• Mark defends the Brumby in heartfelt Adjournment speech

    The Brumby holds a special place in the Australian psyche, personifying the Australian courage and spirit of freedom. Yet, today, just like the kangaroo, they face an uncertain future, considered by some, including this government to be feral pests. They find themselves becoming increasingly marginalised in lands that have been their home for over a century. A home thrust upon them when early European settlers found little need for them with the onset of farm machinery and released them into the wild, left to survive. It is this survival that spawned a time when only the toughest survived, natural selection saw the evolution of wild horses with the traits required to thrive in the environment in which they found themselves.

    The Brumby has gallantly served human, toiling on farms as stock animals, building the roads and railways we relied upon, even serving as police horses enforcing the law of the bush. They accompanied men to war, with over 70,000 horses losing their lives in World War I alone.

    In October 2000, the slaughter of over 600 brumbies in the Guy Fawkes River National Park sparked widespread public outcry and national media attention. In response to this atrocity an inquiry was conducted which revealed numerous failings of the National Parks and Wildlife Service in their role in the mass slaughter.

    Yet it seems we have not learnt from our past mistakes, killing is NOT the answer. All of the so-called “feral” animals were brought to Australia by human beings. We brought the horse here not out of love but out of the notion that they would provide us with something useful. We exploited them and then when they weren’t needed we disposed of them like mere objects and sent them on their way into the wild bush, Wanted Yesterday, Unwanted Today. They survived and adapted like any other being on this planet and yet some continue to persecute them and if this government gets its way decimate their existence to such a degree that their heritage and bloodlines will be threatened.

    I acknowledge that humane management is not a quick fix one size fits all solution. However it is our duty to ensure that we invest and utilise best practice and sound methods of estimating and reporting the true population numbers. Where required, fertility control is to be used and in parallel we must invest in fertility control via research and development. This is a very successful method used for the wild horses of the Canadian Rockies and the elephants in Africa. The use of fertility control would also mean that fewer Brumbies would be born each year and result in a proper and sustainable management plan. Mass slaughter does not equal management and until governments realise this it is likely that the continuous cycle of killing and responsive population growth will continue.

    Passive trapping and rehoming programs aim to capture horses with minimal interference from humans and released to suitable rehoming groups. Whilst strict adherence to best practice and horsemanship is critical to the success of such programs, this is another non-lethal strategy that both reduce numbers in the wild whilst maintaining the cultural heritage and significance of the brumby. The Hunter Valley Brumby Association is one such group which to date has taken on over 50 brumbies to their sanctuary, 30 of these have come from the Kozciuszko National Park.

    In closing, I challenge the persistent notion and labelling of “feral” animals. These animals are not feral; rather, they are wild, untamed survivors of humans’ past failings. I once asked an Indigenous elder, “So what do you think makes an animal a native Australian?” He replied, “When it is born here.”

  • 21/04/2016: MARK PEARSON EJECTED BY LOCAL NATIONAL MP FROM PUBLIC MEETING ON HUNTING TRESPASS

    When is a public meeting a closed meeting? When Kevin Humphries, Nationals Member for Barwon says so! Animal Justice MP banned from public meeting on stock theft and illegal hunting trespass.

    In February 2016, after months of negative media publicity about the devastating impact of illegal hunting trespass on rural landholders, the Baird Government announced the establishment of the Stock Theft and Trespass Review, to be conduct by the well-respected former Assistant Commissioner of Police, Stephen Bradshaw.

    As the first elected member of the Animal Justice Party to be represented in NSW parliament, I have received a number of calls from distressed landholders, traumatised by illegal hunting trespass on their properties. Landholders are fearful for their own lives as well as describing the carnage left by weekend warriors who blast away at any animal that moves. Dead and dying wildlife and abandoned hunting dogs are often found on their properties.

    It was for this reason that I was keen to attend a public meeting of the Stock Theft and Trespass Review. My staff contacted the Review office as well as Mr Humphries’s staff given his role as host of the Barwon meetings. They sought and were given the details about the upcoming meetings. At no point was I told that I could not attend the public meeting. Meetings were promoted on the Stock Theft and Trespass Review Facebook with “Please come along if you’re in the area”.

    I had already intended to visit Barwon, the largest electorate in NSW (48% of NSW land mass) where Broken Hill is central, in order to address the information that had come to me regarding the disturbing rise in the serious egregious cruelty inflicted on animals in both illegal and legal hunting. I had also organised to meet key animal protection and rescue groups.

    What became apparent was the hostility and defensive resistance from the Nationals member for the electorate, Kevin Humphries who insisted that I leave within several minutes of my arrival at the public meeting in Broken Hill on the 19th April. I was frogmarched out of the meeting by Mr Humphries before I was even able to ask a question. Two police officers appeared by his side, which is a quite extraordinary given the public nature of the meeting and fact that I am a democratically elected representative of the people of NSW.

    I was not given the opportunity to raise my concerns regarding the brutality of hunting and its increased incidence on private property and how this terrifies land owners as well as terrifying, maiming and killing animals. It appears this National party member wants to obstruct any constructive discussion to address the growing violent culture of killing animals for sick enjoyment which in turn frightens property owners where these animals live or move through.

    This attitude by the National Member for Barwon is completely unacceptable and indefensible.

    I refuse to be shut out of addressing this appalling situation and I will return in several months to address a public meeting where police, rangers and regulatory authorities will be invited to attend. I will also be meeting with animal rescue and carer groups and with Indigenous elders.

    My aim is to lobby for a proactive Task Force to address this issue in this region and for a pilot task force to be established in other regions of NSW where this violent culture has developed.

    See the response from MP Kevin Humphries in the media via the links below.

    ABC News

    The Land

  • 18/04/2016: Mark Pearson to visit Broken Hill to discuss the issue of illegal hunting and trespass

    The Hon Mark Pearson, MLC for the Animal Justice Party is visiting Broken Hill on the 18 and 19th April to attend the Stock Theft and Trespass Review public meeting to participate in a discussion about the problem of illegal hunting and theft on rural properties.

    “My office regularly receives calls from distressed landholders who are horrified by the carnage they find on their properties after a weekend spree by illegal hunters. Dead and dying wildlife, abandoned and injured pig dogs and even butchered wild pigs left at waterholes are not unusual finds. I am hopeful that the Review will be able to address this issue and I for one would be very supportive of more resources for rural crime investigators.”

    As a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Companion Animal Breeding Practices, Mark will also take the opportunity to visit the Council Pound to see for himself the number of abandoned animals as a result of over-breeding.

    “In regards to the numbers of unwanted animals that end up in pounds, I was very disappointed in the Government’s response to the Companion Animal Breeding Practices Committee which rejected the vast majority of the recommendations of the bipartisan report. We cannot continue to kill thousands of unwanted but perfectly healthy dogs and cats and call ourselves a civilised and humane society. Mandatory de-sexing, licencing for breeders and extending animal protection policing to rangers are just a few of the sensible reforms that should have been made.”

    He is also keen to talk with locals about the forthcoming Kangaroo Management Plan given the large commercial hunting industry based in Broken Hill.

    “Australia conducts the largest land-based wildlife slaughter in the world with it’s annual mass killing of kangaroos. No other country slaughters it’s national icon in such numbers.”

    mark-pearson-kangaroo-report-at-home

  • 18/04/2016: Question With Notice, Pig gassing cruelty investigation

    Last June I had a meeting with Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair regarding the gassing of pigs at Rivalea slaughterhouse. In this meeting I presented footage of the gas stunning process captured as the pigs were lowered into the chamber. In addition, I asked for the Minister to visit in person with myself and other concerned colleagues, the Rivalea facility and witness first hand the gassing process.

    Unsurprisingly the Minister declined the offer of a slaughterhouse visit. I then wrote a formal letter to the Rivalea management so as I and a member of my staff could visit the slaughterhouse, this was rejected without reason. So as you know, we, attempted to visit ourselves, we were not received with a warm welcome.

    It has to be asked if everything is OK then why all the secrecy? Why the denials and refusal of inspection?

    Well according to Minister Blair all is OK, in a response letter sent to my office he confirmed he had viewed the footage and that everything is fine at Rivalea. The issue filmed was merely the actions of individual workers as opposed to systemic cruelty. The RSPCA had inspected the facility and found it to be compliant. All is good, nothing to see.

    I do NOT accept this and so I my questioning of the claims in the letter have been written and formally submitted to the Minister, a response is required by the 28th of April.

  • 06/04/2016: Voiceless Rethinking: Kangaroos

    Last night I was privileged to be a panelist on the Voiceless Rethinking: Kangaroos seminar. The seminar was a great success and brought together the different perspectives of kangaroo suffering and slaughter across Australia.

    The kangaroo is the victim of the largest slaughter of land-based mammals on the planet.

    While similar wildlife trades, such as the Canadian seal hunt or the Japanese whaling industry, attract global condemnation due to their brutality, the kangaroo hunt is unchallenged.

    I spoke about how Australian governments promote, financially support and even actively participate in the brutal killing of the kangaroo.I also raised through my long standing relationship with Indigenous groups how the kangaroo or Malu is a sacred Aboriginal totem and the mass killing is an insult to the Aboriginal people.

    Below is an photo courtesy of Voiceless. Please make the pledge to protect our kangaroos.

    mark-pearson-kangaroos-voiceless-seminar-rethinking

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