News

Victorian animal activism inquiry opens

By Geoff Adams

The closure of animal agriculture in Australia — the stated aim of animal rights activists who label farmers “animal harmers” — would have considerable impact on the ordinary lives of Australians.

There would be no eggs and bacon for breakfast on the weekend. There would be no eggs to bake cakes, no milk for lattes, no cheese or yoghurt to eat, no pork or lamb roast on Sunday, no steak for the barbecue, no chicken soup to help recover from the flu, no leather for shoes or bags, no wool from sheep or alpaca fibre to knit beanies and gloves to protect children and adults against winter’s cold. There would be no prawns on the Christmas table, no fish with chips for Friday dinner.

There would be no butter.

“Animals are sentient beings. They are born to die, raised to be murdered. When animal harmers talk about how well they look after their animals, it distresses me to know they will still be murdered,” said Paynesville’s Kim Dutton, a member of the Animal Justice Party who attended the Bairnsdale hearing of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry.

She was accompanied by fellow party member Helen Jeges, of Tarra Valley, the granddaughter of a dairy farmer. Both women were supporting State Member for Western Victoria Andy Meddick, a member of the inquiry panel.

Ms Dutton said they were at the inquiry hearings to listen to both sides of the story.

“It’s really interesting to hear the farmers’ stories and how they talk about how they look after their animals,” she said.

“The reality is they (farm animals) are born to die while they are still babies; they could grow to adults, but then they are still raised to be murdered.

“When animal harmers talk about how well they look after their animals, it distresses me to know they will still be murdered.

“Fish, pigs, cows, chickens, mosquitos are not worth less; humans are not better.”

Ms Jeges and Ms Dutton are also concerned about the environmental impact of animal agriculture, but did not express the same concern about broadacre cropping.

“I read that one litre of calf’s milk for human consumption takes 1000 litres of water to produce. In a drought-riddled country, why do we support that way of farming? Why do we support dairy as an industry when it needs so much water to operate?” Ms Dutton asked.

Mr Meddick was concerned that when animal rights activists invade farms and other agribusinesses and steal animals, they are being accused of wanting to hurt animals.

“People who profess their love of animals want to protect animals,” he said.

“We want to achieve the best outcomes for animal agriculture.”