• 29/02/2016: “Ways Out Of A Cruel Deadly Maze” – Companion Animal Roundtable

    After several months of planning including meetings with and visits to a number of rescue groups, our office held Companion Animal Roundtable on the 26th February at Parliament House. The purpose of the Roundtable was to consult with 16d and other grassroots rescue groups to discuss “Ways Out Of A Cruel Deadly Maze”- the theme of Mark’s inspiring introductory speech.

    The Roundtable highlighted the problems of oversupply of companion animals including stray and surrendered animals, high kill-rates in pounds and shelters and the need to improve re-homing rates. We noted that the system for protecting the well-being of these animals is BROKEN, and that rescue groups were very much a successful part of the solution for solving these issues.

    We discussed ways of supporting free-living animals such as colony cats and considered calls for an extension of the definition of companion animals to include horses, chickens, guinea pigs rabbits and others. Education of the general public, carers, rangers and pound staff was also identified as a high priority. Funding, better resources and greater recognition for animal rescue groups was seen as crucial in supporting their work, as well as dismantling barriers within the local government bureaucracy that prevents 16d groups from accessing and re-homing animals that are otherwise abandoned on death row.

    From here our office will be developing a framework for legislative and policy reform with input from selected stakeholders, including consultation with the RSCPA and the Animal Welfare League.

    From Mark and his staff we truly appreciate all those that participated and made the event a success. This is the vital first step that has been long overdue towards finding the way out of the cruel deadly maze.

    Mark Pearson making his introductory speech to attendees of the Companion Animal Roudtable held by our office

    Mark Pearson making his introductory speech to attendees of the Companion Animal Roudtable held by our office

  • 23/02/2016: Mark Pearson gives notice of Animal Justice Party’s next bill, the Animal Research Amendment (Primates) Bill

    It was another historic day on Tuesday the 23rd of February 2016, the first sitting day back for the Legislative Council of NSW saw animals enter the mix of cross party politics. Mark Pearson of the Animal Justice Party gave notice of his next bill which seeks to bring an end to animal research to be carried out on primates in the name of science.

    The Animal Research Amendment (Primates) Bill will amend the Animal Research Act 1985 to prohibit the use, keeping or supplying of primates in carrying out animal research. It will prohibit the use, supply or keeping of primates in connection with animal research and will make it illegal for a person (including an accredited research establishment, a holder of an animal research authority or a licensed animal supplier) to use, keep or supply a primate in connection with animal research.

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    Primates are virtually the only animals taken from the wild in large numbers for bio-medical research. Even though breeding colonies exist, it is still estimated that over 1,000,000 primates are taken every year from the wild, with over two thirds being used for bio-medical research. The NSW Sydney facility at Wallacia breeds primates in captive colonies for research.

    A great ape research ban, or severe restrictions on the use of great apes in research, is currently in place in the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany and Austria. These countries have ruled that chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans are cognitively so similar to humans that using them as test subjects is unethical. Austria is the only country in the world where experiments on lesser apes, the gibbons, are completely banned too.

    The use of animals for research and testing is totally unacceptable, inaccurate and outdated. Instead, Australian researchers should be using non-animal research methods which have been proved to be more accurate and of greater relevance, producing improved results faster. In 2013 Humane Research Australia commissioned a Nexus Research Poll which revealed that most Australians (60%) are opposed to the use of primates in research.

    Bio-medical and pharmaceutical research claims the lives of an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 non-human primates worldwide each year, fueling the primate trade to meet demand. Despite this, strong evidence suggests that research using animal models provides unreliable results. Increasing numbers of scientists and clinicians are challenging animal experimentation on medical and scientific grounds.

  • 17/02/2016:The Business of Saving Lives Conference

    The Hon Mark Pearson was invited to open the last day of The Business of Saving Lives conference at Sydney University.  This conference attracted 130 participants representing about 90 groups, from all over Australia as well as overseas speakers.

    Mark told the enthusiastic crowd what it meant to now have a voice for animals in Parliament. He detailed his experience as a member of the Companion Animal Breeding Practices in New South Wales. He also received a positive response when discussing the Animal Justice Party’s first Bill, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Stock Animals) Bill 2015.

    Mark also received a delegation in his Parliamentary Office yesterday of keynote speakers from the conference. This included leaders from  Alley Cats Allies  Humane Network  and Maggie’s Rescue All were very positive about the differences they had been able to make for companion animals, through the adoption of new mind sets and techniques.

  • 16/02/2016: Born To Die-The excursion into the Australian abattoir and beyond (Part 1)

    A few years back after viewing hours upon hours of footage taken as a part of the investigation into the Hawkesbury Valley Meats abattoir I felt the urge to summarise the barbarity of what I witnessed, the explicitness of what will be forever etched into my mind. This summary transformed into not just a question of ethics and morality but into an idea, that as caregivers to the next generation why do we hide the truth? Why do we teach disconnection?

    Ultimately if something is not acceptable for our kids eyes and minds then how on Earth is it acceptable for their stomachs and their future world?

    Below is Part 1 of what i titled Born To Die-The excursion into the Australian abattoir and beyond. 

    It is time to swing open the doors of these forbidden fortresses, abattoirs, which are so intricately woven into the fabric of our society and in ways that will surprise, if not astound, you. Almost every day in Australia the lives are drained from an untold number of totally healthy beings but with the recent exposures of systemic brutal practices in slaughterhouses both here and in other countries a deep, menacing discord has been struck within us.

    It is a long time coming for this concealed messy business of covert animal slaughter to come face to face with the tribunal of our society.

    This ‘tribunal’ must not only consist of the reasonable person in our community but extend to our institutions of education from the most revered academic sciences through to animal and agriculture studies but also to the most worthy and innocent tribunal – our mature children.

    Eating meat is a pervasion in our society and ‘culture’ for most Australians. Our children partake of this with complete innocence. Rarely, if ever, is their repeated inquiry -“Mummy, Daddy where does that come from?” – receive the true answer it begs. It is time to unveil that menacing secret that even our school curricula have dodged so dishonestly for many decades – the story behind the acquisition of the flesh and blood of animals.

    Now before the gnashing of teeth begins and the trumpeting objections resound – let us prepare the slate upon which the debate is to commence as pristine. This call for a new chapter in the education of our senior children at school has nothing to do with arguments about vegetarian, vegan or meat based diets. It has to do with a truthful and robust education (in the true meaning of this word) to which our children have a fundamental right. “Veritas”, meaning Truth is so often on the Coat of Arms of our schools; Sydney Boys High School Coat of Arms-Veritate et Virtute (with truth and courage), CABRA, Dominican College for Girls in South Australia also has “VERITAS” embedded in their Coat of Arms, Cumberland Park in Adelaide, Sienna College, Camberwell in Victoria has “VERITAS” as well but also “Justice is Truth in Action”.

    It is clear then that within our education Charter and Principles in Australia there is the fundamental crux or nucleus of upholding the Truth and all what that means. It should never mean shunning away from very critical elements of our life and living and how some of those elements do bring death to so many beings. This formidable, by mass and mores, subject deserves the piercing light of day – not fettered dusk.

    Education is defined in various texts as: “give intellectual, moral and social instruction to someone, especially a child”; “the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

    The Social Science Faculty of Sydney Boys High School “strives to become a faculty of excellence in teaching and learning by encouraging independent thinking and creativity in an intellectually stimulating environment”.
    Our objectives (Sydney Boys High)

    • To implement teaching strategies for the development of independent and critical thinking;
    • To develop a stimulating and cooperative learning environment for both staff and students;
    • To prepare students for active involvement within our contemporary society.

    Even if you look at the Legal Studies’ policies of Sydney boys High School one can identify where the subject of animals being sent to slaughter as being very appropriate:

    “Legal Studies develops students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to the legal system and its effectiveness in promoting a just and fair society, with a view to empowering students to participate effectively as citizens at the local, national and international level. Studied themes include Justice, law and society, Culture, values and ethics, Legal processes and institutions, Conflict and cooperation and the Effectiveness of  the legal system. In the preliminary course, students study two broad topics of the basics of the legal system and the Individual and the State. They then perform a focus study of two marginalised groups and their position the law. In the HSC course, students engage in the topics of Law and Society and a number of focus studies on crime (compulsory) and two other general themes in law.

    The issue of animals being lawfully destined to slaughter by our society raises some very important questions and notions to be grappled with which both the Social Science and Legal Studies faculties at this school would seek to address though “Independent and critical thinking; culture, values and ethics; marginalised ‘groups’. “

    Very significantly and importantly the children would be asked to critically analyse why one group of animals, those we eat, are not afforded the same protection in law as other animals such as those we pet. It is here we would explore the law as it is simply set out (in NSW) and study the obvious anomaly:

    An “act of cruelty” in Section 4 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 NSW includes “any act …as a consequence of which the animal is …killed, wounded.” (my emphasis). However Section 24(1)(b)(ii) states “the person accused of the offence is not guilty of the offence if the act… is done in the course of and for the purpose of destroying it for producing food for human consumption in a manner that inflicted no unnecessary pain upon the animal.

    It can not be argued that this subject of animal slaughter is too insignificant to be given the light of day when reviewing the education curricula. Meat is a part of two out of every three meals eaten by our children and our society so is therefore very much a part of the mechanization of our society – both in our kitchens right through to the farm gate.

    The number of animals affected by meat consumption is staggering

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  • 12/02/2016: National Shut It Down Rally Sydney

    The National Shut It Down rally led by the Animal Justice Party in association with the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds was an amazing success. The Sydney rally alone attracted over 300 passionate greyhound lovers as well as many beautiful rescue greyhounds. These docile, gentle animals are a testament to industry claims that without ‘blooding’ these animals have no urge to race, maim or kill.

    Mark Pearson spoke at the Sydney rally on behalf of the Animal Justice Party. The Animal Justice Party is calling for a total shutdown to greyhound racing in Australia.

    Thank you to those people and animals that came along.

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