What Does Justice Look Like To You?

Photo Credit: Scott* via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Scott* via Compfight cc

Yesterday saw two simultaneous protests take place in Sydney and Canberra with participants demanding ‘justice’ for the pigs from Wally’s Piggery, and claiming that the RSPCA has blood on it’s hands due to the dropping of charges against WSL Investments Pty Ltd, Wally Perenc and Stefanie Perenc (referred to as  Wally’s Piggery).

Despite RSPCA NSW putting out two separate statements on the matter, they have fallen on deaf ears, and mob rule has now taken the place of natural justice.

Let Those Without Sin Cast The First Stone

[GARD]What appeared to be one of the most ironic moments of both protests was the crowd listening to words from Chris Delforce in Canberra, and Mark Pearson in NSW. Two people who probably have more blood on their hands than anyone else involved in this whole sorry saga.

Both of these people belong to organisations that were responsible for taking the footage, or releasing it to the media, or both. This hardly makes them qualified enough to pass judgement on the actions or inactions of RSPCA NSW. Especially considering that it was their actions that have lead us to where we are now.

We also seem to be forgetting that Mark Pearson was the one who was advocating that more slaughterhouses be built while campaigning for a Senate seat as part of the Animal Justice Party.

Any speech given by them, no matter how passionate, has only been done to shift the focus away from the part that they played, and attempt to absolve them of any guilt.

Could The Footage Be Used Or Couldn’t It.

Most of the confusion around this case centers on the footage obtained by individuals from the NSW and ACT branches of the Animal Liberation franchise.

Since the RSPCA NSW’s decision to drop the 53 charges against Wally’s Piggery a number of conflicting or confusing messages have been made relating to the widely distributed footage.

Beginning with the following from the Aussie Pigs website (retrieved 14 Dec 2014)

The RSPCA asked Animal Liberation to provide names and contact details of the activists involved in obtaining the evidence. However, advice from lawyers was that whether or not this information was provided to the RSPCA, it was highly unlikely that the illegally-gathered evidence could be used in court, and that it would put the activists in great danger from Wally and other pig farmers, and of course might lead to prosecution against them rather than the farmers.

Then there is this from Animal Defenders Office (retrieved 14 Dec 2014)

It is difficult to understand how this could have led to all charges against the piggery operators being dismissed.  Under s138 of the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW/CTH), a court has a discretion to admit ‘improperly or illegally obtained evidence’. Such evidence is not automatically dismissed simply because it may be ‘illegally obtained’.

Considering that both of these statements came from the same side, can you see why it is confusing as to who we should believe?

Consider The Following:

  • Dropping of 53 charges relate to those laid by inspectors based on the observations they made at the time. NOT on the footage supplied to the media.
  • Wally’s Piggery plead not guilty to the 53 charges, and are entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
  • Illegally obtained footage wasn’t able to be authenticated. This is what made it inadmissible in court.
  • While illegally obtained footage MAY be admissible in court, it is up to the presiding judge to decide.
  • With the footage not being able to be authenticated, the 53 charges potentially become fruit of the tainted tree, as it was the footage itself that lead to the investigation by RSPCA NSW, Police, and NSW food Authority.
  • RSPCA NSW has actually answered why the charges were dropped. Just because it is an answer that most of us don’t want to hear, doesn’t change the fact that it has been answered.

How Was Justice To Be Served?

Let’s say for a moment the RSPCA NSW was successful in obtaining a criminal conviction against Wally’s Piggery. What sentence would have been adequate in the eyes of those protesting?

A fine?

Criminal conviction and prohibition from owning other animals for x years?

Or, how about incarceration for x months/years?

Would any of them change the general public’s opinion of other animals? I highly doubt it.

Would they cause pigs to stop being killed for food? Definitely not.

So, if they don’t have a chance of changing the status quo, how could justice claimed to have been served?

The reality of it all is that Wally’s Piggery are being used as the fall guys for the accepted views of society.

At the end of the day, the charges against Wally’d Piggery have been dropped, and case dismissed. It’s time that everyone acknowledged the part that they played, picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and learnt from the mistakes that were made.

This social media war that Animals Australia, Animal Liberation NSW and Animal Liberation ACT are waging against RSPCA NSW is embarrassing to legitimate animal advocates. Trying to ‘out-care’ the RSPCA is pointless and while it may increase brand awareness and the public perception of caring for the animals, the ultimate losers will in actual fact be the animals themselves.

If these groups really want to show the world how much they really care for the animals, why didn’t they organise a nation wide event to promote veganism?

After all, that is something that the RSPCA would never do in a million years. Though come to think of it, neither would any of those groups.

So much for ‘liberating’ the animals…