Australian legislation will force animal rights activists to put animal rights before media opportunities:
MOVES to force animal rights activists to hand over visual evidence of animal cruelty to relevant authorities promptly, instead of delaying its release to bolster emotive, anti-farming media-driven campaigns, are being recharged by the Coalition government.
The Criminal Code Amendment Bill was first pursued by former WA Liberal Senator Chris Back ahead of his recent retirement and will now be spearheaded by his replacement, Slade Brockman – a former chief of staff to Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.
The Bill survived the previous parliament and is now due to be freshly debated by warring political factions with varying views on animal welfare standards in agricultural production and the role of animal rights activists, later this week in the Senate.
It aims to alter the Criminal Code Act to include new offences and penalties for failure to report visual recordings of malicious animal cruelty or for interfering with the conduct of lawful animal enterprises, like livestock facilities. . .
The move is being opposed by animal rights groups who are calling it ag-gag.
But Senator Brockman said the Bill was about expediting the reporting of animal cruelty incidents while protecting livestock farmers and others who work in animal-related industries from “malicious campaigns”.
“The Bill was originally put forward by former Senator Chris Back who was a veterinarian a with a great passion for the welfare of animals but also a passion for ensuring farmers and others working in close association with farmers, like the animal handling and processing industries, were protected from malicious campaigns that try to destroy their livelihoods,” he said.
“We had the very ironic situation of where people who were holding themselves up as paragons of virtue defending animal rights were actually sitting on footage of animal cruelty for months and months and months, developing media stories, and not giving that footage and images to the relevant authorities to act on. . .
This has happened in New Zealand.
Instead of reporting abuse to the SPCA or Ministry for Primary Industries, groups have waited many months so to make the maximum splash in the media.
Any animal rights groups worthy of that claim would put animal health and wellbeing first.
Sadly some don’t, preferring to run campaigns which damn whole industries instead of allowing the authorities to immediately investigate, ensure animals get any help they need and, if there are grounds, prosecute anyone abusing them.
Legislation isn’t always the best answer to a problem. But if concern for animals they purport to protect isn’t enough to make people and groups do the right thing, a law change must.