Last week, Thursday I think it was, saw the failure of two bills within the House of Representatives that if, passed there and by the Senate, would have seen Australia’s live export trade brought to an end.
Both bills were soundly defeated in the lower house, with the only supporters being the two MP that put forward the bills.
This was despite animal WELFARE groups urging the Australian public to contact their local member and tell them to vote in support of the bill. And that the Prime Minister should allow the MP’s to have a conscience vote and cross the floor if they want to support it.
As was to be expected, this didn’t happen.
So what lessons can we and should we learn from all of this?
If you vote for a politician that is a member of a political party, don’t expect them to vote the way that the electorate want them to, if it goes against party lines.
The meat/livestock industry is too powerful to defeat in parliament, they have to be defeated at the supermarket where they feel it the most.
The live export protests from a vegan point of view were a waste of time. Reason behind this is that whilst there may have been a handful of protesters there promoting the vegan message, not one of the speakers actually promoted it. And each group had a different message regarding their position on the live export issue. Gees, there was even an official from the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union and I can guarantee that he wouldn’t even have mentioned the word vegetarian.
For the life of me, I still can’t understand why any vegetarian or vegan group got behind this campaign in the first place, let alone still support it. For example, from the Animals Australia site
The overwhelming public response has sent a clear message to federal politicians that Australians will not stay silent while animals continue to be sent to countries where they risk brutal handling and slaughter while fully conscious.
To me, this says that if the places where the animals are being exported to do it to an acceptable standard, then we are ok with it.
Whereas over on Adam Bandt’s page;
The live exports industry is responsible for the brutal exploitation of animals around the world. It is unacceptable that the Australian Government stand by while the industry continues to abuse and degrade Australian animals through the live export trade.
The RSPCA are against the actual trade in live animals. Whereas if they are killed here then exported, that is ok so long as they are treated nicely.
And the position of the AMIEU would be that they live export trade is exporting Australian jobs, so I doubt that I need to put up any quotes from them.
It is abundantly clear that there wasn’t one group involved in the protests that was actually calling for an end to animal use, so it was a wasted opportunity by Animals Australia. Adam Bandt just has no idea, because as far as I am concerned ANY trade in animals whether alive or not is degrading and abusive to them. Whether it be getting loaded onto a truck for a day or two’s journey to a slaughter house, spending a few days/weeks on a feed lot before slaughter, being crammed into a cage so the eggs can be collected or even having a newly born calf separated from it’s mother because there is more money in colostrum than there is in normal milk. Each is as bad as the other, there are NO degrees of severity. And, I am not even going to say anything about the AMIEU because you really don’t want my thoughts on how out of touch unions are.
Where to from here for those that are opposed to the live export trade, and can it be stopped?
If it is the live export trade itself that you are against, then the best thing that I can suggest that you do is to donate to an international aid group that is in the areas that Australian animals are exported to, and help them to bring in power and refrigeration to those areas. Once they have fridges, then there will be no reason for animals to be exported live over there and they can be killed and processed here and shipped overseas frozen or chilled.
If you are against animal use then throw your support behind those vegan groups that also want to see an end to animal use, and put more pressure on people locally to go vegan and rid themselves of their reliance on animal products. This will see a drop in the local price for animals and in turn make it economically harder for those farmers that are still in animal agriculture to make a profit. And to make it clear, I am not talking about getting people to cut back or move towards organic or free range meats, all that will do is increase demand for a small market, and that isn’t good enough.
Also, when the next election comes around, don’t vote for a political party! Vote for the one of the independants that is running, even if you disagree with whatever policies they are vocal about. Because when it comes time for a vote, if you are prepared and organise the electorate, you stand a far greater chance of getting them to vote the way the electorate wants than you do with a member of a party.
If you want to see an end to the live export trade, we need to start thinking differently, because the events of the past few months have shown us that protesting, petitions and phone calls don’t work.
And remember vegan is the only option.