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OFFICIAL STATEMENT RE: TASMANIAN LIBERAL ANTI-PROTEST LEGISLATION


Animal Liberation Tasmania resoundingly condemns the push by the Tasmanian Liberals to reintroduce draconian anti-protest laws that have the potential to see concerned citizens face jail times usually reserved for criminals convicted of crimes such as murder.

Under the proposed legislation, individuals will face the prospect of 18 months imprisonment for a first offence involving protest that impedes workplaces, with fines of $10 000 and jail terms of four years for a second offence. Liberal Minister Guy Barnett has also stated that for protests that involve intrusion of workplaces jail sentences could be as lengthy as 21 years dependent upon the circumstances.

However of grave concern are the provisions under the proposed legislation that target non-disruptive rallies and actions on public land which relate to specific businesses and/or industries, which could result in fines of up to $5000 dollars.

Whilst this legislation is ostensibly to curb the activities of environmentalists, animal rights activists and unions (though vague exemptions have been allowed for industrial actions), thus appealing to public animosity towards activism, they are a direct attack on the rights of concerned citizens to engage in protest and on the democratic process itself. We are all of us at risk of being unable to express criticism or dissent through protest as regards the actions of government or industry.

These laws are extraordinary in their draconian and undemocratic nature, given there are already provisions under the law which address trespass, theft and property damage.

Rallies, protest and non-violent direct action have long been utilised as a means to affect necessary changes within the community; they are a fundamental part of our democratic system. The Tasmanian Liberals seek to erode and suppress these mechanisms in order to protect inherently unethical and unsustainable industries and business practices.

We will oppose the implementation of these anti-democracy laws to the fullest of our abilities.

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Statement regarding Rodeo at the Hobart Show

Following last week’s incident at the Royal Hobart Show in which a young bull severely broke his leg Animal Liberation Tasmania is again calling for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare (IOAW) at a State level.

This deeply upsetting incident is a clear example of the way non-human animals suffer and die needlessly for the sake of our entertainment and how the Tasmanian Government is ill-equipped to stand up for the right of animals to be free from harm and cruelty.

An IOAW would provide a safeguard for Tasmanian animals who are currently at the mercy of self-regulating Government department that also has a vested interest in their continuous use and abuse. Only an Independent Office with the ability to investigate and prosecute individuals committing acts of cruelty against animals can provide meaningful protections for those that are currently suffering in rodeos, racing, industrial farming operations and companion animal farms.

Our call for a Tasmanian Office mirrors campaigns from various groups for a Federal IOAW, including the statement released by MP Andrew Wilkie yesterday. In addition to a Tasmanian Office, we fully support the creation of a federal IOAW.

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MEDIA RELEASE: We Won’t Forget

Today from 12-2pm Animal Liberation Tasmania will be staging a vigil at Gretna Meatworks, in memoriam of the many animals whose lives have been violently taken at this slaughterhouse.

Gretna Meatworks was the subject of an exposé released in October 2016, revealing acts of egregious animal cruelty and multiple welfare regulation breaches. A 20 months long investigation by the Department of Primary Industries resulted in the slaughterhouse being referred to the Department of Public Prosecutions, who decided not to pursue legal actions against Gretna Meatworks.

“We know what we saw; multiple cases of inadequate stunning, multiple cases of animals consciously responding when being slaughtered. Animals kicked and stomped whilst they thrashed around dying. Workers mishandling animals and laughing throughout. The decision by the DPP is a failure to pursue justice for these beings, but was sadly unsurprising.” -Kristy Alger, spokesperson ALT.

Today’s vigil aims to bring the issues revealed at Gretna Meatworks back into the public eye and initiate discussion within the broader community regarding the ethics of consumer choices, and to question the government systems overseeing the regulation of animal slaughter in Tasmania.

“The reality is that if government departments won’t pursue justice in these cases, rather choosing to protect businesses over animal welfare, then it becomes the obligation of the community to question and demand change from a grassroots level.” -Kristy Alger, spokesperson ALT.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Animal Liberation Tasmania responds to closing of Gretna Meatworks case

Last night (26/6) over 20 activists with Animal Liberation Tasmania held a candle-lit vigil outside Parliament House in honour of the animals slaughtered at Gretna Meatworks, exposed for egregious animal cruelty in October 2016.

The investigation into Gretna Meatworks has taken 20 months to conclude that no charges will be laid against the owner or the individuals working for the business, during which time the slaughterhouse has continued to operate without sanction.

“Unfortunately we are not surprised by the outcome; the animal welfare system is designed to support producers and industry, not to protect the inherent rights of non-human animals,” states Mehr Gupta, ALT Campaign Director.

“The outcome of the investigation tells us more about the ability of the DPI to investigate matters of animal cruelty than it does about the standards of the facility in question.”

In the media release announcing the conclusion of the case, DPIPWE Biosecurity General Manager Dr. Lloyd Klumpp stated that anonymously provided footage is rarely admissable in court due to the potential for editing or splicing.

“We find this statement quite interesting given that in December 2016, having been provided with footage from Tasmanian Quality Meats showing the mishandling of dairy calves and sheep, DPIPWE stated they could not review the footage as it was “too dark.” Having been provided with a version edited only to be lighter and easier to view, DPIPWE then stated they could not review this as it had been “edited,” states Kristy Alger, ALT spokesperson.

It wasn’t until May 2017 that DPIPWE opened an investigation into TQM, after the footage they initially refused to review was provided to the media, attracting nationwide interest.

ALT questions why the department would seek to publicly undermine the veracity of the footage provided from Gretna Meatworks when it was deemed enough to base an investigation upon resulting in a referral to the DPP, and given their own obstructions to the ability of individuals and organisations to provide them with footage of this nature.

Since the conclusion of the investigation Animal Liberation Tasmania has received a wealth of support from the Tasmanian community and intends to continue their campaign to bring justice to abused animals in the state.

“The State Government has let down the Tasmanian community, who overwhelmingly want to see justice for animals,” states Ms Gupta. “They have once again proved they should not be in charge of policing animal welfare.”

(Photo credits Hazel Alger)

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MEDIA RELEASE: Activists Hold Vigil At Exposed Slaughterhouse

Today members of Tasmanian Animal Save (TAS) and Animal Liberation Tasmania (ALT) will hold a peaceful vigil outside Tasmanian Quality Meats at Cressy. The aim of this joint action is to bear witness to the animals being transported to slaughter, and draw attention to the plight of animals used for food in Australia. At least 20 individuals from all across Tasmania will be attending.

TQM was exposed early last year by ALT and Animal Liberation, with workers found to be engaging in acts of egregious animal cruelty against dairy calves and sheep sent to slaughter. The footage, showing clear breaches, was reported over 1 year ago and still no action has been taken by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

“We are here not so much because of the footage shown last year, although that is a contributing factor. We are here today because slaughterhouses are inherently violent, and have no place in a forward thinking contemporary society.” – Hazel Alger, TAS spokesperson.

TAS is a newly formed animal rights organisation, part of the global Save Movement network. Chapters around the world hold peaceful vigils outside slaughterhouses and facilities, utilising social media to share images of animals sent to slaughter.

“Our focus is on the animals. We aren’t here to cause trouble for staff at TQM, or the truck drivers. We simply ask for the opportunity to say good bye to the innocent lives that will be taken here today.” – Hazel Alger, TAS spokesperson.

“Three Tasmanian slaughterhouses have now been exposed, all showing the same systemic cruelty. We are here today to show that we haven’t forgotten, and we won’t let the authorities forget either,” states ALT campaign director, Mehr Gupta. “The DPI needs to either take their head out of the sand or hand over investigative powers to an independent office”.

TAS and ALT will remain at TQM until later this afternoon.

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MEDIA RELEASE: New Slaughterhouse Expose Projected Onto Wall Of Butcher

Last night, Animal Liberation Tasmania projected newly exposed footage from Cradoc Hill Abattoir onto the butcher they supply to, Huon Valley Meat Co, while simultaneously holding a candlelight vigil.

Displayed next to the company’s billboard, an image of raw meat, the footage showed the forgotten process of how this product actually comes to be. Volunteers of the animal rights organisation also held candles as a mark of respect to the lives lost at the facility.

 

Cradoc Hill Abattoir is now the third Tasmanian slaughterhouse to be exposed in a year. Almost exactly one year ago, egregious cruelty to pigs, cows and sheep was uncovered at Gretna Quality Meats, a small-scale local abattoir.

Just over 6 months ago Tasmanian Quality Meats was exposed, with footage of shocking cruelty to sheep and bobby calves proving animal welfare breaches are also commonplace at large export-grade abattoirs.

Now, proudly dubbed an “ethical abattoir”, the footage from Cradoc Hill shows improper stunning techniques and physical and verbal abuse of cows, sheep and pigs. Furthermore, it shows terrified animals trying to escape, only to be met with sheer disrespect and mockery of their plight by employees of the facility. For a business in which “paddock-to-plate” is their mantra, it may come as an uncomfortable truth to clients, including the notable name of Matthew Evans – the Gourmet Farmer, that the promise of happy slaughter is an impossible one to keep.

With no action yet taken against Gretna Quality Meats or Tasmanian Quality Meats by the authorities, Animal Liberation Tasmania is now calling for the Tasmanian community to use their power as consumers to hold these facilities accountable.

 

“What this footage displays, more than anything, is that animals want to live just as much as you or I or anyone else,” states Animal Liberation Tasmania campaign director, Mehr Gupta. “The slaughter industry, by definition, will never be ethical. By simply choosing not to support it we can create a kinder world.”

 

The footage, an investigation by Aussie Farms and Animal Liberation Tasmania, can be viewed at http://www.aussieabattoirs.com/slaughterhouses/cradoc

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MEDIA RELEASE: New Animal Cruelty Exposé Adds To Mounting Pressure On DPIPWE

Animal Liberation and Animal Liberation Tasmania have just released shocking footage from the Australian dairy industry, including bobby-calf slaughter from the Tasmanian export-grade abattoir, Tasmanian Quality Meats abattoir in Cressy.
Tasmanian Quality Meats is the 13th slaughterhouse to be exposed in Australia in 5 years, and the 2nd Tasmanian slaughterhouse in less than a year.

The footage shows workers repeatedly beating calves with poly-pipes and paddles, picking up and throwing calves onto the V-restraint and yelling abuse at the terrified animals – all breaches of the national animal welfare standards Tasmania is supposed to abide by. This footage was reported to the Department of Primary Industries Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) in December 2016, and still no action has been taken to protect these animals.

This comes just months after Gretna Quality Meats abattoir in Tasmania was exposed last year, after which numerous experts called for immediate closure of the facility due to cruelty, and were subsequently ignored by DPIPWE in favour of an internal investigation. The results of this investigation are yet to be released, and animals are still being killed there every week.

One of those experts, Dr. Bidda Jones, RSPCA Australia chief scientist, has described the latest Tasmanian exposé as “horrifying”.

For Animal Liberation and Animal Liberation Tasmania there is a distinct sense of déjà vu.

“This is the second time in just over 6 months that DPIPWE has been shown evidence of animal cruelty under their care, and the second time they have failed to act,” Animal Liberation Tasmania campaign director, Mehr Gupta, states. “They are choosing to turn a blind eye to cruelty, and by doing so, are partly to blame for the cruelty we are repeatedly seeing in footage”.

DPIPWE has proven they can not be trusted with the protection of animals, and Animal Liberation and Animal Liberation Tasmania are calling for the public to watch the footage and determine for themselves if they find it acceptable.
The footage, and further resources, can be viewed at www.dropdairy.com.au

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MEDIA RELEASE: Tasmanian Animal Rights Groups Call For MOFO Mercy

Local animal rights groups have today called for mercy, and have offered to facilitate the rescue and rehoming of the bull at the centre of the Dark MOFO controversy. Animal Liberation Tasmania, Animals Tasmania, the Animal Justice Party and Brightside Farm Sanctuary have called upon the organisers of the internationally acclaimed arts and culture festival to grant mercy upon the animal, by cancelling the event and allowing them to save him from the slaughterhouse.

A life-long safe haven would be then organised by Brightside Farm Sanctuary. The groups cite the 15000 signatures on a petition opposing 150.Action as an indication of broad community support for this proposal. “We thank Mr. Walsh and Dark MOFO for igniting such an interesting public debate over the ethics of our treatment of non-human animals. As Mr. Walsh has said his purposes have already been served, we now encourage him to accept our proposal to rescue this animal from slaughter, in an ultimate act of mercy.” -Kristy Alger, spokesperson Animal Liberation Tasmania.

150.Action is the brainchild of controversial Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch. The event at Dark MOFO will mark the 150th time he has performed this work. In 2015 Nitsch was prevented from staging his action in Mexico City after a petition signed by over 5000 individuals caused the museum holding the event to cancel.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Animal Rights Organisation Calls Out Government Department Failings

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”.

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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 www.AussieAbattoirs.com 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.”