Animal advocates Australia wide are getting all excited about the Animal justice Party, especially with the promotion of it all over social media.
As with all things that are new, there has been a lot of interest in the party even though it is still in it’s infancy. Now that the election has been called, and those dreaded ‘how to vote’ cards have been decided, it would appear that the honey moon is well and truly over.
In all honesty, I thought that this would have happened when they released their range of policies, which are all related to animals and nothing else. Despite that, what caused the cracks to begin to appear was the AJP’s preferencing of other parties over the Greens in the ACT.
Whilst matters relating to other animals are of importance to those of us who are animal advocates, for that to be the only thing that the party has an interest in is concerning.
Though I’m sure that what most supporters of this party will want to know is will the Animal Justice Party really be a voice for the animals?
In a word I would have to say no.
Sadly, the policies of the group are contradictory, confusing and almost impossible.
In the Animal Law section, they talk about introducing a new legal category for animals, somewhere between the property status that they are now, and the legal ‘person’ status that is enjoyed by humans and other entities such as companies, etc. This new status will recognise animals as sentient beings.
They then go on to have the goal of Removing the RSPCA, a private and unaccountable organisation, from involvement in the enforcement of laws relating to animal welfare and animal cruelty. Whilst I agree in part to this, the RSPCA isn’t private or unaccountable, with every state/territory organisation being a public listed charity with an elected board.
This continues with the AJP saying that the enforcement of animal welfare/cruelty law should be the responsibility of a specialist branch of relevant police forces in each jurisdiction, and that responsibility should be reflected and expressed as a duty in relevant legislation.
What I would like to know is how do they expect this to happen?
I highly doubt that the States will hand over ability to make laws pertaining to animals to the Commonwealth, and there is no way that the Commonwealth can draft legislation forcing the states to do it. This also raises the question of who is going to pay for it. If it is a Commonwealth initiative, the States won’t be happy to commit resources from an already stretched police service/force without getting a heap in return.
This also brings us to the next point. As things currently stand, the Department of Primary Industries of each state is also able to investigate breaches of that states animal welfare legislation. Except it is unclear whether this will still be the case, or not.
Is this seeking justice for the animals, or furthering the perceived stereotype that those who are advocating for other animals are a group of lunatics that are well and truly out of touch with society?
If you really want to send a message to the major parties at September’s election, don’t waste your primary vote on the Senate ballot by voting AJP. Make it count and vote for an independent instead.