MEDIA RELEASE: 21st AUGUST 2019
Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst has warned that the Government’s latest move to introduce new trespass offences that threaten to imprison animal cruelty whistleblowers won’t work, and will simply increase tensions between advocates and farmers.
The Right to Farm Bill was introduced to NSW Parliament’s lower house yesterday, and reportedly includes the toughest penalties for farm trespass in the country - including up to three years' jail time and $22,000 in fines.
“If the Government really wanted to reduce trespass there is a very simple solution: transparency,” said Ms Hurst.
“If animal agribusiness genuinely believes there is no ethical issue with modern factory farming practices - including cramming tens of thousands of meat chickens into windowless sheds, where they are bred to grow so fast that they can barely stand or walk, and forcing them to live in their own faeces and urine - then install CCTV cameras inside these sheds and live stream it over the internet. What have they got to hide?
“If the industry had transparency, there would be no one trespassing to expose what is happening behind closed doors. It would take away any motivation to trespass.
“The lack of interest in legislating transparency is evidence that the Government isn’t really serious about stopping trespass.
“The Australian public have a right to know what life looks for the millions of animals that are intensively farmed for food in Australia each year. But right now, that information is being hidden.
“This bill is yet another attempt to appease lobbyists from the animal agribusiness industry and frighten whistleblowers into silence – but it will not work. Animal advocates will continue to expose animal cruelty and, if they happen to fall foul of this new law, tax payers will be forced to pay the exorbitant cost.
“Punishing those who expose animal cruelty is not the answer. The community has a no tolerance stance to animal cruelty and will not support the NSW Government’s efforts to hide it. If this bill makes it to the upper house, I will be strongly opposing it,” said Ms Hurst.
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