• PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AMENDMENT (STOCK ANIMALS) BILL 2015

    22nd October 2015

    Second reading speech.

    Amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

    PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AMENDMENT (STOCK ANIMALS) BILL 2015

    Bill introduced, and read a first time and ordered to be printed on motion by the Hon. Mark Pearson.

    Second Reading

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [10.50 a.m.]: I move:

    That this bill be now read a second time.

    The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Stock Animals) Bill 2015 goes to the very heart of the principles of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979—an Act that is about being proactive, not reactive. I refer to the fundamental principles of the Act, which were reviewed in 1997. The objects stipulate that the duty of care, control and supervision of animals is a positive duty, not a reactive one. The fundamental principle of this bill is that a person must promote and ensure the welfare of animals and must prevent cruelty or harm and suffering to those animals, even if the act of cruelty is not intentional.

    The object of the bill relates to the wellbeing or welfare of livestock, that is, stock animals including poultry, pigs and cattle. In New South Wales the numbers of poultry are in the millions. As we speak, up to seven million chickens or poultry are being kept in various stages of intensive housing, as well as up to approximately 900,000 pigs and tens of thousands of cattle. This bill relates to intensive farming as well as to intensive and free-range facilities and the need to provide a secure enclosed area to protect the animals from predators and extremities in temperatures.

    Several incidents have stimulated me, on behalf of the Animal Justice Party, to introduce this bill. These include incidences of extreme suffering where many hundreds of animals have burnt to death. A recent incident occurred at Wonga piggery near Young in central New South Wales where 2,500 weaners were killed in a fire. The manager of that piggery stated that he had no knowledge of how the fire started. Another incident was at Boen Boe Stud piggery near Joadja in the Southern Highlands where on 9 April 2015 400 pigs were burnt to death in a fire. In a facility near Gloucester belonging to Pace Farm approximately 22,000 hens were burnt to death in a fire. I will talk about alarm systems later.

    I turn now to the three major areas that this bill addresses. First, it addresses the risk of fire. The bill provides that the proprietor of an abattoir or intensive livestock-keeping facility must ensure that a fire sprinkler system is installed and maintained in the abattoir or facility. At a piggery at Grong Grong, 500 pigs died from heat stress as a result of a breakdown of the ventilation system. The alarm system did not function properly so the owners were not alerted and were unable to assist the animals. I was in attendance at Henholme, a battery hen facility owned by Pace Farm, when it was discovered that the feeding system had malfunctioned. Feed was pouring out onto the hens and several hundred of the hens were suffocated. No alarm system was in place to notify management of any malfunctions. This bill contains a requirement for the proprietor of an abattoir or intensive livestock-keeping facility to install and maintain an alarm system.

    In New South Wales and elsewhere several incidences of cruelty to animals, often egregious cruelty to animals, have been exposed. These incidences were exposed by way of surveillance camera recordings. How and who installed the cameras is not relevant. The recordings of the treatment of animals have resulted in investigations and prosecutions by the NSW Police Force. At the Burrangong Meat Processors abattoir near Young, in 1990 recordings from surveillance cameras, which had been installed by workers, depicted pigs not being bled out properly and rendered unconscious, pigs being lowered into scalding tanks while still conscious, and pigs being beaten. This treatment of the animals, which was exposed by the surveillance cameras, led to a major investigation by police and to charges being laid against the abattoir. It also led to a $1.2 million investment in the facility to ensure that the pigs were rendered dead before being lowered into a scalding tank.

    Last year an abattoir in the Hawkesbury Valley, not far from Sydney, was exposed for cruelty to animals during ritual halal and kosher slaughter. This caused an investigation by the NSW Food Authority, the police and the RSPCA and led to an overwhelming improvement in the welfare, wellbeing and treatment of animals. It also led to a very important undertaking by senior rabbis of the Jewish community to address factors surrounding kosher slaughter and the welfare of animals killed in that manner. Cameras that were installed in Inghams turkey abattoir near Tahmoor also revealed extremely brutal treatment of animals, which led to police investigations and prosecutions under the Crimes Act and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which led to major changes at this abattoir. The purpose of this bill is to introduce mandatory surveillance cameras at critical points in either an abattoir or an intensive livestock facility to ensure animal welfare. Schedule 1 to the bill states:

    24Z         Operations to be recorded in abattoirs and intensive livestock keeping facilities

    (1)      The proprietor of an abattoir or intensive livestock keeping facility must ensure a video and audio recording is made of all operations relating to the keeping, movement, handling and slaughter of animals at the abattoir or intensive livestock keeping facility.

    (2)      The proprietor must ensure that the equipment used for the purpose of making a video recording under this section is, at all times, positioned to ensure an unobstructed view of the operations being recorded.

    (3)      The proprietor of an abattoir or intensive livestock keeping facility must ensure that a recording made under this section is retained for a period of not less than 3 months after the date the recording is made.

    Under schedule 1 to the bill, new section 24ZA deals with inspectors under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act which includes the police, the RSPCA, the Animal Welfare League and officers with prescribed authority under the Food Act. In relation to those officers it states:

    (1)      An officer may, at any time within 3 months after the making of a recording under section 24Z, require the proprietor of an abattoir or intensive livestock keeping facility to provide the officer with access to the recording.

    (2)      A person must not fail to comply with a requirement of an officer under subsection (1).

    Maximum penalty: 25 penalty units.

    (3)      The officer may do one or more of the following:

    (a)  examine, inspect or listen to the recording,

    (b)  make a copy of the recording,

    (c)  examine the equipment with which the recording was made.

    It is important that the bill provides an exemption from the oversight of the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 which will not prohibit the installation, use and maintenance of a listening device within the meaning of the Act for the purpose of making a recording required under this section. This bill is important because it also goes to some very significant findings in law in relation to the responsibility of people who have animals under their care, control and supervision. When cattle were found dead or dying from starvation on a property it was successfully argued in the Magistrates Court that there was not a strict liability upon the owner of those animals because there was no mens rea—the owner did not know that the animals were suffering. This case was appealed in the Supreme Court before Justice Dowd and an unreported judgement in Bell v. Gunter was handed down. It was argued that the owner of the animals, the person who had the care, control and supervision of the animals, was unaware that those cattle were in that state and dying from starvation.

    The RSPCA won the appeal, which set a very important precedent which goes to some of the underlying principles in this amendment bill. Justice Dowd found that there is strict liability and that once a company or a person in charge of animals places those animals in an enclosure, on an intensive farm, in a restricted area with a fence or other confinement around them where they can be rounded up and put in an abattoir or wherever—and they are not wild animals or where they cannot freely access food and water—then the onus of responsibility sits fairly and squarely on that company or person. There is no excuse for them not to know. The fact that someone has decided to purchase 100 steers, 1,000 pigs or 5,000 hens and then put them into a cage, a confinement or a shed at any given time means that the onus of responsibility is totally on that person to ensure they know where the animals are, what is happening to them, their situation and the elements and factors around them that could cause them harm.

    This bill is really about sending a message and helping owners, managers and people who have responsibility for animals that they have a positive duty to ensure that they know where those animals are and that there are systems in operation that will prevent suffering, in the best and most reasonable way. This bill states that a watering system and sprinkler system need to be in place. If watering systems are placed along the floors of sheds for pigs, chickens or cattle to drink from then it is also possible to have a sprinkler system that is triggered in case of fire to prevent animals from burning to death or being injured, which no reasonable person wants to happen to any animal.

    This bill addresses the positive duty of farmers, owners and managers of animals to ensure their wellbeing and welfare under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act by preventing them from being burnt to death. That can be done by having functional alarm systems in place that many people can respond to. For instance, a ventilation system at Grong Grong piggery broke down and many animals died from heat exhaustion and suffocation, which is a terrible way to die. If a CCTV camera system is put in place it will work towards the principle of ensuring that animals are treated humanely. When the call comes from an abattoir to say that 400 pigs have to be on the truck by 2 o’clock and they have to speed up the line having mandatory CCTV cameras in place will ensure that workers’ interactions with animals remain lawful and that they act with the best possible regard for animals. It will also help to ensure that workers at the operation are being looked after.

    Those factors relate to the cases in which Justice Dowd found there is clearly a positive duty upon the owners and managers of an abattoir or intensive livestock facility, or a free-range facility for that matter. Justice Dowd found that the responsibility lies fairly and squarely on their shoulders. As I said, this bill goes to the very foundation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act because it is about the prevention of cruelty to animals. It will strengthen the foundation of the Act, which is about ensuring the welfare of animals and putting in place the best possible practices so that animals that are totally reliant on our activities, responsibilities and duties are offered the best possible protection from harm, injury and vice. I commend the bill to the House.

    Debate adjourned on motion by the Hon. Dr Peter Phelps and set down as an order of the day for a future day.

  • NOTICE OF MOTION TO AMEND THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACT 1979

    3rd June 2015

    Notice of motion.

    That leave be given to bring in a bill for an Act to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 to impose certain requirements relating to the operation of abattoirs and intensive livestock keeping facilities for the purposes of ensuring the humane treatment of stock animals.

  • Time to stop the greyhound industry

    MARK PEARSON OPPOSES THE BETTING TAX LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2015

    18th November 2015

    Second read speech.

    BETTING TAX LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2015

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [12.51 p.m.]: The Animal Justice Party will be opposing the Betting Tax Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 for the same reasons that have been endorsed and described in detail by the Shooters and Fishers Party and The Greens. The passage of this bill will mean that we continue to be captured by an industry that is fundamentally flawed and has systemic problems of abuse of human rights, protections and dignity, and those of animals. Each day in Parliament members say that they are here to stand up for the welfare of the people of New South Wales and Australia. The industry of gambling captures and destroys the lives of many people and also destroys the lives of their families and friends.

    It came as a great shock earlier this year when it was discovered that there was not just one bad apple in the greyhound industry. The commission of inquiry into the greyhound industry has shown that live baiting and other brutal, appalling treatments of rabbits, possums, cats and piglets are systemic. It is not just one bad apple, one bad operator or one bad training track; it is systemic. It is a cart of rotten apples. This Government and members of this House should not be captured by an industry that uses animals in racing, because ultimately it is an industry that is all about abuse: abuse of the people who bet and of their families and friends; abuse of society; and abuse of the silent ones, the millions of animals through time that have suffered appallingly within this industry. For these reasons, the Animal Justice Party cannot support this bill. I indicate that if the bill passes the second reading I will be proposing to move an amendment at the Committee stage.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [4.21 p.m.]: I move Animal Justice Party amendment No. 1 on sheet C2015-172A.

    No. 1  Tax Reduction Trust Fund

    Page 6, schedule 2 [2], proposed section 70A. Insert after line 22:

    (4)      Despite subsection (3), no amounts are to be paid out of the Fund until after the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in New South Wales has reported to the Governor.

    This amendment is fairly straightforward. It pertains to subsection (3) of section 70A of the Betting Tax Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, which states:

    (3)     The following amounts may be paid out of the Fund, subject to any requirements specified in the regulations:

    (a)     such amounts as the Minister directs to be paid from the Fund to Greyhound Racing New South Wales.

    The reason the Animal Justice Party moved this amendment is clear. The special commission of inquiry into the greyhound industry has been on foot for some time. The evidence coming forth from that inquiry is extremely disturbing and confirms a lot of the evidence that was procured over the past 18 months about the extreme brutalities and systemic cruelty not only to dogs but also to many other small animals in the greyhound racing industry. Live baiting is systemic to this industry. The maltreatment of greyhounds and the death of thousands of greyhounds is a necessary component to the greyhound industry.

    Putting those issues aside, I call upon members to vote for this amendment because it is a logical amendment that does not allow any funds to be given to Greyhound Racing NSW after the report of the special commission of inquiry into greyhound racing has been sent to the Governor, which will be after the debate and subsequent considerations have been put in place. This industry is under serious question. Most communities around Australia are suspicious that there is a sinister and cruel side to this industry. It would be unconscionable for members to support any funds going to the greyhound racing industry during this extremely critical time.

    The Hon. DUNCAN GAY (Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) [4.24 p.m.]: The Government does not support the amendment, which would prevent any form of access to the trust fund before the special commission reports its findings. The Hon. Mark Pearson has made up his mind what the report will say. Other members have not prejudged the outcome of the special commission of inquiry and will remain fair until the report is released. The intention of the Government is that the funds remain in trust. However, given the uncertain nature and status of the greyhound racing industry, it may mean that there is a genuine need—we cannot see one at the moment but there may be one in the future—for the secretary to release funds to Greyhound Racing NSW. The arrangements as set out in the Betting Tax Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 establish sufficient safeguards with some flexibility, which is appropriate in the circumstances. For those reasons the Government does not support the amendment.

    The Hon. ADAM SEARLE (Leader of the Opposition) [4.25 p.m.]: The Opposition supports the Animal Justice Party amendment. We understand that it is the intention of the Government for the funds relating to greyhound racing to be quarantined in the fund until the special commission of inquiry into greyhound racing is completed and the Government’s response to that inquiry is finalised. The Minister made those comments in his second reading speech. This amendment is reflective of that approach and we see no harm in making explicit what is at least implicit in the approach taken by the Government.

    Dr JOHN KAYE [4.25 p.m.]: The Greens support the Animal Justice Party amendment. We believe it is totally sensible that the money be frozen after the McHugh inquiry has reported its findings. The Minister said that the Hon. Mark Pearson has prejudged the outcome of the McHugh inquiry. I did not hear him say that, but he is reflecting a commonly held opinion that the inquiry will report strong findings. Given the evidence that was presented at the public hearing in its first week and in the last two days of the public hearing, it would be surprising if it did not. Nonetheless, whatever the findings it is accepted by this Parliament and this Minister that there is a severe cloud over Greyhound Racing NSW. The activity of greyhound racing in New South Wales stands accused of wholesale animal welfare abuses. To allow money to be allocated to that industry now would interfere with the idea that the future of this code is up for question before the McHugh inquiry.

    The CHAIR (The Hon. Trevor Khan): Order! I remind members that they are to address the amendment, not make a second reading speech.

    Dr JOHN KAYE: Thank you for the reminder. I am talking directly to the idea that money should not be allowed out of that fund until the McHugh inquiry has made a finding about the future of the industry. The Greens say there is a serious question mark not only over the future of Greyhound Racing NSW but over its performance. For it to be awarded any money whatsoever would run contrary to public opinion, the public interest and the use of this money. The Greens support the sensible amendment.

    Question—That Animal Justice Party amendment No. 1 [C2015-172A] be agreed to—put.

    The Committee divided.

    Ayes, 16

    Mr Buckingham

    Ms Cotsis

    Mr Donnelly

    Dr Faruqi

    Mrs Houssos

    Dr Kaye

    Mr Mookhey

    Mr Moselmane

    Mr Primrose

    Mr Searle

    Mr Secord

    Ms Sharpe

    Mr Shoebridge

    Mr Veitch

    Tellers,

    Ms Barham

    Mr Pearson

    Noes, 21

    Mr Ajaka

    Mr Amato

    Mr Blair

    Mr Borsak

    Mr Brown

    Mr Clarke

    Mr Colless

    Ms Cusack

    Mr Gallacher

    Mr Gay

    Mr Green

    Mr Harwin

    Mr MacDonald

    Mr Mallard

    Mr Mason-Cox

    Mrs Mitchell

    Reverend Nile

    Mr Pearce

    Mrs Taylor

    Tellers,

    Mr Franklin

    Dr Phelps

    Pairs

    Ms Voltz

    Mr Farlow

    Mr Wong

    Mrs Maclaren-Jones

    Question resolved in the negative.

    Animal Justice Party amendment No. 1 [C2015-172A] negatived.


    The full debate can be read here.

  • OPPOSITION TO CHANGES TO BOXING DAY RETAIL TRADE

    10th November 2015

    Second reading debate.

    Boxing Day retail trade.

    RETAIL TRADING AMENDMENT BILL 2015

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [9.53 p.m.]: I will be brief in my contribution to debate on the Retail Trading Amendment Bill 2015. When I was travelling along the highway to a court case I noticed a large billboard with words written on it that could be seen by everybody travelling along that highway. The four words written on that billboard were, “Shut up and shop.” That statement underpins the attitude behind this bill. The Animal Justice Party opposes the bill. Over the past few weeks, and as we are speaking in this Chamber, many families have become fractured, dispersed and scattered throughout New South Wales. Children, husbands, wives and partners have had to leave country towns to travel to cities or towns hundreds of kilometres away in order to work. They often work in banking, supermarkets or stores such as David Jones or Myers. These people are all scattered and disconnected from one another.

    They have not been able to enjoy the usual fabric of family life because society requires them to travel long distances in order to work. They are looking forward to and have planned this Christmas Day and Boxing Day to come together and to spend time with one another to talk about their experiences and to nourish their relationships and the love that they feel for one another. They might attend various religious rituals that are dear to them, or maybe no rituals at all, but those two days are crucial to a fundamental principal in our society that gives people who have fondness, love, a sense of protection and goodwill for one another an opportunity to have that experience. These rights have been protected by governments of this State and country, but if this bill is enacted it will immediately corrode, undo and strike down fundamental familial bonds and friendships and the caring and compassionate principles that are celebrated and held dear by our society.

    We cannot allow the corrosion of those principles. This bill will begin that corrosion. It is far more important that these families, children and broken people who have to travel long distances to work for lengthy periods have an opportunity to come together. That is what is in their hearts and minds now and we have no right to strike it down. On only two days out of 4½ days that people who are vulnerable in these situations know they are protected from any aggressive or pushy industry that wants to force them to work against their will out of greed and economic interest. It is unconscionable for anybody to support this bill. It goes against the fundamental fabric and principle of caring that ensures the good structure and fabric of family life, friendship and respect for individuals who want to be free from the burden and task of labour on that day. I condemn this bill.

  • SPEECH IN SUPPORT OF NATIVE GAME BIRDS REGULATION 2015 DISALLOWANCE MOTION

    10th November 2015

    Disallowance motion.

    Native Game Birds Regulation 2015.

    GAME AND FERAL ANIMAL CONTROL ACT 2002: DISALLOWANCE OF SECTIONS [2], [3] AND [4] OF SCHEDULE 1 OF THE GAME AND FERAL ANIMAL CONTROL AMENDMENT (NATIVE GAME BIRDS) REGULATION 2015

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [3.31 p.m.]: The Animal Justice Party supports the motion moved by Mr David Shoebridge to disallow the Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment (Native Game Birds) Regulation 2015. I understand that the regulation relates to the shooting of birds that are supposed to be stationary. I used to work as a duck rescuer in the field before the legislation to ban recreational duck shooting became law. We clearly opposed the killing of those birds for recreational purposes. Significantly, I and other rescuers noticed that when a shot was fired at a flock only one or two birds would drop to the ground. If they were lucky they were killed instantly. As we continued to watch the remaining flock fly across the lake two, three or four more birds would slowly drop away. They were the birds that died long, lingering deaths from shot pellets in their bodies.

    One study that led both Houses to ban recreational duck shooting was conducted by Robert L. Cochrane and entitled “Crippling effects of lead, steal and copper shot on experimental mallards”. The study strikes at the issue at hand in this debate. A study undertaken by the gun industry looked at the shooting of ducks that were tethered to the ground and not flying. To an extent, the study replicates the amendment that seeks to allow hunters to shoot animals that are standing still or moving slowly on the ground while they are eating.

    The study conducted by Winchester-Western involved the controlled shooting of ducks that were tethered and not in flight, and then measured the spray pattern and injuries inflicted by the shots. The study proved that a duck’s fate is determined by the number of pellets and what vital organs they strike. Whilst ducks that are struck in the abdomen and those with broken leg bones do not die immediately, they may have little chance of survival. Those ducks are part of the unretrieved kill or crippled cohort. As I said, that study was done on animals that were on the ground and moving slowly. In debate some years ago Labor member the Hon. Jan Burnswoods said:

    One major issue that has been under discussion is cruelty. In 1988 the Animal Welfare Advisory Council, which was set up by the Labor Government, reported that duck shooting should be terminated because the level of pain and suffering of the ducks was unreasonably high. The advisory council recommended that the season be brought to an end … particularly as it is estimated that as many as 20 per cent of birds that are shot die a lingering death.

    There is the rub. This is not about controlling numbers of birds that might be putting pressure on the success of rice paddocks. If there is to be an effective system to deter birds from eating crops the Government must invest money and resources into researching ways to drive ducks from fields. In so doing the Government must bear in mind the requirements of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act that stop us having an impact on animals that causes unreasonable, unjustifiable and unnecessary suffering. As a humane society we must turn our minds to finding alternative methods of deterrence if there is competition between agriculture and animals. In the future we will look back in shame at opening another chapter of shooting, maiming, crippling and causing the long, lingering deaths of many animals. We will be judged by our actions. I commend the disallowance motion to the House.


    The full debate can be read here.

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