these recommendations, they will merely “consider” them).

Temple Grandin is best known for her work in redesigning slaughterhouses to minimise stress in non-human animals. She has asserted that it is ethically acceptable to use animals, so long as it s “done right.” However, Grandin has also stated that there are no differences between the core emotional systems in the brains of humans and non-human animals, exposing a glaring contradiction in even her conceptualisation of a “humane” slaughterhouse.

According to Scottsdale Pork, the holding pens will not be filled to capacity, thus the pigs will be able to turn around. But where will they turn to? They will still be goaded, potentially through the use of electrified prods, into a restraint to be electrocuted and then killed. Nor do claims of higher animal welfare due to shorter travelling distances hold water; the proposed facility will be used to provide a “reliable and efficient kill service for all pig producers.” (Development Application, P. 19). It is not exclusively for pigs bred and raised at the Scottsdale Pork farm; whilst the pigs they use will experience shorter travel times to slaughter, others across the state will not.

At the end of the day, for all the talk of welfare and ethics, the Ten Mile Track facility is just another medium-volume animal killing factory. The efficacy of the processes utilised will be wholly dependent upon human application and subject to human error. And as we have seen in the past, when human error (or outright maliciousness) in slaughterhouses leads to violations of animal welfare regulations, government departments are disinclined to act. Indeed, the Tasmanian Liberal government is more inclined towards funding the expansion of animal exploitation industries than investigating where necessary.

The Ten Mile Track proposal is not the state-of-the-art humane facility the proponents have attempted to promote it as. It is simply another addition to the increasingly successful humane-washing of an industry that is wholly dependent upon the negation of the inherent rights of non-human animals and the violent taking of their lives.

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A GUIDE TO WRITING A SUBMISSION ON DEVELOPMENT APPLICATIONS

Government authorities will consider any and all comments received for development proposals. However those which address specific aspects of a proposal in a methodical and reasoned manner will be considered in a higher regard than those that are based purely on emotions.

If you do intend to submit comments to the Dorset Council regarding the Ten Mile Enterprises proposal for a pig slaughterhouse, please read the following guidelines we have prepared to give you an appropriate framework.

1. Include your full name and contact details, with the understanding that submissions may be made publicly available. If there is information you would rather remain private, make sure to state this clearly with your submission.

2. State the title of the proposal, the business and the business owner. Eg: Scottsdale Pork Abattoir, Ten Mile Enterprises, Daniel Unwin.

3. Define which aspects of the proposal you are opposed to or have concerns regarding. Eg: proposed method of stunning/slaughter, impacts of fecal ponds and irrigation on surrounding waterways/forests and flora/fauna, creation/storage and cartage of one tonne of offal per day.

4. If you identify any inconsistencies within the development application, request they be addressed. Eg: operating times, slaughter capacity.

5. Do include your objections on the basis of non-human animal rights, clearly defining the differences between rights and welfarism; Ten Mile Enterprises have stated clearly in the development application that “animal welfare” is of importance to their project, including references to Temple Grandin. However do try to be factual rather than emotive.

6. Submit your comments to dorset@dorset.tas.gov.au by end of business 10/7/2020.

Thank you for taking the time to voice your objections to the creation of yet another killing facility in lutruwita/tasmania. Together we can show there is strong opposition across the broader community to this proposal and future proposals of this nature.

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NOTICE OF AGM

Animal Liberation Tasmania welcomes interested parties to the 2020 AGM.

Date and time: 11/7/2020 @ 12:30pm

Location to be announced (central nipaluna/hobart area). Meeting will be held in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

Please note: only current members are able to vote or nominate for positions. Visit this page to update/register as a member.