• Question Without Notice-Live maceration of newly hatched chicks in the egg industry

    Earlier this month an Australian-first investigation by Animal Liberation and Aussie Farms revealed the mass killing of ‘useless’ male chicks and the painful de-beaking of day-old females. This commodification and basis of worth placed on individual sentient beings is inevitable in the animal agriculture industry. The male chicks are seen as ‘wastage’, no different to the wastage in the greyhound industry, the females are a commodity producing machine with an expiry date. In response to this footage, I asked the Minister whether this unnecessary and unjustifiable suffering would be outlawed.

    MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries.

    The current egg production regulatory framework allows for the live maceration or gassing to death of millions of newly hatched male chicks as “industry wastage” because they are of no economic benefit to the industry. Gene technology can now differentiate between male and female chicks in the early egg incubation phase, with German researchers soon to release a commercially viable in-ovo sexing test that will result in the destruction of male embryo eggs prior to them developing sensibility and a capacity to feel distress and pain.

    Will the Minister advise when the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Domestic Poultry will be revised to prohibit the live maceration or gassing of male chicks as an unjustifiable practice?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR (Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water): I thank the member for his question and for highlighting the research the industry is doing and its investment into advancements in chicken sexing in egg production. It is a good example of how our food and fibre primary producers are addressing issues of concern to consumers. They are investing a record amount into research and continuing to look at the innovation and technology available in Australia and around the world for their production processes. We should all be standing up and saying that is exactly what we want to see from a mature primary industries sector in this State. For example, they are investing in better techniques in animal husbandry and, as the member highlighted, in chicken sexing in the egg industry. That is what we ask of our industries.

    My point is that we do not need government to be telling industry what to do. In this case our primary producers are leading the charge and backing up their actions with record amounts of money. They are at the forefront of ensuring they are responsive to some of the issues in their industries. For further information, the industry is funding research by the CSIRO to enable the sexing of chickens in the early development phase in the egg. This will mean that sexing can occur close to point of lay and not require incubating and hatching of male chicks. The industry is doing that in cooperation with the CSIRO, which is a great example of how our primary producers are working within their industries. In some cases they do not need us to come down with a heavy hand and introduce legislation telling them what to do because they are already doing it.

    I have previously spoken in this House about our pork sector. I know the member is concerned about sow stalls. Again, the industry determined that it would voluntarily get rid of sow stalls and more than 70 per cent of the sector has gone down that path. That has not happened because we told them to do it; they were already doing it. They understood the issue and put their money where their mouth is. They are working with all producers to address those issues. I am proud of the primary producers in this State. They understand the issues that concern their consumers. Whether it is mulesing or egg or pork production, our producers are leading the charge. They do not need us to tell them what to do because they are already doing it.

    MARK PEARSON: I ask a supplementary question. Will the Minister please go to the specificity of the question, which relates to when in-ovo chick sexing is available will the Government amend the model code of practice to prohibit the maceration and gassing of male chicks?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I thank the member for his supplementary question. Without repeating too much of my previous answer, layer chickens are specifically bred for egg production and the male chickens are unsuitable for rearing for meat. Male layer chickens are killed upon hatching and sexing of the chickens at layer hen hatcheries. This is recognised practice in the industry globally. Maceration is a humane method of killing day-old chickens as the chickens are killed instantly. It is recommended in the current national Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Domestic Poultry, fourth edition. The industry is funding research by the CSIRO to enable the sexing of chickens in the early development phase in the egg. This will mean that sexing can occur close to point of lay and not require incubating and hatching of male chicks.

  • Question without Notice-Penrith Anglican College planned kangaroo slaughter

    My question is directed to the Minister for Ageing, representing the Minister for the Environment.

    The National Parks and Wildlife Service has issued a permit to kill 15 healthy male kangaroos trapped within the boundaries of Penrith Anglican College. Will the Minister intervene to order the translocation of the kangaroos by remote chemical capture and release, which is very likely to be 100 per cent successful and cost effective when carried out by qualified and licensed individuals and does not require stressful herding of the animals?

    If not, why not?

  • Notice of Motion to commemorate William Shakespeare and his work

    On Tuesday the 9th of August I gave a Notice of Motion to not only commemorate William Shakespeare’s work but to acknowledge his bravery in questioning the morals and ethics of the society his was witness to, certainly a thinker ahead of his time. The particular piece that I quoted tells the story of hare being hunted, a fitting story given the systemic live baiting of the greyhound industry still today in 2016.

    That this House:

    (a) commemorates William Shakespeare’s death four hundred years ago, which was certainly only the shedding of the genius’ mortal coil;

    (b) notes that his brilliant and unparalleled crafting of words and rhyme through drama, poetry and song will live on forever;

    (c) acknowledges that he was a wordsmith whose oeuvres very few artists have ventured anywhere near and not one has surpassed;

    (d) acknowledges that through the instrument of his art, humankind has enjoyed insights and revelations into its own complex being and indeed all of the mysteries of nature, including the voiceless, that is, but only to our recognised tongues, animals; and

    (e) notes that this great man gripped his quill to reveal the plight of a hunted hare, the words forthwith so apt for a controvert nigh before this House:

    And when thou hast on foot the purblind hare,

    Mark the poor wretch, to overshoot his troubles

    How he outruns the wind and with what care

    He cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles:

    The many musets through the which he goes

    Are like a labyrinth to amaze his foes.

    Sometime he runs among a flock of sheep.

    To make the cunning hounds mistake their smell,

    And sometime where earth-delving conies keep,

    To stop the loud pursuers in their yell,

    And sometime sorteth with a herd of deer:

    Danger deviseth shifts; wit waits on fear:

    For there his smell with others being mingled,

    The hot scent-snuffing hounds are driven to doubt,

    Ceasing their clamorous cry till they have singled

    With much ado the cold fault cleanly out;

    Then do they spend their mouths: Echo replies,

    As if another chase were in the skies.

    By this, poor Wat, far off upon a hill,

    Stands on his hinder legs with listening ear,

    To hearken if his foes pursue him still:

    Anon their loud alarums he doth hear;

    And now his grief may be compared well

    To one sore sick that hears the passing-bell.

    Then shalt thou see the dew-bedabbled wretch

    Turn, and return, indenting with the way;

    Each envious brier his weary legs doth scratch,

    Each shadow makes him stop, each murmur stay:

    For misery is trodden on by many,

    And being low never relieved by any.

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  • Adjournment speech-marriage equality

    I speak tonight in support of marriage equality. Yesterday Senator Penny Wong delivered the Lionel Murphy Memorial Lecture in Canberra. During her speech, Senator Wong spoke about the abuse she receives as a gay woman and her fear of more abuse if the Federal Government’s planned plebiscite on same sex marriage goes ahead. Earlier today I and my Animal Justice Party colleagues went on the public record in support of marriage equality. This position is completely in line with the Animal Justice Party’s ethos of compassion, inclusiveness and a better life for all.
    As an openly gay parliamentarian, I am all too well aware of the pain and suffering experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people that Senator Wong spoke about so eloquently yesterday. I came out in a Catholic high school over 40 years ago. I have always had the support of my family. My father said, “You do what you want in your life, Son; as long as you do not cause harm to anyone.” And that instilled a confidence in me.
    Just as same sex marriage is unlawful now; so was same sex or homosexual intimacy and relationships four decades ago. In 1978 I joined friends from Newcastle and was one of the 78ers participating in the first Mardi Gras in Australia, which was a distressing but also celebratory experience. I was obviously quite young at 17. I was looking at the police as they were arresting people and putting them into paddy wagons. To one officer I said, “I think one day the police will actually march with us in this parade.” He said, “You might be bloody right, son, but you better get out of here or you will end up in that paddy wagon.” I departed and was free. Five years later, unfortunately two of my friends died from AIDS. Personally I am not that interested in the institution of marriage, but I believe that everyone should have the right to enjoy the institution if they so wish. If any two people seek to be married under any creed or institution, then that right must never be denied by any civilised society. This inclusive and respectful position would surely be natural to any compassionate and wise member of Parliament.

  • Question without notice-Kangaroo meat consumption

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries. Has the NSW Food Authority conducted a robust and detailed analysis on kangaroo meat sold for human consumption? If so, did this analysis test for E. coli, salmonellosis and other relevant contaminants as well as acetic acid, which make it delicious. If E. coli was detected was typing done for the specification of the E. coli? If no such analyses have been done, will the Minister authorise the appropriate testing to be conducted?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: When it comes to food safety and the kangaroo meat industry the NSW Food Authority has an excellent record. About two trips ago when I visited the NSW Food Authority I ran into an inspector who had just returned from an inspection at a kangaroo meat facility. Indeed, when I was asked this question about the role of the NSW Food Authority and kangaroo meat it reminded me of that chance encounter. I am aware of media discussion regarding an ongoing campaign intended to bring attention to alleged cruelty in the kangaroo meat sector. I am also aware of claims, repeated in the media, that kangaroo meat contains pathogens that can be harmful to humans.
    First, let me say that as kangaroos are native fauna, the Office of Environment and Heritage manages the commercial harvesting program in New South Wales. This program is intended to ensure kangaroos are culled humanely and that kangaroo populations are sustainable. Requirements for the humane slaughter of kangaroos are specified in the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes. This code of practice is prescribed as a condition of licence by the Office of Environment and Heritage. The risk that meat for consumption will come into contact with pathogenic organisms such as salmonella or E.coli is not a risk that is specific to kangaroo meat; this is a known risk factor for many types of meat and other food products.
    A key component of the role of the Food Authority is to work closely with industry in New South Wales, across all points of the supply chain to minimise the risks posed by such pathogens. For the kangaroo meat industry the Food Authority licenses kangaroo harvesters and processors in New South Wales and those facilities must be able to show traceability of product throughout the supply chain from harvest to the plate. All kangaroo game meat processed, manufactured or sold in New South Wales must comply with the Australian Standard for Hygienic Production of Game Meat for Human Consumption. The Food Authority also enforces established handling and storage requirements for kangaroo meat to further reduce any risks due to microorganisms. While the Food Authority has strict systems and requirements in place to ensure kangaroo meat is safe, it is important that all raw meats are cooked and stored at the correct temperature. This helps to reduce the presence of any microorganisms that may be present in the meat and to prevent microorganisms forming after it is cooked.
    Government authorities, including the Food Authority, also regularly inspect game meat processing facilities, field depots and harvesters—for example, the chance encounter I had with the inspector to which I referred earlier. The authority’s audit and inspection program ensures that kangaroo harvesters, chillers and processors comply with the food safety requirements set out in the specific food safety program that each business is required to have. The minimum inspection frequency varies for different types of facilities. Harvesters are inspected once every two years, chillers are inspected— [Time expired.]

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