• Notice of Motion congratulating Virgin Australia

    REHOMING OF COMPANION ANIMALS

    (1) That this House congratulates Virgin Australia and Jetpets on entering into a partnership with companion animal rescue charities, Australian Working Dogs Rescue, RSPCA and Pet Rescue to:

    (a) provide free transport for companion animal adoptions and rehoming throughout Australia; and

    (b) assist in the relocation of surrendered greyhounds requiring rehoming as a consequence of the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Act 2016.

    (2) That this House notes that every successful rehoming of a companion animal removes a dog or cat from death row in council pounds and RSPCA shelters.

    Motion agreed to.

  • Question without Notice-Yabby traps drowning Native wildlife

    YABBY TRAPS

    It seems the Minister believes the suffering of native Australian Water Rats is somewhat amusing. Has Niall Blair not understand we stand for ALL animals, not just the ones the wider public deem cute and unique?

    Other states have state wide bans on these specific yabby traps as they indiscriminately trap and drown other air breathing animals. However, here in NSW these traps are only prohibited where the Platypus is found, does a water rat or a turtle not suffer the same as the platypus? What about the suffering of the Yabby?

    I asked the question and not only did the Minister seem to laugh at my interest in the suffering of other animals but he did not even come close to answering the question. So much so, that, when I attempt to ask a supplementary question The President ruled it out of order.

    QUESTION

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water. As prescribed by the Fisheries Management Regulations, opera house style yabby traps are banned from use in public waters east of the Newell Highway, where platypuses are found. The ban was implemented in response to the number of animals being drowned in these traps. It is, however, still legal to use these traps in public waters in parts of western New South Wales. New South Wales Fisheries has published advice on how to modify the traps so as to limit bycatch, yet in areas such as Menindee Australian water rats are caught and drowned in the traps.

    Will the Minister follow the example of States such as Victoria and impose a statewide ban on opera house style traps so as to protect our native animals?

    If not, why not?

    ANSWER

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I thank the member for his very detailed question. As I look across to the President’s gallery to see whether there is a note on such a detailed question, the response on the faces of my advisers is the reason that I find the beginning of my answer somewhat humorous. I am certainly on my own on this one. It is a serious question. If the Department of Primary Industries [DPI] Fisheries, which comprises some of the most outstanding scientific minds in this country, has determined that certain parts of the State warrant the use of so-called opera house traps and other parts of the State do not then, without having any information to hand, I say that the determination it has made is the right one.

    We have some of the best scientific advice on fish stocks and fishing methods in New South Wales estuaries. If DPI Fisheries has determined that the traps are appropriate in certain parts of the State I support the status quo. If the department provides me with further advice on this matter I will be happy to review that advice. At the moment, if there is a clear distinction and there has been a decision to allow the traps in certain areas I assume some form of assessment has occurred. That assessment would have been undertaken by the best in the business. If I receive any further advice from DPI Fisheries I will be happy to share that with the member.

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: I ask a supplementary question. Would the Minister elucidate his answer in relation to why the Department of Primary Industries does not follow other States that have a complete ban?

    The PRESIDENT: Order! The standing order is quite clear. A supplementary question must ask for elucidation of an aspect of an answer. It is not in order to ask the Minister to address a part of the question that was not answered. As I said in a previous ruling, other than the requirement that a Minister be relevant and not debate the question, a Minister is free to choose to answer as he or she wishes. I am afraid I have to rule the supplementary question out of order.

  • Adjournment Speech on Xenotransplantation

    XENOTRANSPLANTATION

    Xenotransplantation is the transplantation of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another. There are currently xenotransplantation experiments occurring at Prince Alfred Hospital using baboons from the Wallacia breeding facility. A recent media expose described Frankenstein-like operations that transplanted organs from pigs into baboons. Millions of dollars of taxpayer‑funded research grants is used, but the hospitals are not required to provide details to the public about the nature of these experiments. Questions to the Minister have failed to yield answers.

    Human-to-human organ transplants are now routinely performed on patients with organ failure. Australia is a world leader for successful organ transplant outcomes but is twenty-second on the international list for organ donations. Public awareness is, however, improving. In 2015, 69 per cent of Australians indicated a willingness to become organ and tissue donors and there was a record 435 organ donations to 1,241 patients. The Federal and State governments have implemented a national reform program to increase donation rates. The program will implement a world’s best practice approach to organ and tissue donation for transplantation. Its aim is to increase clinical capacity and capability, and to increase community engagement and awareness in relation to organ donation.

    Unfortunately, the current rate of organ donation does not meet demand, and this has been used to justify xenotransplantation with animals. Xenotransplantation occurs predominantly with primates and pigs and is a death sentence for those animals. If xenotransplantation ever becomes a surgical practice there will be mass wastage preceded by enormous suffering for the animals. Sentient beings will be reduced to nothing more than spare parts and tens of thousands of animals will die miserable deaths in laboratory conditions.

    Xenotransplantation seriously impacts animal wellbeing. From the moment the animal is born it is unable to express natural behaviours and will suffer frustration, deprivation and stress. The sterile conditions in which the genetically engineered animals to be used for transplants will be kept poses a significant stress factor. To reduce the risk of exposure to disease sows have their pregnant wombs removed and the piglets are placed into a sterile environment. The piglet is unable to suckle from its mother, it is medicated and reared on artificial foods containing no animal products.

    Aside from the animal suffering involved in xenotransplantation, there are serious human health risks with this procedure. Possible problems with transplantation of whole organs from animals to humans include viral diseases transferred from animals, rejection of the organs by the patient’s immune system, and differences in structure and biochemistry between human and animal organs. Pigs contain endogenous retroviruses that are passed on to offspring in the DNA of normal chromosomes, and therefore cannot be eliminated. Viral sequences in host DNA can be activated to produce infectious viruses in mice, cats and gibbons that are closely related to leukaemia viruses and are a second cousin to HIV.

    The following are examples of diseases transferred from primates to humans: monkey pox is a virus originating in African monkeys causing a 10 per cent fatality rate in humans; the HIV-AIDS virus is thought to have come from the primate simian immunodeficiency virus [SIV]; seven laboratory workers died following exposure to Marburg virus through African green monkey kidneys; Ebola virus recently killed thousands of people in central Africa and has been linked to monkeys; and the herpes B virus is a common infection of macaque monkeys but in humans it can develop into a fatal neurological disease. Given the terrible animal suffering and massive wastage of sentient beings, the risks to human health and the expense involved in experimentation, would it not make more sense to save money and encourage a more compassionate outcome for all beings, by focusing our efforts and resources on community education programs to promote organ donations?

    These research materials were sourced by Dr Suzanne Pope.

  • Planned Kangaroo slaughter at Penrith Anglican College

    Relocation not Extermination for Penrith Anglican College Kangaroos

    There has been a justifiable outcry against plans by the Penrith Anglican College to ask the NPWS to kill 15 healthy male kangaroos selected from an existing mob of kangaroos that live and range between the school’s 40 acres and the adjacent Orchard Hills RAAF base.

    In response Mark wrote a letter to the Principal of the school detailing that there is non-lethal methods of removal that have been long tried and tested. Given the emails and phone calls that our office have received over the last few days, we are sure that many of the parents and students of the school would be relieved to know that there are options available that do not include the slaughter of our native animals. In addition Mark asked a question of the Minister for Environment regarding the issue of the kill permits and assessment process.

    Claims of kangaroo over-population are untested and given that there have been no recorded instances of aggression or injuries caused by these kangaroos, it is a massive over-reaction by the school to seek NPWS permits for the killing of these native animals.

    With 40 acres of grounds, it would seem not unreasonable to allow a defined area for habitat and erect fencing to prevent the students from coming into close contact with the kangaroos. If that is not possible, then a program of tranquilliser darting of the kangaroos for removal and relocation is a far more humane method of managing the kangaroos than simply applying a death sentence. ‘Remote chemical capture and release’ has proven to be a very safe and effective way of relocating macropod populations.

    What kind of message is the school sending to its students that killing healthy kangaroos is an acceptable form of native animal management? I am sure if we asked the students they would be open to a more humane solution.

    LATEST UPDATE

    Due to the public pressure and communication of concern from the Animal Justice Party it appears the mass grave pit has been filled in and talks are ongoing in regards to a relocation program. This is a sensible decision by the school and demonstrates that professional negotiations and respectful dialogue led by the Animal Justice Party can result in success for all involved.

     mark-pearson-kangaroo-report-at-home

  • Busy weekend ahead

    It is so energising to witness and be a part of the positive growth of animal advocacy and activism across NSW. This weekend I am lucky enough to be representing the Animal Justice Party across the NSW community in our united quest to improve the lives for all animals.

    Saturday, 23rd of July sees me speaking at the official launch of South Coast Animal Advocates group in Batemans Bay NSW.

    The South Coast Animal Advocates was originally formed as a Facebook page as part of World Animal Protection’s campaign to end live export. Since late last year, the group has become more than an online presence, and has attracted members who have been meeting regularly.

    One of the aims of the group is to be a voice for all animals by advocating animal protection to all members of parliament, particularly our local members for federal and state governments, other political candidates, and local councils.

    Other guest speakers include Dr Bidda Jones (Chief Science and Strategy Officer at RSPCA Australia), and Dr Lynn Simpson (former vet on board live export ships, as recently featured on ABC’s 7.30).

    Anyone interested in attending or making contact should email tracey@framedbytracey.com 


    Sunday, 24th July, I along with many others will walk together to pay our respects to the millions of racing greyhounds who have died in this cruel industry. We will also celebrate NSW Premier Mike Baird’s proposal to legislate the end of greyhound racing in NSW. The March for the Murdered Millions is a nationwide event and for more information please see the Facebook event page.

    The ban is not over the line yet, industry is spending tens of thousands of dollars per month not on greyhound welfare but on professional lobby groups, media spin and propaganda gurus. We MUST show the government how much we support the ban, we must support the brave decision of Mike Baird, lets show NSW Labor and Luke Foley that he is so terribly wrong and that those that care for animals are not ‘elitist’ or just from the inner city.

    I will be speaking at the event along with Mehreen Faruqi, lets pay our respects to all the animals that have and are suffering at the hands of this industry. Lets celebrate a historical path forward in closing the book on this industry in NSW.

    mark-pearson-greyhound-rally-sydney

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