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Talking Point Response (Animal Liberation Tasmania) “We’ll stop – if Industry agrees to transparency” – Animal activists

Animal Liberation Tasmania would like to offer a formal comment to address statements made by Jan Davis in her opinion piece, Protest without breaking the law. (Talking Point, The Mercury, August 16).

 

Firstly, much of this opinion piece is centred around the theme of “what about the children.” This is despite there not being one single recorded case of a child encountering an investigative activist inside a piggery, battery farm or slaughterhouse, nor of an activist entering a farmer’s home. Indeed, the media and community outrage should such a thing ever occur would not only be deafening, it would be justified.

 

What has been recorded, however, are hundreds of individual and collective acts of animal cruelty within these facilities. Aussiefarms.org.au contains files, images and footage from 14 slaughterhouses, over 40 piggeries, 12 broiler chicken farms, four egg farms and hatcheries, two rabbit farms, two duck farms and one turkey farm. Two of those slaughterhouses listed are local Tasmanian operators, Gretna Meatworks and Tasmanian Quality Meats in Cressy.

This is irrefutable evidence of animal cruelty within the animal production and slaughtering industries, adding to an extensive body of evidence collected over decades of activist-led investigations.

 

Ms. Davis also raises the concern of disease transmission. Again, there has been no case in which a disease outbreak in an animal agricultural facility has been attributed to activists.

Furthermore, countless investigations have uncovered the filthy conditions farmed animals are often forced to endure, examples of which can be seen on the Aussie Farms website. Perhaps Ms. Davis should take her concerns over disease transmission to the producers themselves, who allow this poor animal husbandry to occur despite it being a known risk factor for disease outbreaks.

 

One thing Ms. Davis is correct about is her assertion that farmers and abattoirs are facing increased scrutiny by activists and protesters. This is because consumers deserve to know the truth. Not the “truth” promoted by the industries themselves, with happy animal labelling, slick TV adverts and online campaigns. Not the “truth” that promotes the increased consumption of animal products through industry-funded research.

 

The actual truth.

 

Animal agricultural practices necessitate cruelty to animals at the most fundamental level. And as we have too often seen, the regulations that are supposedly designed with animal welfare in mind are frequently applied loosely, or are entirely ignored with flagrant disregard, even in the presence of on-site CCTV cameras.

 

Ms Davis emphasises her trust in the law, however it has been proven time and again that approaching the police, DPI or RSPCA are not effective methods to addressing issues of animal cruelty within these facilities. First, much of that which is uncovered is industry standard practice, and as such would not be of interest to the relevant authorities. In fact, not only are many of these practices legal, they are endorsed by the RSPCA as being “humane” or at least “less cruel” than other options. Furthermore, when breaches are uncovered, there is no penalty for the perpetrators.

Taking Tasmania as a specific example, the DPI has utterly failed to act on the allegations of animal cruelty at Gretna Meatworks (October 2016) and Tasmanian Quality Meats (December 2016). Indeed, it is looking increasingly likely that no action whatsoever is to be taken, despite clear breaches of the Animal Welfare Act (1993) being documented. And RSPCA Tasmania cannot investigate cases of this size and nature, due to their Memorandum of Understanding with the DPI.

 

This leaves us with the consumer, as Ms. Davis so rightly points out, as being the most effective motivator for change. But how can the consumer trust an industry that operates behind closed doors? How are they able to make informed choices based only on information provided to them by an industry with a vested interest in maintaining continued consumption? Lack of industry transparency is the reason this discussion is needed to be had at all.

 

It is too easy to forget that at the heart of all this are the animals. The 700 million who face the knife in Australia annually, and the millions more who are kept for laying or breeding purposes in facilities across Australia. Beings who despite their proven ability to think, feel and suffer (as acknowledged by the very existence of welfare regulations) are regarded as little more than units of production, profit margins and barcodes.

 

Ms Davis reassures us that society will progress such that what activists protest now will one day not be acceptable, but how can she imagine this will happen if she wants the very catalyst of this progression to be stopped?

Activists and protesters will continue to advocate not only for the welfare of these animals, but for their inherent rights. Not out of any misguided sense of legal impunity or maliciousness towards farmers, and certainly not for any financial gain. But because no one else is taking their lives and voices into consideration.

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The Melbourne Cup

As everyone would know, today Australia celebrates the race that stops a nation, the Melbourne Cup.

We could talk about Red Cadeaux, Admire Rakti, Araldo and Verema, the four horses whose lives were ended at the last three Melbourne Cups.

We could talk about the 132 lesser known horses killed on track between August 1 2015 and July 31 2016 alone.

We could talk about the thousands of horses linked to the racing industry whose lives are ended in knackeries around Australia, mere wastage from an inherently wasteful industry. Horses like Nature’s Child, whose gruesome end was uncovered by an investigation into Laverton knackery in 2012.

We could talk about the shockingly high rate of Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage (bleeding into the lungs, throat and in extreme cases sinuses) uncovered in a University of Melbourne study, with a staggering 90% of horses showing signs of EIPH post-race.

We could talk about the strain placed on the still developing bodies of two-year-old horses being trained and raced, leading to increased risks of potentially fatal injury and illness later in their lives.

We could talk about the ethics of Australians spending millions of dollars on gambling and alcohol to watch these animals being whipped around a track at breakneck speed, merely for our own personal entertainment.

Instead, we will wish for all the horses (and their riders) to come through today’s race unscathed, and hope they are all fortunate enough to never see the inside of a knackery.

And we remind you all that when you support the races, when you place your bets, you are literally gambling with the lives of sentient beings who deserve so much better than what most of the animals used by the animal exploitation industries will receive.

www.horseracingkills.com

www.animal-lib.org.au/…/animals-for-enterta…/horse-racing

www.horseracingkills.com/undercover-knackery-invest…

www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/horse_racing.php

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Why Were We There? WARNING: Graphic content.

In the lead up to yesterday morning’s action on the Tasman Bridge, Animal Liberation Tasmania worked hard to address its concerns over investigative video footage, released by Animal Liberation NSW, via official channels.

Our spokesperson made contact with police, who in a brief dismissive comment directed us to the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE). When contact was finally able to be made with the department, Tuesday’s (18/10/2016) killings had already gone ahead.

We were informed the Department had someone present for this slaughter, but we have to question the reasoning behind making observations based on an operator who will be on their best behavior while under investigation. The proof is not in his actions moving forward, but what occurred while he was under the impression no one was watching.

This is what disturbs and enrages us, and should stir these emotions in you also.

Why was this facility allowed to continue operating?

The RSPCA called for the immediate closure of this slaughterhouse following the release of footage which exposed severe animal cruelty. RSPCA chief science and strategy officer Bidda Jones said the video was sickening to watch and called for the facility to be closed while the state’s Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) investigated. Full article here.

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.

Following the release of the footage Friday night, media attention quickly halted, and this case was soon to become invisible, as have the 11 other Australian abattoirs exposed for horrendous cruelty in the past four years. This violence is systemic in the animal killing industry. As Michael Munnings said himself, “everything on the video was done according to the code.” If this is according to code, as a society we have an ethical responsibility to write a new one. One that doesn’t cause millions of animals to suffer and be killed unnecessarily.

We have compiled this album to help the public understand why we took the action we did. Please read the brief captions, explaining the final moments of these animals lives, and contemplate if this is the type of violence we should be silent to.

You can view the anonymous investigative footage at www.AussieAbattoirs.com, and we thank the brave people who risked their own lives to help the animals. Thank you.

This dairy cow has a broken right leg, which can be clearly seen in this image, folding almost in half as she is forced towards the kill area. It is not known how far she has been made to stagger on this leg, it is known at least that it is broken at the time of entering the slaughterhouse.
In the exposed footage she spends over forty five minutes waiting to be killed. During this time she is trying to turn around in this confined space, mooing in a low, distressed tone. At one point she is sitting down in the “knock box” with blood from her broken leg all around her, watching on as blood is flowing through in front of her from the other room.
She is shot twice with a bolt gun before they begin tipping her into the next room where she will have her head hacked off, and her body cut apart. Blood can be seen pouring from her head. There is then a third shot to the head as the worker points out that her eye movement says something. That she is still alive.
Once she is tipped into this area, keeping in mind she has already been shot twice, she tries to get up. She reacts to the worker and is still clearly conscious and alive. The worker slashes at her throat, then she is shot again with the bolt gun. She makes very strong attempts to stand despite all that she has already endured. She suffers further cuts to her throat and another bolt to the head.
In this image you can clearly see she has suffered several large cuts to the throat, but is still alive. The worker is firing another bolt into her head, we hope her pain is finally over after this.
A worker is captured smiling after cutting the head off her traumatised body. This is the same worker who is seen treading on her cut open neck while she is still alive.
The sow enters the ‘knock box, and is in full view at all times of another female behind her.
She is shot once, twice, with the bolt gun but workers fail to kill her quickly. She is trying to dodge the bolt gun by the third shot. “Ah calm down ya bastard,” a worker yells. And after the fourth shot shows a strong pain reaction. An animal should be killed after the first bolt if done to guidelines, after several attempts to her head with the bolt gun, workers are heard to say “Go and get the f***ing rifle, f*** this.” (rifle is pictured here.) With four metal rods shot into different parts of her head and face, this individual must be experiencing extreme pain. Visible bullet wounds can be seen bleeding on her left cheek. She is still fighting to escape her confinement.
After two shots to the head with the rifle she is still conscious and is thrashing her head. The third shot with the rifle, finally ends her suffering.
Here a pig can be seen watching on with concerned body language as another animal, a companion through this terrifying process, is shot with a bolt and cut open in front of her.
Blood pours from the throat of this being as one worker puts his weight on the pig to keep her from thrashing.
A worker taunts this animal by holding the bolt gun to his face to sniff. Another worker watches on with a wooden post that was used to force the animal into position.
In this image the cow is being tipped from the knock box into the kill room, believed to be dead after two shots with the bolt gun. The worker comments “It’s still blinkin;”, he is still alive and still suffering.
He thrashes his head and horns to escape his confinement. He tries to defend himself against his attackers, he does not want to die.
A worker shows complete disregard for this individual. He is shown here deliberately walking onto the head of sheep whose neck he has just sliced through.
This sheep ran into the kill room to follow the body of her companion who she had just seen harmed in front of her. The footage shows she is then dragged to the side, then returns with her throat cut. No one should have to experience this vision of their kind hung up and bleeding.
A worker is pictured here beating a pig with a pole repeatedly and forcefully, while another man watches on.
Pictured are two scared individuals. One pig at the top of the run is trying to escape the killers gun, the other while initially wanting to go to his companion, backs away in fear.

They do not want to be killed, they do not want to die.
The pig on the left watches as his companion is cut open, with blood pouring out in front of him.
Pigs are highly social, intelligent creatures and it is devastating to see this killing happening in front of him.
Severed heads lay out as trophies.
So recently full of life, now only skin, fur, and flesh left to rot.
More than flesh and bone, we are forgetting that these are individuals, deserving of their lives.
The body parts of animals who did not want to die, discarded with the days rubbish.
Someone, not something.
So abused, so mistreated. We hurt for you and we are trying.
Not food, bodies. Corpses. Doesn’t it tell us something that we must completely distort it from its original form to make it in any way resemble something edible.
Take away their identity, what makes them unique, and package them in a way we are conditioned to find acceptable. We must question this.
Most people feel almost giddy, and smile at the sight of lambs playing, not stopping to think why they are there, where they will end up.

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming ALL other living beings, we are still savages.”

Thomas A. Edison

www.AussieAbattoirs.com