Covid-19 and Animal Agribusiness Adjournment Speech

The global outbreak of COVID-19 has caused the deaths of almost 100 Australians and many more people around the world. It has changed the way we live, the way we work and the way we interact with each other. The coronavirus is suspected to have come from wet markets, where animals are held in filthy and stressful conditions. But it is not the first zoonotic disease to come from animals forced to live in filthy conditions. According to the United States of America Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 75 per cent of new and emerging infectious diseases come from animals. This should come as no surprise to us—think of bird flu, mad cow disease, severe acute respiratory disease, swine flu and Middle East respiratory syndrome. Every major outbreak over the past 50 years has been a zoonotic disease caused by the confinement and consumption of animals. It hardly seems a coincidence that "coronavirus" is an anagram of "carnivorous".

Before we point the finger of blame overseas, we need to take a serious look in our own backyard. In Australia we conduct the largest land-based slaughter of wildlife in the world—the commercial kangaroo meat industry. Every day wild kangaroos are shot in the remote bushland, decapitated, and dragged onto the back of trucks and transported up to eight hours before being refrigerated. Joeys are bludgeoned to death or left to starve. This industry has been linked to serious diseases like toxoplasmosis and salmonella. The risk does not end with Australia's wildlife trade. Animal agribusiness operations all over the country have thousands of animals living in cramped confinement and squalor. Pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys and other animals are often forced to live in their own waste and the built-up excrement from thousands of other animals. In these conditions, they become the perfect vectors for disease.

For years scientists have warned that the animal agribusiness industry is a breeding ground for new antibiotic-resistant "superbugs". The living environments for animals at animal agribusiness facilities are so revolting that these animals are regularly fed antibiotics just to keep them alive. This regular antibiotic use can cause superbugs. It also causes human antibiotic resistance. While viruses like COVID-19 cannot be treated with antibiotics, there are many health complications that can be treated with them, but our increased use in animal agribusiness and secondary consumption from eating animal flesh is building a resistance to this treatment and risking human health. With those kinds of putrid conditions it is no wonder we have seen clusters of the coronavirus at a meatworks in Victoria, as well as similar facilities in the United States, Canada, Spain and Ireland.

Now more than ever we need to recognise that the disrespectful treatment of animals has consequences. There is no need to continue to support outdated, cruel, environmentally disastrous and human health risking animal agribusiness practices. The future of food is plant based. As Australia isone of the fastest growing markets for plant-based proteins, we have the unique opportunity to be at the forefront of this change.

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1080 Poison Members Statement

This Government's decision to drop one million 1080 baits across New South Wales is killing our native wildlife. In a letter signed by 24 scientists from across Australia, experts highlighted how this appalling plan poses an unacceptable risk to native carnivores, including quolls, dingoes and monitor lizards, all of which have already been impacted by the catastrophic bushfires. To add to their threat to survival is unconscionable. The 1080 bait is not only incredibly inhumane—causing any animal unfortunate enough to ingest it to vomit, shake, scream, spasm and writhe in excruciating pain for up to four days before dying—but also indiscriminate in the carnage it creates. Anybody who claims to be dedicated to protecting native animals must hear this: Extensive research has shown that native species are not immune to 1080 and are especially vulnerable to the poison in south-eastern Australia.

Not only are native animals at extreme risk of being poisoned by the 1080 baits dropped in their thousands across our national parks, but it was also revealed in the letter received by all members that these animals are being deliberately targeted. Dingoes—animals that have lived in Australia for more 4,000 years—are being baited and killed under the guise of being "wild dogs". Last year the University of New South Wales published research that revealed that the majority of dingoes killed in our State are genetically pure. If people are serious about taking action to protect native animals and threatened species, they will support our call for a moratorium on the activities that are really threatening native animals such as logging, deforestation and the right-to-harm native animal permits that are all still currently active despite the enormous loss of more than a billion animals in the bushfire season.

As Australians remain distraught over the unprecedented number of wild animals that have perished in the past month, it is time to look towards a kinder and more humane option. Now more than ever we need to be looking at the latest ecological research to find new, sustainable ways to manage the relationship between humans, native animals and non-native animals in the wild. Ecologists are increasingly recognising that eliminating non‑native species, particularly those that have been around for many years, can be counterproductive. Demonising non-native species ignores some of the benefits that these animals can bring to ecosystems and, conversely, some of the unintended harm that might occur if they are suddenly removed—particularly in this fragile, bushfire-ravaged environment. Making rash decisions to kill animals, fuelled by green xenophobia, is not the answer.

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Drought: What Every Australian Can Do

DROUGHT: What Every Australian Can Do.

It takes approximately 20 times more water to produce a kilogram of beef than it does a kilogram of rice, fruit or vegetables. Transitioning to a plant-based agricultural system is essential to reducing our water usage. Every Australian can do their part to conserve water by adopting a plant-based diet.

Posted by Emma Hurst - Animal Justice Party MP on Monday, March 9, 2020

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Animal Agribusiness is a Leading Form of Climate Change

Animal agribusiness is a leading cause of climate change

Australians everywhere have been shattered by the cost of the climate emergency, and it is time someone stood up in the halls of Parliament and called out one of the industries with the most responsibility: the animal agribusiness industry. On this day in Parliament we have encouraged all Australians to adopt a plant based diet to mitigate the effects of climate change. Indeed, a vegan diet is the greatest action any of us can take as an individual to mitigate climate change. #climateemergency #nswpol

Posted by Emma Hurst - Animal Justice Party MP on Tuesday, February 25, 2020

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The NSW Government Must Place A Moratorium On Licences To Harm

The NSW Government must place a moratorium on licences to harm protected native animals

We have called out the callous slaughter of 150 cockatoos at an Albury golf course. These birds were slaughtered simply for daring to exist. Too many animals have perished in the recent bushfires and drought. There was no reason for this knee-jerk and thoughtless action. The saddest part is, this could have been avoided if the Government had put a moratorium on all Licence to Harm Native Animal Permits following the devastating loss from the bushfires. Sign our petition so no more callous 'Rambo' shooting operations take place: The death of these animals must not go unnoticed.

Posted by Emma Hurst - Animal Justice Party MP on Tuesday, February 25, 2020

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Duck Hunting Announced In Victoria

Duck hunting announced in Victoria

With the horrifying news that the Victorian Government has approved cruel duck shooting to go ahead in May, I have demanded to know how our government will ensure ducks fleeing from shooters in Victoria will be safe from slaughter across the border here in NSW. Watch what the government has to say here. #banduckshooting

Posted by Emma Hurst - Animal Justice Party MP on Tuesday, February 25, 2020

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Logging in State Forests Still Continuing Despite Mega Fires

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Ensuring Strong Penalties for the Sexual Abuse of Animals

Ensuring strong penalties for the sexual abuse of animals

A Government Bill debated yesterday could have seen sexual abuse of an animal (bestiality) be treated as a summary offence which would reduce the maximum penalty from 14 years imprisonment to just 2 years. After the AJP raised our concerns with the Government, this amendment was removed and the offence now remains with a maximum penalty of 14 years. Sexual abuse of an animal is always wrong, and is often accompanied by death and pain for the animal. That’s why we worked with the NSW Government to ensure this change wasn't made. With your help, we are making sure animals are considered in every law. #nswpol #animalrights #animalprotection #EndAnimalCruelty #TougherPenalties

Posted by Emma Hurst - Animal Justice Party MP on Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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Banning Fur in NSW


With Andy Meddick MP and FOUR PAWS Australia we are calling on our state Premiers to lead the way and ban the sale of fur. The NSW Upper House already voted in favor of my motion to condemn the cruel fur industry- now let's take it a step further and end this cruelty for good! It is time for a Fur Free Australia! Who's with me? 🐶🐺🐇

Posted by Emma Hurst - Animal Justice Party MP on Monday, November 25, 2019

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The NSW Government must support native animals following the bushfire crisis

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