With the NSW general election nearing the business end, and the federal election mayhem about to start, we are seeing all sort of claims being made about the Animal Justice Party.
First and foremost, that they are an animal rights party.
This is despite the vice president saying on Facebook, that they are an animal protection party and not an animal welfare party.
The aim of this article is to put all those claims to bed once and for all.
Animal Protection v Animal Rights
Despite what the vice president claims, animal protection and animal welfare are the same thing.
Animal welfare advocates call for animal protection laws. (To protect some animals from certain harm).
Animal rights supporters push for legal rights for animals. Something that requires a change in the legal status of animals.
So, while saying they are an animal protection party may sound better than saying they are an animal welfare party. The reality is, that there is no difference.
What About Their Policies?
Is it possible that the vice president of the party is a tad confused about what the party actually stands for?
Yes. It is possible.
Though if this is the case, it does make you wonder what standards there are within the party that allowed it to happen.
That being said, how do their policies stack up against a genuine animal rights perspective?
For this part, I have chosen the first two policies in the “Animals” section of their policy list. It is beyond the scope of this article to be a detailed policy review.
While I won’t include the full policy I will be highlighting important parts of it.
State-based – Unable to be implemented at the Federal Level.
This policy is off to a bad start for the animals from the second sentence. We advocate a plant based diet but recognise that animal industries are not all the same.
From an animal rights perspective, ALL animal industries ARE the same.
They ignore the most basic of rights, the right not to be viewed as property, and believe other animals are a resource to be exploited.
We recognise that some animal industries inflict less pain than others however all involve significant suffering and ultimately the taking of life.
Suffering and the taking of life aren’t so much of an issue for animal rights when compared to them being there in the first place. This wording is very reformist in its approach.
If you say something involves significant suffering, it is possible to improve that practice to involve minimal suffering.
The AJP understands that widespread dietary change will be a lengthy process and that animal production methods must be improved urgently as an interim measure; so we will prioritise the phase out of factory farming.
What factory farming are they going to be phasing out?
ALL factory farming or only those viewed as intensive?
My money would be on the factory farming viewed as intensive.
This makes it a very welfarist policy, as it seeks to reform an industry practice.
Hardly an animal rights policy.
This is confirmed here.
However, whilst the Animal Justice Party will advocate for incomplete reform when the immediate suffering of animals is involved, it will always recognise that such reforms are not enough in isolation and must occur in tandem with a long-term, total transition to plant-based agriculture.
An interesting point to note is that reform won’t help “the animals” if there is immediate suffering as it usually takes a decade or so to phase in.
State-based – Unable to be implemented at the Federal Level.
This has to be the least animal rights friendly policy that they have.
Species that haven’t been domesticated should be free from exploitation and are not suitable as companion animals.
This is a speciesist view and one that actually commoditises those animals how have been domesticated.
Companion in this sense implies ownership of these animals, which means that they are viewed as property. Something that an actual animal rights position is against.
And it gets worse.
To increase desexing levels through government/veterinary subsidies programs and to mandate desexing at point of sale.
This denies the animal their right to bodily integrity, with a medical procedure forced upon them simply because someone thinks they might make a good companion.
Animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and animal assistants like mareema, donkeys, and guide dogs must only be bred by licenced breeders under strict controls.
This paragraph doesn’t really need explaining, does it?
To phase out the breeding of companion animals until shelters achieve no-kill status with no turn-away, then work with companion animal NGO’s on only using breeding schemes that benefit the animals involved. (emphasis added)
How a breeding scheme will benefit any animal involved is beyond me.
And what happens when it no longer does?
Will the animal be sent to a “rescue”, killed, or sold on to someone else?
To legislate ensuring tenants can not be discriminated against for having companion animals in their care where the property is appropiate for the animal/s involved.
This is actually condoning and making acceptable the possession of companion animals. Once again, not even remotely consistent with an animal rights position.
Their Charter states that they want, “Constitutional protection of animals and the environment”.
This can only be done at the Federal level, and via a successful referendum.
What the proposed referendum would say, and its impact on society as a whole has not been answered. I doubt that it ever will be because it is one of the things that looks good to say, yet no one has thought any more about it.
Queensland Senate candidate Karagh-Mae Kelly has said that other animals deserve to be treated as “legal persons”. Being treated and recognised as “legal persons” are two different things, the same goes with “deserve” and “will be”.
Mark Pearson’s “Promise”
On 05 September 2018, Mark Pearson foolishly published a video on facebook where he said the following.
…and in the meantime, I can promise you.
With Emma hurst who’s a successful candidate to be elected next year beside me in the upper house in new south wales, we will bring a bill to ban the selling, transporting or procuring in any way, any animal in New South Wales into the live export trade.
That’ll be one of our first pieces of legislation that we will pass in the Upper House in New South Wales parliament next year, after the election.
While the wording of this proposed bill is unknown, if a bill like this was passed, it wouldn’t survive an expensive constitutional challenge. This is because the bill restricts trade between the states.
This is definitely NOT an animal rights related bill.
It is a reform focused one, as it seeks to reform the industry from one of exporting live animals to the exporting of their body parts.
Upper House Candidate’s Plan
Emma Hurst and Angela Pollard have said that they want to do three things if elected.
Ban cages for layer hens
This is a welfare policy as it related to how some animals are treated, and does nothing to address why they are being used in the first place.
It normalises the consumption of eggs as it creates an acceptable standard.
End kangaroo culls
While this is admirable, it is a speciesist policy as it seeks to protect kangaroos from being killed while ignoring the thousands of free roaming deer and pigs who will be killed.
Therefore, it isn’t even remotely an animal rights related wish.
They have said they will mention something about the links between animal agriculture and environmental damage.
Yes. You guessed it. It isn’t an animal rights related wish.
Please Do Your Own Research
As I mentioned near the top of the article, this piece was not meant to be a comprehensive review of the policies of the Animal Justice Party.
Don’t take my word for it, or the word of one of the faithful.
Read their policies for yourself.
When you do, keep in mind that if the policy doesn’t expressly give ALL animals a right, then it is a welfare or reform focused policy.
Whether you choose to vote for them or not is entirely up to you.
Though just don’t do it because you believe or have been hoodwinked into believing that they are an animal rights party.
DISCLOSURE: I have started a political party called the Australian Vegan Party. We do not have candidates in the NSW general election.
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