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

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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

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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

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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

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Massive 300+ dog 'puppy farm' plans set up in NSW

MEDIA RELEASE: 15 FEBRUARY 2021

MASSIVE 300+ DOG ‘PUPPY FARM’ PLANS SET UP IN NSW: PUPPY FARMERS PUSHED OUT OF VIC FLOOD INTO NSW

 

Former Family First candidate Ashley Fenn, who reportedly owned an illegal puppy farm site in VIC, has been revealed as the applicant for a planned 300+ dog puppy farm in Moama, NSW. 

The development application for the facility – which is expected to house up to 200 dogs and 120 puppies – has been opened for public submissions by Murray River Council. Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst says massive puppy farms like this are flooding into NSW where our weak laws do nothing to stop the intensive factory farming of dogs.

“Our worst fears have become a reality. Following a Victorian ban on puppy farming, we are seeing a surge of dubious breeders coming across the border into New South Wales,” said Ms Hurst.

“Mr Fenn was the owner of a property in Victoria that housed an illegal puppy farm. The manager of the facility was convicted of animal cruelty and banned from operating a domestic animal business for 10 years. Now that puppy farming is banned in Victoria, it seems Mr Fenn has come to set up shop in New South Wales. 

“A puppy farm is 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. 

“As long as the NSW Government allows puppy farming to remain legal, intensive dog breeders will continue to cross the border and set up in our state. That is why I have tabled legislation in Parliament to ban the intensive factory farming of dogs. We must ensure companion animals in New South Wales have the same protections as they do across the border.

“Murray River Council have already approved the development of multiple puppy farms last year, including one right across the road from Mr Fenn’s proposed site. With more and more puppy farmers moving into our state, Moama is fast becoming the puppy farming capital of New South Wales.

“As I continue to push for urgently needed law reform to stop this legalised form of animal cruelty, Murray River Council must listen to the community and stop this disgusting development from going ahead,” said Ms Hurst.

Oscar’s Law, Australia’s leading charity campaigning to ending puppy farming, was previously involved in the investigation into the illegal VIC puppy farm associated with Mr Fenn’s property in 2018. 

“The application for this puppy factory is a very clear example of why we need nationally consistent puppy farming legislation. As strong new laws take effect in Victoria, it is easy for puppy farmers to simply cross the border to New South Wales and carry on exploiting dogs,” said Georgie Purcell, President of Oscar’s Law.

“The applicant for this Moama-based puppy factory was previously linked to a Victorian-based puppy factory, which had over 70 dogs and cats living in neglect and the manager subsequently charged with cruelty – including failing to provide veterinary care. 

“Oscar’s Law is joining with Emma Hurst to call on Murray River Council to make a compassionate decision for dogs. It would be simply irresponsible to allow this puppy factory to proceed,” said Ms Purcell.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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Investigation find thousands of animal "crush" fetish videos in Australia sparking calls for new laws

MEDIA RELEASE: 28 JANUARY 2021

INVESTIGATION FINDS THOUSANDS OF ANIMAL “CRUSH” FETISH VIDEOS IN AUSTRALIA SPARKING CALLS FOR NEW LAWS

 

Animal crush or animal ‘snuff’ videos are sexualised fetish videos involving the torture, crushing and killing of animals. A recent investigation found thousands of crush videos easily available for Australians to buy, download, save, watch and trade. Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst says new laws must be introduced. 

“While the act of bestiality and crushing of animals is illegal, there is NO specific offence in NSW which makes it illegal to possess or distribute bestiality or animal crush footage or images,” said Ms Hurst.

“We hired an open source investigator to find out how much of an ‘issue’ this was in Australia- and what we found was shocking.

"There are thousands of these fetish videos depicting the crushing and killing of kittens, puppies, dogs, baby chicks, snakes, rabbits, pigs, mice, ducklings, fish and insects,” said Ms Hurst.

Numerous websites, and even social media channels were identified for hosting or promoting crush videos, including one titled, “DreamCrush Australia”.

“By outlawing the possession of this graphic material, we can give police the powers necessary to investigate and charge the sick individuals who find the suffering of others sexually gratifying,” continued Ms Hurst.

“Research has shown that people who enjoy animal cruelty are likely involved in other criminal activity including child abuse and child pornography. Creating this new offence will give the police greater ability to prosecute people involved in both child and animal abuse, and could help obtain stronger sentences.

“I have been involved in animal protection for a long time and I’ve seen a lot of animal cruelty, but these videos depict some of the worst things I have ever witnessed. Our laws should protect animals from these vile zoosadists- currently they do not. 

“This must be made a crime. I actually can’t believe that possessing and trading in these videos is currently legal. I’ll be taking the findings from this investigation to the Attorney General’s office,” said Ms Hurst.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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Protest to protect remaining Stockton Breakwall cats

MEDIA RELEASE: 13 JANUARY 2021

TOMORROW: PROTEST TO PROTECT REMAINING STOCKTON BREAKWALL CATS

 

Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst will be headlining a protest calling on the Port of Newcastle to protect the remaining cats residing at the Stockton Breakwall, and guarantee there will be no further bloodbaths. Over 150 local community members have indicated they will attend the protest.

The protest action follows a disastrously botched attempt to shoot and kill the cats in December last year. The Port of Newcastle admit to commissioning the kill that community cat carers say left the animals maimed and bloodied.

“Last year a Rambo-style shooting operation ordered by the Port of Newcastle left cats with open gun-shot wounds and permanently blinded. We can’t allow this horrendous bloodbath to happen again,” said Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst.

“We are protesting to demand that the Port of Newcastle makes a public commitment for no further carnage.”

While another kill has reportedly been postponed, the local community say that last year’s cruelty was unforgivable and cannot be repeated. At the time of issuing this release, the Port of Newcastle has not publicly stated whether it will be proceeding with further kills.

“Last year’s massacre was cruel, thoughtless and utterly unnecessary. I understand there is an ongoing investigation for breaches to animal cruelty legislation. It’s unthinkable that the Port of Newcastle would ever consider going ahead with further killing” said Ms Hurst.

“The authorities should be very seriously considering a prosecution for animal cruelty. Many of these cats were reportedly left injured and alive suffering for an extended period of time. We stand united today against the atrocity and cruelty that occurred last year, and in demanding this does not happen again.

“These cats are being looked after and cared for by locals in the community. Several had already been removed from the breakwall and given homes. Many of the Stockton Breakwall cats have been desexed and microchipped as part of a long-running, responsible trap-neuter- return and care (TNR) program. There is simply no justifiable reason to kill them.

“The Government should be supporting community cat carers running trap-neuter-return and care programs. Overseas, these programs have proven to be humane and effective ways to reduce the number of homeless cats. I’ll be calling for funding and legislative changes that will support TNR programs in Parliament once it resumes in February" said Ms Hurst.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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MP condemns Stockton Breakwall cat shooting

MEDIA STATEMENT: 19 DECEMBER 2020

 

Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst is calling on the authorities to urgently investigate cruelty claims in regards to the Port of Newcastle shooting of the Stockton Breakwall Cats. 

“I’m hearing reports from concerned locals that cats have been shot in the head and blinded, but left alive with gaping wounds. This sounds like a horrendous bloodbath and it’s simply not enough that the Port of Newcastle is conducting their own internal investigation. The authorities must step in and investigate possible breaches to our animal protection laws. 

“It’s unthinkable that the Port of Newcastle funded what appears to be a Rambo-style shooting operation on these colony cats.

“These cats were part of a responsible trap, neuter, return and care program. They were being fed and looked after by caring locals. This massacre was cruel, thoughtless and utterly unnecessary. 

“Locals who cared for these cats have reported that they found many cats alive Friday morning with open gunshot wounds. The suffering of these sentient beings would be immeasurable- and someone has to take responsibility for this careless and cruel act.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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Captive dolphin entertainment could come to an end following NSW inquiry

MEDIA RELEASE: 14 DECEMBER 2020

CAPTIVE DOLPHIN ENTERTAINMENT COULD COME TO AN END FOLLOWING NSW INQUIRY

 

Today a NSW Upper House committee report on the use of captive cetaceans for entertainment has confirmed that the industry in NSW is a dying business model, making recommendations that the NSW Government end the breeding of dolphins for commercial purposes, and  provide assistance for the feasibility of a sea sanctuary to retire the three remaining dolphins in captive entertainment in NSW.

The committee’s Deputy Chair, Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst, says the report reflects that dolphinariums are an outdated industry no longer supported by the community.

“Today’s report clearly recognises that the use of cetaceans for so called ‘entertainment’ is not accepted in NSW,” said Ms Hurst.

“The Committee has called on the Government to support moves to retire the three remaining captive dolphins who currently reside at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park in Coffs Harbour to a world first sea sanctuary, and to place new restrictions on the breeding of dolphins in captivity, effectively ending their use in entertainment businesses.

“Together these recommendations would effectively end the exploitation of dolphins in NSW and stop ‘abuse-ment parks’ like Sea World setting up in NSW.

“The Committee also recommended additional funding be provided for marine rescue and rehabilitation efforts, transforming NSW from being one of the least to one of the most dolphin-friendly states in Australia.

“These recommendations come off the back of a weight of evidence from animal welfare experts, academics, scientists and the general public, all calling for an end to the exploitation of dolphins in NSW.

“During the inquiry we heard from experts that captive dolphins display aggressive and stereotypical behaviour that is unseen in the wild. These behaviours are evidence of high stress levels in captivity.

“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 this Inquiry has established that dolphinarium industries can never provide this.

“The Upper House inquiry followed a ban on the use of cetaceans for entertainment in Canada, and the Inquiry heard that Victoria had similar regulations ensuring protection of these animals. 

“After so many years of allowing exploitation, it is my hope that the State Government will follow the recommendations of the committee. The recommendations had the support of animal protection groups, as well as the last remaining dolphinarium in NSW.

“No animal should have to spend their life being held captive and forced to perform humiliating tricks for a dwindling number of spectators. Today’s report makes clear that there is cross-party support for better protection laws for dolphins in NSW. It’s time to empty the tanks,” said Ms Hurst.

 

Summary of report recommendations regarding captive dolphins in NSW:

  • That the NSW Government provide support to the Dolphin Marine Conservation Park, Action for Dolphins and World Animal Protection, to enable the completion of a feasibility study into relocating the dolphins at the marine park to a sea sanctuary.
  • The NSW Government consider applying limitations on the breeding of cetaceans which allow for breeding or conservation purposes.
  • The NSW Government consider providing financial assistance to support marine rescue and rehabilitation work in NSW.

 

FULL REPORT HERE: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2555#tab-reportsandgovernmentresponses 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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Penalties for animal abuse set to drastically increase in NSW

MEDIA RELEASE: 9 NOVEMBER 2020

BREAKING: PENALTIES FOR ANIMAL ABUSE SET TO DRASTICALLY INCREASE IN NSW

 

Following a spate of weak fines in NSW for acts of animal abuse, Animal Justice Party MLC Emma Hurst will introduce new legislation increasing penalties for animal cruelty offences in NSW Parliament tomorrow. 

“Our tough crack down on animal cruelty has got the Government’s attention, and their support,” said Ms Hurst.

“NSW currently has some of the weakest penalties for animal cruelty in Australia. We’ve seen countless perpetrators receiving nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Recently a puppy basher received a fine of just $600, and a man who beat a mother ringtail possum to death received no fine or jail time. This has to urgently change.

“Currently an act of animal cruelty in NSW faces a maximum fine of just $5,500 and/or 6-months imprisonment. In Victoria the same act of abuse has a maximum fine of $40,000 and/or 1 year imprisonment. 

“My legislation will take New South Wales from being one of the softest states on animal cruelty, to one of the toughest. This new legislation will include mandatory minimum penalties, and an increase in maximum penalties to $55,000 and/or up to 1-year’s imprisonment for an individual act of animal cruelty.

“This legislation will also ensure that any person convicted of bestiality, or aggravated or serious animal cruelty will receive a mandatory, lifelong ban on caring for an animal,” said Ms Hurst.

As recently as September, the Government indicated it would not increase penalties anytime soon – despite having strong support from the community, RSPCA, Animal Welfare League and NSW Police to do so.

However, following Ms Hurst successfully passing a motion calling for tougher penalties in the NSW Upper House on October 21 and announcing her intention to table legislation in November, the Government has indicated they will bring in their own legislation this week, similar to that proposed by the Animal Justice Party. 

“Only after we passed our notice of motion and announced our legislation, has the Government decided to take action,” continued Ms Hurst.

“While we are yet to see a copy of Minister Marshall’s bill, we welcome the Government finally taking action on this important issue. 

“Animal cruelty is a serious, violent crime and must be punished accordingly. If the Government’s legislation does not go far enough we will seek to amend it to ensure that NSW have the toughest penalties across the country. 

“We need a ‘no tolerance’ stance to animal abuse in this state. Given the NSW Parliament will now be considering both Animal Justice Party and Government legislation on this issue, we are confident there will be major changes in this space and better protection laws for animals,” said Ms Hurst.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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