MEDIA RELEASE: BREAKING: NSW PARLIAMENT CONDEMNS DOG KILLING AT BOURKE SHIRE POUND

MEDIA RELEASE: 13 OCTOBER 2021

BREAKING: NSW PARLIAMENT CONDEMNS DOG KILLING AT BOURKE SHIRE POUND

Upper House calls for new laws to stop convenience killing

 

Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst has successfully moved a motion in NSW Parliament today condemning the shooting of 15 dogs and puppies at Bourke Shire Council Pound that occurred in August this year, with Council citing COVID concerns as their reason for the death of the dogs. In response to the travesty, the motion also called on the Minister for Local Government to prohibit the killing of animals in pounds and shelters where a rescue group is willing to take on their care.

The motion was agreed to without objection.

Emma Hurst MP from the Animal Justice Party says, “Now that we have the support of the NSW Government, our focus will be in ensuring these laws are passed. The shooting of these dogs should never have happened - now we need to make sure it never happens again. 

“The killing of 15 dogs and puppies at Bourke Shire Council was barbaric and it is no wonder it received worldwide condemnation. Convenience killing in pounds and shelters must be outlawed. 

“This atrocity could have been avoided – our weak laws failed these dogs. Laws that mandate pounds to work with rescue groups and prohibit the killing of animals where a rescue group is willing to take on their care are essential. Killing animals is never the solution.

“It seemed that no genuine attempt was made by Bourke Shire Pound to get the dogs into foster care or to rescue groups. We heard that there were at least two groups who were willing to take in the animals. Such action would have been in line with the COVID-19 public health orders.

“Recently we met with the Office of Local Government, enforcement agencies, rescue groups and councils across New South Wales to discuss urgent changes that need to be made to our broken pound system. Currently councils only have a duty to consider “alternative action” before euthanasia and are not compelled to rehome animals to rescues. This needs to change.  

 “Animals are not disposable. We need to learn from this atrocity at Bourke Shire Pound and adjust our laws accordingly. We will continue to pursue this issue in Parliament to ensure rescue groups can save animals on death row. What happened at Bourke Shire Council cannot be allowed to happen again,” said Ms Hurst.

 

FULL MOTION BELOW:

(1) That this House notes that:

(a) on 22 August 2021, it was reported that Bourke Shire Council had shot and killed 15 dogs in their care, including a mother and her newborn puppies,

(b) these animal were killed despite the fact that at least two rescue groups were willing to take them and find them loving homes, and were able to do so under the COVID-19 Public Health Orders, and

(c) Bourke Shire Councils actions have received worldwide condemnation, and appear to be in breach of the Companion Animals Act 1988.

 

(2) That this House:

(a) condemns the cruel actions of Bourke Shire Council, and

(b) calls on the Minister for Local Government to prohibit the killing of animals in pounds and shelters where a rescue group is willing to take on their care.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSIE RAYNS, 0401 991 792

1 reaction Share

MEDIA STATEMENT: MP RESPONSE TO DOG TORTURED AND KILLED IN SYDNEY

MEDIA STATEMENT: 12 OCTOBER 2021

Statement from Emma Hurst Animal Justice Party MP in regards to a dog found tied to a block of cement in a river in Sydney’s south. A man will face court today, charged with offences including torturing, beating and causing the death of an animal, and committing an act of aggravated cruelty upon an animal.

 

Please see quotes below from the Hon. Emma Hurst MLC:

This is beyond horrifying. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering endured by this sentient being. Anyone who harms an animal in an aggressive act of cruelty is a danger to other animals and the wider community. 

Frighteningly, anyone who is found guilty of animal cruelty similar to this could still pass a Working with Children Check in NSW. Our laws must be updated to reflect the research showing that violence does not discriminate. There is a link between animal abuse and child abuse and we must change our laws to protect both children and animals from anyone who commits acts of abuse.

Earlier this year the Animal Justice Party passed amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 making New South Wales the first state in Australia to impose automatic lifetime animal bans for anyone convicted of serious animal cruelty offences. If this man is found guilty under these provisions, he will never be able to care for or work with animals again – but we need to ensure animal abusers cannot work with children either.

People who are violent are violent. Extensive research shows a strong link between animal and human abuse, suggesting perpetrators commonly recommit acts of violence against humans and animals in the future. Animal cruelty is a serious, violent crime, and it must be punished accordingly. Our laws are woefully out of touch with the current research and the Animal Justice Party is fighting to change that. 

If this man is found guilty, he could be facing up to 5 years jail time. We will be watching this case closely.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSIE RAYNS, 0401 991 792

1 reaction Share

New laws protect animals in strata

MEDIA STATEMENT: 24 AUGUST 2021

New laws spearheaded by Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst will come into effect tomorrow, stopping strata schemes from passing by-laws that unreasonably prevent owners and occupiers from having companion animals.

From 25 August, strata schemes will not be able to impose blanket bans on animals in apartment complexes, and an application to keep an animal can only be refused if it ‘unreasonably interferes with another occupant’s use and enjoyment’ of their property.

 

Please see quotes below from the Hon. Emma Hurst MLC:

Until now, strata complexes in New South Wales have been allowed to have by-laws that prevent people having a companion animal in their care, with nothing stopping strata management from retrospectively creating restrictions for residents who live under a strata scheme. The Animal Justice Party has changed that.

There are many reasons these laws needed to change. Thousands of animals are killed in pounds every year and by-laws were stopping families from rescuing these animals and providing them a safe and loving forever home.

Animal-ban by-laws were even being brought in retrospectively - recently Colin and his greyhound Bu were facing losing their home because of a retrospective by-law that meant Colin couldn't live with Bu in the property he owns.

These new laws will also help some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. Accommodation for victims fleeing violence with animals is one of the major reasons people delay leaving dangerous situations. Over 90% of victims report a lack of animal friendly accommodation as a barrier for fleeing violence and nearly 50% delay leaving because of issues trying to find alternative accommodation with animals.

Strata schemes were also reportedly requiring people to prove that an animal is an assistance animal in contradiction to section 9 of the Disability Discrimination Act.

Animal companionship has dramatically increased during lockdowns and by-laws could have created a threat to many families and animals across NSW if strata schemes were allowed to impose blanket animal bans, leaving families and their animals nowhere to go. 

We are a nation of animal lovers, and our state must become more companion animal friendly- this is the first step. Companion animals are family members and no one should have to face losing their home, especially now while we are still in the midst of a pandemic, simply because of a by-law.

To get the support of the Government, Regulations around the definition of ‘unreasonable’ were created following public consultation. The regulations have just been released: https://legacy.legislation.nsw.gov.au/regulations/2021-464.pdf 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSIE RAYNS, 0401 991 792

1 reaction Share

Man allegedly drowns cat in bin: MP statement on arrest in Coffs Harbour

MEDIA STATEMENT: 23 JULY 2021

Statement from Emma Hurst Animal Justice Party MP in regards to yesterday’s arrest of a Coffs Harbour man who allegedly drowned a cat inside a garbage bin:

“Drowning an animal to death is cruel, thoughtless and unforgivable. This case has caused extreme community outrage - and rightly so. 

“The suffering of any animal drowned to death is unthinkable. It is a painful and frightening death. Animal victims of forced drowning will struggle violently for over a minute. It is death by suffocation and is unjustifiable animal abuse in all circumstances.

“There’s a well-researched link between animal abuse and violence towards humans. Anyone who harms an animal in an aggressive act of cruelty is a danger to other animals and the wider community. 

“Earlier this year the Animal Justice Party passed amendments to the Crimes Act that impose automatic lifetime animal bans for anyone charged for serious animal cruelty offences. If this man is found guilty under these provisions, he will never be able to care for or work with animals again. 

“New South Wales has some of the strongest penalties for animal abuse in the country – if this man is found guilty under the Crimes Act, he could be facing up to 5 years jail time. We will be watching this case closely as it goes through court.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSIE RAYNS, 0401 991 792

1 reaction Share

MP response to arrest over puppy set on fire in Sydney's south

MEDIA STATEMENT: 14 MAY 2021

 

Please see quotes below from Animal Justice Party MP, Emma Hurst in regards a Sydney man in the Liverpool area being arrested today for allegedly setting a six-month old puppy on fire. The puppy has been euthanised due to severe burn injuries.

What happened to this puppy is sickening and unimaginable. I am lost for words. Any person who deliberately sets a puppy on fire is a danger to other animals and our community. But because of the NSW Government’s incompetence, any case of animal cruelty going before the courts right now won’t get proper justice.

The Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall has spent the last 8 weeks sitting on his own legislation to increase penalties for animal cruelty in New South Wales, despite it having cross party support. It is unclear why the Government has failed to take action to pass their own Bill into law, and update our State’s pathetic, outdated penalties for animal abuse. Animal abusers are still facing some of the weakest penalties in Australia- just $5500 for an act of animal cruelty. This does nothing to deter abuse.

People who are violent are violent. Extensive research has shown a strong link between animal and human abuse, suggesting perpetrators commonly recommit acts of violence against humans and animals in the future. Animal cruelty is a serious, violent crime, and it must be punished accordingly. 

Following the Agriculture Minister’s inaction, I will now be moving to bring my own tougher penalties Bill to debate in the next Parliamentary sitting week, so we can ensure animals are being protected by adequate legislation in NSW.  

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSIE RAYNS, 0401 991 792

1 reaction Share

Multi-group protest demands an end to captive dolphin breeding at Sea World

MEDIA RELEASE: 10 APRIL 2021

MULTI-GROUP PROTEST DEMANDS AN END TO CAPTIVE DOLPHIN EXPLOITATION AT SEA WORLD

Animal protection groups say QLD must catch up with the rest of Australia and outlaw the breeding of dolphins for so-called ‘entertainment’

 

What: Protest to end the captive breeding and use of dolphins in circus-style shows by Sea World. 

Who: 50+ local protesters, MP Emma Hurst (Animal Justice Party), Ben Pearson (World Animal Protection), Chay Neal (Animal Liberation Queensland), Angela Banovic (Dolphin Freedom Fighters), Animal Justice Party Queensland.

When: Saturday April 10th, 10am

Where: Sea World, Sea World Drive, Main Beach

Media Opportunities: Footage of chanting protesters with signs and placards, interviews with Emma Hurst MP, Ben Pearson, Chay Neal and Angela Banovic.

 

Animal protection groups are calling on QLD to ban the captive breeding and use of dolphins in circus-style shows, following new laws in NSW that effectively stop dolphin ‘abuse-ment’ parks. QLD is the only state in Australia where these highly intelligent animals are still being bred and born into a life of captivity and forced to perform for human entertainment.

Sea World is reported to have nearly 30 dolphins in captivity - many born and bred in the park - who perform tricks on a daily basis. But with increasing pressure to ban the exploitation of dolphins for human amusement, animal advocates from across Australia say that the days of seeing dolphins perform tricks in artificial pools are numbered.

 

From Emma Hurst MP (Animal Justice Party):

“New South Wales has introduced new laws that ensure the use of dolphins in so-called entertainment is effectively done and dusted. Queensland is now the only state in Australia still breeding dolphins for entertainment and we’re here today to tell the Queensland Government that urgent action is required to protect these animals.

“A dolphin born in captivity today could live for up to 50 years, meaning they could still be in an artificial enclosure being forced to do demeaning tricks in 2070. While NSW is working toward better protections for cetaceans in our state, Sea World on the Gold Coast continues breeding highly intelligent dolphins in artificial pools, so that they can make money from a dwindling number of spectators.

“A NSW Parliamentary inquiry heard that dolphinariums are a dying business model. People simply don’t want to see animals being humiliated. Urgent law reform in needed in Queensland to ensure animals aren’t being born into an industry likely to collapse in the next few years. It is simply irresponsible for the Government to turn a blind eye and not consider what will happen to these dolphins while Sea World loses its social licence.

 

From Ben Pearson (Head of Campaigns, World Animal Protection):

“We want these dolphins at Sea World to be the last generation kept captive for entertainment in Queensland.

“The only other dolphin venue in Australia, Dolphin Marine Conservation Park in New South Wales, recognises the changing public attitudes around dolphin captivity and is working with us and Action for Dolphins to establish a sea sanctuary for their remaining dolphins.

 “This really goes to show that Sea World is out of touch with Australian society and a relic of the past.

 

From Chay Neal (Executive Director, Animal Liberation Queensland):

“Any place forcing animals to perform tricks certainly is not putting the animal's best interests first. The public would be horrified to know that over its 49 years of operation it has been estimated that hundreds of animals have died at Sea World. Disturbingly, no one will ever know the real number of casualties because Sea World isn’t required disclose this information – even to the Government.

“Sea World needs to get with the times. Animals have no place in captivity and there is no captive facility that can meet the natural behavioural needs of these animals. If Sea World had any credibility they would be well aware of this, cease their captive breeding program, only take in legitimate rescues where there is no other option, and none of these dolphins would be forced to perform for the public.

 

From Angela Banovic (Campaigner, Dolphin Freedom Fighters):

“Captive dolphins display aggressive and stereotypical behaviour unseen in the wild, including self-harm. These behaviours are evidence of the high stress levels these intelligent animals experience in captivity. The Queensland Government needs to catch up with the rest of Australia and recognise dolphins do not exist for our entertainment. It’s time to empty the tanks. 

“It's 2021, the Australian public no longer wish to see wild animals being bred and used for entertainment purposes. Bottlenose dolphins are not threatened in nature therefore breeding dolphins is unethical, exploitative and completely unnecessary.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSIE RAYNS, 0401 991 792

1 reaction Share

Media Statement: MP calls for stringent bestiality laws following further arrests

MEDIA STATEMENT: 26 MARCH 2021

 

Yesterday morning two men in NSW were arrested and will be facing charges of bestiality, animal cruelty, and distributing child abuse material. Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst is calling on the NSW Government to recognise the link between bestiality and child abuse and introduce tougher laws to protect children and animals.

Please see quotes below from Animal Justice Party MP, Emma Hurst:

“Research has shown that people who enjoy animal cruelty are likely involved in other criminal activity including child abuse and child pornography. It doesn’t surprise me that men being charged for distributing child abuse materials were also involved in bestiality.

“Our laws in NSW are too weak in this space and need urgent review. Anyone who aggressively harms or sexually abuses an animal is a danger to the community, children, and other animals. 

“Under our current laws animal abusers convicted of bestiality can still care or work with animals, and the distribution of bestiality material isn’t even illegal. 

"Despite more than 139 recorded incidents of bestiality in NSW since 2000, there have been no animal bans as a result of a conviction. This simply isn’t good enough. We should be protecting animals from known perpetrators by ensuring anyone found guilty of the most heinous acts of abuse have no future access to animals.

“It sickens me to know that under our current laws these men could still legally be able to care for and work with animals, and go on to repeat these heinous acts. 

“By outlawing the possession of bestiality material, and banning perpetrators from having further animals in their care, we can protect animals and give the police the powers necessary to investigate and charge the sick individuals who find the suffering of others sexually gratifying.

"Recently, the NSW Upper House supported an Animal Justice Party provision that would ensure any person convicted of bestiality, or the most serious animal cruelty offences, would receive a mandatory, lifelong ban on caring for an animal. Shockingly, it was not supported by Government.

“It is cases like this that reveal how urgently these laws are needed so that we can ensure animals are protected in this state. I hope the Government has a change of heart and agrees to protect animals from bestiality offenders.  

"Shockingly the men arrested today may not be charged for distributing bestiality footage, because there is no specific offence in NSW that makes it illegal to possess or distribute this disgusting material. This is a dangerous gap in our laws that I am calling on the Government to urgently fix.

"These arrests make clear the link between animal abuse and child abuse. Violence does not discriminate, and those who abuse animals are a danger to others. The NSW Government must support our amendments ensuring mandatory animal bans for bestiality convictions, and update our laws to make the possession and distribution of bestiality footage a crime.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSIE RAYNS, 0401 991 792

1 reaction Share

Breaking: NSW set to become the toughest state on animal cruelty penalties

MEDIA RELEASE: 18 MARCH 2021

BREAKING: NSW SET TO BECOME TOUGHEST STATE ON ANIMAL CRUELTY PENALTIES

UPPER HOUSE PASSES ADDITIONAL MANDATORY ‘ANIMAL BAN’ AMENDMENTS 

 

Legislation drastically increasing penalties for animal abuse has just passed through the NSW Upper House, including amendments by Animal Justice Party MLC Emma Hurst that would ensure individuals convicted of bestiality or serious animal cruelty receive mandatory lifelong animal bans.

This will be the toughest crack-down on animal cruelty New South Wales has ever seen,” said Ms Hurst.

The Upper House supported our Animal Justice Party amendment that would ensure any person convicted of bestiality, or the most serious animal cruelty offences, would receive a mandatory, lifelong ban on caring for an animal.

Anyone who aggressively harms or sexually abuses an animal is a danger to the community and other animals. No animal should remain in their so-called care”.

There have been no animal bans in NSW as a result of a conviction of bestiality. This simply isn’t good enough. We should be protecting animals from known perpetrators by ensuring anyone found guilty of the most heinous acts of abuse have no future access to animals.

“Shockingly the Government did not support this amendment in the Upper House. We are hopeful the Government will reconsider their position, and support this amendment in the Lower House,” said Ms Hurst.

The Animal Justice Party also passed an amendment that ensured that interim court orders could be made (prior to conviction) to stop a person having animals in their care.

“We are aware of a case in NSW that has been dragged through the courts for years. This man obtained more animals - and actually continued to run a petting zoo - while being prosecuted for serious animal cruelty offences. This amendment will protect animals before courts finalise their proceedings,” said Ms Hurst

 

Upper House supports Government crackdown on animal cruelty

The Government’s legislation, which closely mimics legislation tabled by Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst just weeks prior, provides massive eight-fold increases in animal abuse penalties. Ms Hurst welcomes the Government’s legislation which passed the Upper House today, saying it recognises animal abuse as a serious crime.

Our state’s penalties were woefully out of touch for far too long. With a maximum of $5500 for an act of animal abuse, court imposed penalties rarely fit the crime,” continued Ms Hurst.

“In the past few months we’ve seen pathetic penalties including a $700 fine for viciously stabbing a dog to death, a $900 fine for the abuse of 13 cows, and an $850 fine for throwing a 10 week old kitten across a yard.

These weak penalties did nothing to deter future abuse. These penalty increases send a strong message to abusers that animal cruelty will not be tolerated,” said Ms Hurst.

The legislation, with Animal Justice Party amendments, will now go to the Legislative Assembly before becoming law.

 

Government proposed penalty changes supported by Upper House:

  • Cruelty – increased from $5,500 fine to $44,000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment for individuals and $220,000 for corporations for each individual act of cruelty;
  • Aggravated Cruelty –  increased from $22,000 fine to $110,000 and/or 2 years’ imprisonment for individuals and $550,000 for corporations for each individual act;
  • Fail to Provide Food & Shelter – Increased from $5,500 fine to $16,500 and/or six months’ imprisonment for individuals and $82,500 for corporations for each individual act.
  • Interim Disqualification Orders introduced.

 

Animal Justice Party Amendments Passed in Upper House:

  • Amendment to interim disqualification orders which will ensure that animals in the care of abusers awaiting trial can be removed.
  • Mandatory prohibitions on owning or working with an animal for individuals convicted of animal cruelty offences under the NSW Crimes Act, including bestiality.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSIE RAYNS, 0401 991 792

1 reaction Share

New regulations end breeding of dolphins for entertainment in NSW

MEDIA RELEASE: 26 FEBRUARY 2021 

NEW REGULATIONS END BREEDING OF DOLPHINS FOR ENTERTAINMENT IN NSW

MP says the days of seeing dolphins performing humiliating tricks in a backyard pool are numbered

 

Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst has welcomed new regulations introduced by the NSW Environment Minister, which will effectively stop any future dolphin ‘abuse-ment’ park from setting up in NSW and end the breeding of cetaceans for commercial purposes. 

The Regulations come off the back of an Upper House Parliamentary inquiry where Ms Hurst served as Deputy Chair. The inquiry confirmed dolphinariums are a dying business model, and made recommendations that the NSW Government effectively end the breeding of dolphins in entertainment venues.

“With these regulations the abuse of dolphins in so-called entertainment is effectively done and dusted in New South Wales. There will be no more dolphins spending their lives held captive and forced to perform humiliating circus-style tricks for a dwindling number of spectators,” said Ms Hurst.

“These regulations were urgently needed to ensure no more animals are being born into a collapsing industry. A dolphin born today could live for up to 50 years, meaning they could still be in a dolphinarium in 2070.

“New South Wales is sending a strong message to Sea World on the Gold Coast that they are never welcome to set up here in our state. With these new regulations, Queensland is now the only state in Australia still breeding dolphins for entertainment and it’s becoming a global embarrassment.

“There is now only one remaining dolphin park in New South Wales - Dolphin Marine Conservation Park in Coffs Harbour. During our inquiry, operators of this facility indicated they support an end to breeding in New South Wales and have publicly recognised that dolphin shows are no longer supported by the community.

“Given these new regulations around breeding from the Government, we are very hopeful that they will also agree to the inquiry’s recommendation to support a feasibility study into what could be a world first sea sanctuary to retire the remaining dolphins in New South Wales. 

“We now have the opportunity to give these dolphins a vestige of the life that was stolen from them – and these new regulations will ensure no other animal is ever put in their place.

“After so many years of allowing exploitation, it’s encouraging that New South Wales is listening to experts and the community, and finally catching up with the global movement to protect these animals.

“The writing is on the wall – these animals were not born to perform. They do not exist for our entertainment. They deserve a life worth living, and New South Wales has recognised this with these new regulations,” said Ms Hurst.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

2 reactions Share

79 dogs seized in NSW puppy farm raid

MEDIA STATEMENT: 25 FEBRUARY 2021

 

A puppy farm has been raided in Central West NSW following reports of alleged breaches to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. 79 dogs have been seized and are receiving veterinary treatment from the RSPCA.

Please see quotes below from Animal Justice Party MP, Emma Hurst:

“A puppy farm involves the intensive factory farming of dogs to supply the pet trade industry. Dogs are often forced to pump out litter after litter until their bodies can no longer cope. The NSW Government has failed to outlaw this vile industry. While it remains legal, dogs in this industry will continue to suffer. 

“I wish this was a one-off case - but many puppy farmers are charged with animal cruelty offences. It simply isn’t good enough. We must make puppy farming illegal in this state otherwise cases of animal abuse will continue to arise.

“Anybody who inflicts harm on animal is a danger to other animals and the community.

“Following a Victorian ban on puppy farming, we are seeing a surge of puppy farmers moving across the border into New South Wales. While the Minister fails to act, we are quickly becoming the puppy farming capital of Australia.

“As long as the NSW Government allows puppy farming to remain legal, this cruelty will continue.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

1 reaction Share