Rise Up Australia believes everyone has a responsibility to treat animals with dignity, without cruelty or exploitation. In the words of politician and writer Joseph Addison (1672-1719), “true benevolence or compassion extends itself through the whole of existence and sympathizes with distress of every living creature capable of sensation.” (1)(2)
We acknowledge that opinions in the community vary significantly on this controversial subject but are committed to working with farmers, hunters and animal rights activists to achieve ‘best practice’ as well as find a reasonable compromise where conflict exists.
The definition of animal welfare from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is:
How an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress.
Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter (3).
Rise Up Australia believes that animal farmers can run profitable businesses without cruelty to animals if the right education programs are established and sufficient legislation guarding animal welfare is introduced and enforced.
Voluntary codes of conduct are ineffective because they rely too heavily on the goodness of people who have vested financial interests in ignoring the suffering of animals or who may not be aware of alternative farming practices that are cruelty-free (4). Laws need to be strengthened, backed up with education programs, especially where changes are required in long-standing practices.
We believe there needs to be greater work done to legislate in the areas of battery hen farming, sow stalls, breeding practices, cosmetic manufacturing/labelling, bestiality legislation and research into the link between animal abuse and child abuse/domestic violence.
Under current laws, hens can be held captive in a cage the size of an A4 piece of paper, comparable to putting a human in a cage the size of a port-a-loo, to harvest ‘cage eggs’. (5) There are more than 11 million hens in Australia living in this condition where they can’t stretch their wings, suffer nerve damage, deformed or fractured bones, lesions and symptoms of severe distress.(6)(7)
Rise Up Australia proposes we follow the lead of countries such as Switzerland to ban the production, import, export and sale of battery hen eggs in favour of free range eggs. (8)
We understand that there is a financial cost to transitioning to a free range system for battery hen farmers but we believe that this is outweighed by the ethical imperative to do the right thing. To ease financial pressure on farmers, we support subsidies for the removal and disposal of cages via recycling facilities as well as the renovation of facilities to support the transition to free range farms.
Similar to the battery hen debate, pigs raised in sow stalls to produce pork products can suffer in crates or cages barely bigger than their body and may suffer tail docking, tooth extraction and castration without any pain relief. (9)
Rise Up Australia supports bans on the production, import, export and sale of sow stall pig meat in favour of free range farming and similar to our stance on battery hens, subsidies for removal of cages and transitions to alternative farming practices.
We believe that farming practices must be humane in the transportation, housing, movement and slaughter of animals and must be carried out by trained staff using methods that minimise suffering.
Slaughter and pre-slaughter methods that cause severe pain and stress in animals, such as breaking legs or cutting leg tendons to immobilise the animal as well as slitting throats and severing the spinal cord/brain stem without prior stunning should be banned. (10)
RUA believes that religious-affiliated practices, such as halal slaughter or voodoo ritual bloodletting, does not qualify an individual, group, farmer or commercial operator for exemption from national standards designed to guard the welfare of animals.(11)(12)
It is worth noting on this subject that distress in animals releases toxins into the body that may find their way into meat consumed by humans or pets with the potential to cause sickness—another good reason to ensure slaughtering practices minimise pain and suffering. (13)
We support a clamp down on unethical backyard breeders to ensure that animals are bred for profit by registered breeders only in ways that do not cause them pain or suffering.
Rise Up Australia also supports a crackdown on illegal breeders who avoid proper legislative requirements, such as council by-laws, to provide the necessary conditions for cruelty-free breeding. They might earn tax-free income by failing to declare earnings to the Australian Taxation Office and misuse the medical services of charity animal hospitals to subsidise their illegal breeding. (14)
To shut down the oversupply of puppies and kittens which are dumped into animal shelters, we will legislate that dogs and cats can only be sold desexed unless the owner receives council approval to breed and they must be vaccinated prior to sale.
In addition, we would like a cap on the number of litters a dog or cat can produce before a mandatory requirement of desexing must be implemented. This is designed to prevent the situation where females in puppy factories, for example, must bear and suckle multiple litters their whole lives until their bodies are ragged, then abandoned or put down because they are considered useless to the breeder.(15)
Cruelty Free Cosmetics
We believe tightening of laws surrounding the labelling of ‘cruelty-free’ cosmetics will be important to help inform consumers when purchasing cosmetic and skin care products.
Currently, the term ‘cruelty-free’ is used on packaging where the end product might not have been tested on animals but they are benefiting from the science of using ingredients tested on animals by another manufacturer in earlier years. We believe labels should be clear in this matter. (16)(17)
Rise Up Australia believes that the sexualisation of animals is abhorrent and oppose bestiality and other forms of zoophilia. (18)(19)
To stamp out these detestable acts of animal cruelty, we would like to see the introduction of mandatory jail time and rehabilitation programs for adult offenders as well as listing on a sexual offenders register.
For those refusing to participate in rehabilitation, further jail time and fines will be imposed. We believe it is important to rehabilitate offenders, rather than just to punish illegal acts, to produce better long-term outcomes.
We support an automatic life ban on owning, breeding and living in the same property with animals for those found guilty of bestiality. This would extend to those running, working or attending ‘animal brothels’, a.k.a. ‘erotic zoos’, as well as those manufacturing, downloading and/or distributing ‘animal pornography’ where sexual acts between animals and humans are depicted, inferred or encouraged.(20)(21)
Animal Abuse-Child Abuse Link
Rise Up Australia recognises the link between animal abuse and family violence/child abuse and supports early intervention to prevent future offending and escalation of behaviour.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation research into ‘imprisoned serial killers suggested that most had killed or tortured animals before killing people. Other research has shown consistent patterns of more common forms of violence, including child abuse, spousal abuse, and elder abuse’. (22)
We support the development and introduction of legislation to trigger mandatory police referrals of children, young people and adults suspected of animal abuse to government and community agencies who run child abuse and family violence counselling and prevention programs. These must be triaged to place priority on those at the most severe end of the spectrum.
In tackling this issue, we understand that there are complexities in the circumstances, past and present, which may have contributed to a child or teenager acting out in this manner. They might be victims of abuse themselves, witnessed animal abuse or been exposed to offensive images but we are committed to effective treatment and rehabilitation programs.
Rise Up Australia supports:
(1) Good Reads (website), http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/440845-true-benevolence-or-compassion-extends-itself-through-the-whole-of , retrieved 4 October 2014.
(2) The National Register of Archives (UK), http://apps.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/searches/subjectView.asp?ID=P194 , retrieved 4 October 2014.
(3) ‘Proposed Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines: Sheep’ Consultation Regulation Impact Paper, page 17, published March 2013, Animal Health Australia.
(4) ‘Codes of Cruelty’, Animals Australia, http://www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/codes-of-cruelty.php , retrieved 4 October 2014.
(5) ‘Could You Live Like This?’ Hens Deserve Better website, RSPCA Australia, http://www.hensdeservebetter.org.au/the-story.html, retrieved 4 October 2014.
(6) ‘Battery Hens’, Voiceless: The Animal Protection Institute, http://www.voiceless.org.au/the-issues/battery-hens, retrieved 4 October 2014.
(7) ‘Hen Behaviour’, Hens Deserve Better website, RSPCA Australia, http://www.hensdeservebetter.org.au/the-details/behaviour.html, retrieved 4 October 2014.
(8) Ondine, Sherman. ‘Cracks Appear for Factory Farming’, Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/cracks-appear-for-factory-farming-20090817-ene4.html 17 August 2009.
(9) ‘Lucent documentary on Australian pig farming tells the ‘true price we pay for our bacon’, http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/lucent-documentary-on-australian-pig-farming-reveals-the-true-price-we-pay-for-bacon/story-fnda1bsz-1227083534465, 8 October 2014.
(10) ‘Slaughter of Animals’, World Organisation of Animal Health, http://www.oie.int/index.php?id=169&L=0&htmfile=chapitre_aw_slaughter.htm, retrieved 11 October 2014.
(11) ‘What is Halal Slaughter in Australia?’ RSPCA, http://kb.rspca.org.au/what-is-halal-slaughter-in-australia_116.html, retrieved 11 October 2014.
(12) ‘Of Voodoo and Animal Sacrifice’, NY Times, http://www.nytimes.com/1992/01/26/nyregion/l-of-voodoo-and-animal-sacrifice-751492.html, 26 January 1992.
(13) ‘Animal Stress Results in Meat Causing Disease’, Putzkoff, Irwin PhD, Byung-Ho, Cho, Jin-Hwan, Oh. http://www.scn.org/~bk269/fear.html, retrieved 11 October 2014.
(14) Egan, Carmel. ‘Backyard puppy factories just waiting for the next bitch on heat,’ The Age, http://www.theage.com.au/national/backyard-puppy-factories-just-waiting-for-the-next-bitch-on-heat-20081122-6ei0.html, 23 November 2014.
(15) ‘Puppy Factories’, RSPCA, http://www.rspcavic.org/issues-take-action/puppy-factories/ retrieved 11 October 2014.
(16) ‘Cosmetics: safe and cruelty free?’, CHOICE Magazine, http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/food-and-health/beauty-and-personal-care/cosmetics/cosmetics-safe-and-cruelty-free.aspx, 4 May 2007.
(17) ‘Choose Cruelty Free’, http://www.choosecrueltyfree.org.au/, retrieved 11 October 2014.
(18) Merriam Webster medical dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/zoophilia, retrieved 11 October 2014.
(19) Ibid, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bestiality, retrieved 11 October 2014.
(20) Keim, Tony. ‘Man to be charged with importing bestiality material after downloading to computer’, The Courier Mail. http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/man-to-be-charged-with-importing-bestiality-material-after-downloading-to-computer/story-e6freoof-1226137835291?nk=f1646dc444c4486c75621bf50c715c4a, 15 September 2011.