• Greyhound

    NSW GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES THE END TO GREYHOUND RACING

    7th July 2016

    MEDIA RELEASE

    NSW Premier Mike Baird has announced that NSW will become the first Australian state to shut down greyhound racing after a Special Commission of Inquiry found overwhelming evidence of systemic animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting.

    This is one of the largest victories for animals in many, many years and both Mark Pearson and the Animal Justice Party congratulate and commend the NSW government for assessing the inquiry findings and listening to the community.

    “This is a great outcome and I believe a huge thank you needs to be given to the animal activists that put their liberties and welfare on the line to expose the barbaric cruelty that was lurking below the surface of this industry. If it was not for the expose ‘Making A Killing’ aired on ABC 4 Corners with undercover footage of live baiting there would not have been an inquiry. This is a testament to these activists and their work, work that has been likened to terrorism by some in the government.”

    The report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW released by Premier Baird documented serious, systemic cruelty and welfare issues. It found that between at least half of all greyhounds bred to race – were killed in the past 12 years because they were deemed ‘uncompetitive’. It went on to state that up to 20 per cent of trainers engage in live baiting and 180 greyhounds a year sustain “catastrophic injuries” during races, such as skull fractures and broken backs that resulted in their immediate deaths. The inquiry noted that the industry was not capable of reforming in the short or medium term.

    “The report finally documented what many among the community knew, and that was that the greyhound racing industry is one based on exploitation and cruelty of the highest order. It is an industry that has no excuses left anymore and is one that is closing down all across the world.

    Further details of the phase out plan will be revealed but what we know is it will include:

    • A welfare plan for existing greyhounds, including opportunities for re-homing;
    • An adjustment package for industry participants; and
    • A transition arrangement for existing Greyhound Racing NSW assets that will ensure they are used for open public space, alternative sporting facilities or other community use.

    Having the Animal Justice Party in NSW Parliament, we can ensure the government will stay true to its words and provide the best re-homing outcomes for the greyhounds. It is critical that the government provide the resources necessary to ensure every single one of the dogs remaining in the industry after the ban be given the best chance to a peaceful post racing life.

    This is a win for the greyhounds, the piglets, possums, chickens and rabbits used as live bait. It is a win for animal activism and animal advocates across the country, this is a win for the broader society. As Mahatma Gandhi stated

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

    mark-pearson-greyhound-rally-sydney-2

  • WAGGA WAGGA POUND RALLY

    The community was shocked and appalled when claims of kittens being left to die in freezers at its Wagga council’s Glenfield Road Animal Shelter was exposed. Further claims of dogs  wrongly killed, reports of pets going missing from official records and other animals being left without veterinary care was also documented.

    Volunteers at the pound claim to have found dead and dying cats that had been dumped in freezers while still alive. A Fairfax media investigation found that over the past three years more than 80 dogs and cats had vanished from the pound’s books. RSPCA New South Wales conducted an investigation and found no evidence of wrongdoing.

    The community, volunteers and my office are in shock as to how the RSPCA could not find evidence of cruelty to prosecute. We demand answers. I asked the Minister responsible for animal welfare in NSW, Niall Blair, to please explain. The community deserve answers, these animals deserve justice. The Minister, under section 34B (4) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act has the power to request a report from the RSPCA, to demand answers.

    In response to this inaction from the Council, RSPCA and the Government, a demonstration will be held next Monday at Wagga Council Chambers, we will demand justice. I will be attending this rally to support the concerned community and to speak on behalf of these animals.

    WHEN: Monday 30 May 2016

    TIME: Rally to occur between 4.30pm and 7.30pm (Council Meeting starts at 6.00pm).

    WHERE: Wagga City Council Chambers (Baylis Street) (Parking available at Myers).

  • JINDABYNE TOWN MEETING TO SAVE KOSCIUSZKO BRUMBIES

    MEDIA RELEASE

    The Hon Mark Pearson MLC, will be attending a community meeting organised by the Snowy Mountain Brumby Sustainability & Management Group. The meeting will be held this Saturday at the Lake Jindabyne Hotel and will give citizens and groups a chance to voice their concerns over the Baird governments plan to cull up to 90% of the brumby population in the Kosciuszko National Park over the next 20 years.

    The community outrage has been generated by the release of the Draft Plan of Management by Minister for Environment Mark Speakman earlier this month. The draft plan and associated technical review proposes a range of control methods to reduce the population from the estimated 6000 down to 600 over the next 20 years. However, the independent technical review report itself highlights the inadequacy of the science behind the estimated numbers;

    Section 2 of the report states ‘However, the ITRG cannot, at this stage, draw rigorous scientific conclusions about how numbers and population trends are changing over time or how they may differ in different parts of the park’

    Mark Pearson: “Reading the report the question has to be asked as to what the proposed slaughter is actually setting out to achieve other than bloodshed. The government is endorsing this slaughter on the supposed huge increase in numbers yet it contradicts itself by saying, in effect, it has no real idea on the numbers”

    Whilst the Minister has come out on record numerous times both in media statements and in responses to questions asked by Mr Pearson in the Parliament that aerial culling will not be considered, reading the detail of the report tells another story. Section 4.4 states ‘Where lethal control is required, the assessment indicated that aerial shooting had the least potential adverse impact on wild horses’.

    The history of the infamous aerial cull, reminiscent of a brutal Rambo operation by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in the Guy Fawkes River National Park in October 2000 tells a different story. Terrified horses were driven up against an escarpment by a helicopter as shooters opened fire with semi-automatic rifles, slaughtering more than 600 horses. The slaughter scene depicted horses riddled with bullets suffering slow, agonising deaths. One mare was shot while giving birth whilst new born foals were left to starve because their mothers had been killed.

    Mark Pearson: “It seems we have not learnt from our past mistakes, killing is NOT the answer. 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 humane 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.”

    Mark Pearson is urging everyone who is concerned about this matter to either write to his office or submit comments to the Draft Wild Horse Management Plan for Kosciuszko National Park before 8 July 2016.

  • WAGGA WAGGA POUND

    12th May 2016

    Questions without notice.

    Wagga Wagga pound.

    ANIMAL CRUELTY

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON (15:19): I direct my question to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water. On 3 April, theSydney Morning Herald reported allegations of aggravated animal cruelty at Wagga Wagga pound. Volunteers at the pound claim to have found dead and dying cats that had been dumped in freezers while still alive. A Fairfax media investigation found that over the past three years more than 80 dogs and cats had vanished from the pound’s books. RSPCA New South Wales conducted an investigation and found no evidence of wrongdoing that would lead to convictions under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Will the Minister exercise his powers under section 34B (4) of that Act to request a report from the RSPCA providing the reasons for the decision and table that report in the House? If not, why not?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR (Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water) (15:20): I remember reading that article about Wagga Wagga pound. I will take the question on notice and provide a relevant response. It has been some time since it was published, and I want to refresh my memory of the details.


    21st June 2016

    ANIMAL CRUELTY

    In reply to the Hon. MARK PEARSON (12 May 2016).

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR (Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water)—The Minister provided the following response:

    As one of the enforcement agencies under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, RSPCA NSW has advised that it has investigated complaints about Wagga Wagga Pound and does not intend to commence proceedings. RSPCA has advised it is working with the pound regarding animal welfare.

    Records of surrendered or stray animals kept in council pounds are not covered by a Code of Practice under POCTA, they are regulated under the Companion Animals Act 1998 administered by the Office of Local Government.

  • DEFENDING THE AUSTRALIAN BRUMBIES

    12th May 2016

    Adjournment Speech.

    Australian Brumbies.

    AUSTRALIAN BRUMBY

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON (16:05): The brumby holds a special place in the Australian psyche, personifying Australian courage and the spirit of freedom. It holds a unique place in our history and has been immortalised in literature, film and songs. The brumby is depicted on the Australian $10 note, showing its wild posture, flaring nostrils and servitude to man. Today, just like the kangaroo, the brumby faces an uncertain future. The brumby is considered by some, including this Government, to be feral pests. Brumbies find themselves becoming increasingly marginalised on lands that have been their home for over a century. It is a home that was thrust upon them by early European settlers. With the onset of farm machinery, there was little need for the brumby and they were released into the wild to survive, or not.

    That spawned a time of survival of the toughest, where natural selection saw the evolution of wild horses with the traits required to thrive in the Australian environment. The brumby has gallantly served humans, toiling on farms as stock animals, used during the building of roads and railways, and serving as police horses for those enforcing the law of the bush. They accompanied men to war, with over 70,000 horses losing their lives in World War I alone. Horses from New South Wales were drafted into the Light Horse Regiment during both world wars, and were still being caught and removed from some areas for this purpose well into the 1940s.

    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 revealing numerous failings by the National Parks and Wildlife Service that led to the mass slaughter. In addition, the inquiry revealed, via DNA testing, that inbreeding amongst the Guy Fawkes brumbies is less than 5 per cent. As a result the Guy Fawkes brumbies achieved heritage status, the only such brumbies in Australia to do so. 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. The horse was brought to Australia not out of love; we needed a useful work animal. We exploited them and then when they were not needed we disposed of them like objects and sent them on their way into the bush—wanted yesterday, unwanted today. They survived and adapted like any other being on this planet does, despite our continued persecution. If this Government gets its way, we will 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. It is our duty to ensure that we invest and utilise best practice and sound methods to estimate and report the true population. Where required, fertility control can be used. In parallel, investment in research and development of fertility control must occur. This method is used successfully with the wild horses of the Canadian Rockies and elephants in Africa. The use of fertility control means fewer brumbies born each year, resulting in a humane and sustainable management plan.

    Mass slaughter does not equal management. 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 release them 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 reduces numbers in the wild and maintains the cultural heritage and significance of the brumby. 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.”

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