In this file:
· Australia Swears in Third Vegan Activist to State Parliament
· Not just activists, 9 out of 10 people are concerned about animal welfare in Australian farming
Australia Swears in Third Vegan Activist to State Parliament
Matthew Zampa, Sentient Media
May 14, 2019
Australians will return to the polls this Saturday in what’s becoming a pivotal election for animals and the environment. The big question: Will Australia’s next prime minister be friend or foe to the nation’s $30 billion animal agriculture industry?
Just one month after the prime minister of the third fastest growing vegan economy in the world called a nonviolent vegan protest “un-Australian,” Emma Hurst, an outspoken vegan activist and representative of the Animal Justice Party (AJP), was sworn into Australia’s New South Wales State Parliament, making her the second vegan activist elected to office in the past two years and the third since 2015.
Veganism is gaining momentum in all facets of life in Australia. The plant-based food industry there is exploding, forecasted to grow 58% by 2020. Nationwide, there are reportedly more than 2 million vegans. Veganism is especially popular among the country’s youngest voters. According to a recent survey conducted by a vegan food company, 44 percent of young people (aged 18–24) think that veganism is “cooler than smoking.” Another poll found that when asked the question, would you give up meat if it meant saving the climate, one in five young people said yes.
Vegans are not only starting to make the switch younger in Australia but for the right reasons–because they care about animals and the environment. Still, what’s true for millions of vegans is not true for the nation’s farmers, who are well represented by Australia’s current crop of Senators. As far as Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Parliament’s pro-farming majority are concerned, animals are no more than the means to a very profitable end for this Parliament.
Fighting for a more vegan Australia
According to Animal Clock, 1.8 billion animals have been killed for food in Australia so far this year–and counting. The animal agriculture industry in Australia, including the beef cattle, dairy, sheep, pig, and poultry industries, account for about half ($30 billion) of the gross value of Australian agriculture as a whole. About 70% of this value comes from slaughtered animals, the other 30% from milk, wool, and eggs.
Live animal export is also one of Australia’s largest industries. In 2018, the country exported 2.85 million living animals in cramped, cruel shipping containers. That same year, 2,400 Australian sheep died of heat stress en route from Perth to the Middle East and millions more suffered on the way to certain death.
These numbers are not to be taken lightly–by anyone, elected official or otherwise–and animal activists have certainly made noise about animal cruelty in Australia over the past few months. In early April, hundreds of animal rights activists blocked traffic in the middle of downtown Melbourne during the city’s busiest hours, part of a wave of action in three states, while others targeted abattoirs in the middle of the night to protest cruelty to animals on factory farms.
Morrison called the protests “un-Australian” and declared his unrelenting support of the country’s farmers, who he deems are under attack. “The commonwealth is open to supporting them to show these green-collared criminals that you don’t get to go and pull the rug from under our Aussie farmers,” said Morrison. He is up for re-election this Saturday, May 18.
Pivotal election for animals and the environment ...
Demonstrating that voters care about animal rights ...
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Not just activists, 9 out of 10 people are concerned about animal welfare in Australian farming
by Paul Mcgreevy, Amelia Cornish And Bidda Jones, The Conversation
via Phys.org - May 15, 2019
Recent protests by animal welfare activists on Australian abattoirs and farms and city streets triggered a backlash from meat-lovers and MPs. The activists were labelled "un-Australian" by the Prime Minister and others, and the protests prompted calls for tougher trespass laws and penalties.
Protests have continued more recently, with a Perth restaurant targeted earlier this month.
But it's not just activists who are concerned about animals. A recent report commissioned by the federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources suggests it's the majority of Australians who care about animal welfare.
The report included a survey of 1,521 people: 95% of respondents viewed farm animal welfare with concern, and 91% want reform to address this.
The report – Australia's Shifting Mindset on Farm Animal Welfare by consultancy firm Futureye – also says the department "currently has very limited powers over farm animal welfare," raising the potential for "outrage […] if the community sees the government as not responding to concerns and expectations."
That could be a problem for whoever wins control of government after the weekend's federal election.
What's the concern? ...
Consumers want reform ...
How animal welfare meets politics ...
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