Activists claim no damage, no threat

By Geoff Adams

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) vice-president and deputy general counsel for the Asia-Pacific, Paula Hough, said:

"It is also worth placing this reality in its broader context: not once in the history of animal rights activism anywhere in the world has there been a single incidence of activists physically harming anyone.

"The harm has certainly flowed the other way — activists, both adults and children, have been dragged, assaulted and beaten, pepper sprayed, and even in several instances been deliberately killed by animal exploiters who have fatally shot, and dragged, crushed and run over activists with vehicles.

"All such individuals were harmed or killed during peaceful protesting activities and while trying to save animals ...

"... there is already extensive legislation and significant penalties available to the courts, to deal with animal activists.

"Indeed landowners and business owners already enjoy a broad range of legal protections from illegal conduct taking place on their property — criminal offences already exist in relation to acts of trespass, theft, vandalism, property damage and destruction, harassment and intimidation, biosecurity and unlawful surveillance ...

"As regards biosecurity risks, more than half the antibiotics imported into Australia are fed to farmed animals to stave off disease that absent the drugs would thrive in the crowded, filthy living conditions the stressed animals endure.

"Industry has been taken to task by antimicrobial resistance experts over its lack of transparency about the prevalence of antibiotic use.

"Regardless, living in the conceit for a moment that Australian animal factories are in fact pristine, delicately balanced domes of sterility, activists entering such facilities are acutely aware that if nothing else they will be accused of compromising the animals' health by tracking in outside bacteria.

"Therefore, participants commonly don full hazmat suits including sterile booties, gloves, and hoods, none of which are reused between areas or facilities."