Australians who speak out against animal cruelty could soon be labelled “agri-terrorists” if the Abbott government gets their way.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce is pushing us to follow America’s cowboy politicians. If he succeeds, people who expose animal cruelty could be punished more harshly than those who actually commit the violence on animals under so-called “ag-gag” laws.
The work of animal cruelty campaigners has already exposed the gruesome live export industry, caught workers pushing sick animals with bulldozers, and won some real changes. Their work is often the only way we know about widespread animal abuse in our food systems.
Big corporate farms love Barnaby Joyce’s proposed law, but it’s a disaster for everyone else. If we can generate enough noise, we can push the government to drop its latest unpopular, corporate-backed policy.
Tell Barnaby Joyce to criminalise cruelty -- not whistleblowing -- and drop plans to gag animal rights campaigners.
Big corporate farming interests want to do everything they can to gag animal cruelty activists. They know that when consumers are reminded of how harshly animals are treated in factory farms, they demand change -- which eats into company profits.
The American ag-gag laws were passed after heavy lobbying by American farming industry lobbyists, and now the industry wants to do the same thing here.
Barnaby Joyce’s new law is a classic case of “shooting the messenger”, rather than actually tackling the problem of abuse in factory farming. In the absence of strong independent checks, campaigners often provide some of the only scrutiny of standards of animal welfare.
We should be passing laws to treat all our farm animals with compassion and respect, not gagging those who draw attention to serious abuse. And if enough of us speak out now, we can push the government to drop this unpopular law.
Sign the petition to Barnaby Joyce and tell him to scrap the 'ag-gag' laws and improve animal welfare standards instead.
Animal cruelty activists targeted by tough new biosecurity measures, Sydney Morning Herald, June 15 2014
Australia risks copying US 'ag-gag' laws to turn animal activists into terrorists, Sydney Morning Herald, May 1 2014