• 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.

  • Our submission to the Draft Plan of Management of the Brumby

    It seems the NPWS and the Office of Environment & Heritage continue to push their mass slaughter agenda, one that will result in brutal cruelty. My office submitted or submission to the Draft Plan of Management in which we address the multitude of inaccuracies and failings of the plan and associated technical reports. Our submission makes a number of sensible, proven, sustainable and most of all humane recommendations to address the lack of science, independence and long term outlook of the plan.

    Reading the plan 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. The assertion that fertility control measures are ineffective and the glowing endorsement in the ITRG Report of aerial culling as the best option for animal welfare fly in the face of past mistakes, mistakes that resulted in terrible animal cruelty and suffering.

    In light of all this our submission makes three critical recommendations that MUST be implemented now so as the other recommendations and information can be assessed. These 3 critical recommendations are:

    “For all the reasons outlined in this submission the Animal Justice Party totally disagrees with the draft Plan and recommends as a matter of urgency and public interest that the following be adopted:
    1. That this draft Plan and wild horse (brumby) management in general be subject to the proper parliamentary scrutiny via a Committee Inquiry.
    2. That this current draft Plan and ongoing processes be placed on immediate hold pending the recommendations of the above inquiry.
    3. Passive trapping and rehoming of suitable horses should continue with increased transparency and responsibility taken by the NPWS.”

    To read our full submission please go to our AJP Brumby Plan Submission page.

    If you have any questions or concerns please contact Josh – joshua.agland@parliament.nsw.gov.au

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  • Planned Kangaroo slaughter at Penrith Anglican College

    Relocation not Extermination for Penrith Anglican College Kangaroos

    There has been a justifiable outcry against plans by the Penrith Anglican College to ask the NPWS to kill 15 healthy male kangaroos selected from an existing mob of kangaroos that live and range between the school’s 40 acres and the adjacent Orchard Hills RAAF base.

    In response Mark wrote a letter to the Principal of the school detailing that there is non-lethal methods of removal that have been long tried and tested. Given the emails and phone calls that our office have received over the last few days, we are sure that many of the parents and students of the school would be relieved to know that there are options available that do not include the slaughter of our native animals. In addition Mark asked a question of the Minister for Environment regarding the issue of the kill permits and assessment process.

    Claims of kangaroo over-population are untested and given that there have been no recorded instances of aggression or injuries caused by these kangaroos, it is a massive over-reaction by the school to seek NPWS permits for the killing of these native animals.

    With 40 acres of grounds, it would seem not unreasonable to allow a defined area for habitat and erect fencing to prevent the students from coming into close contact with the kangaroos. If that is not possible, then a program of tranquilliser darting of the kangaroos for removal and relocation is a far more humane method of managing the kangaroos than simply applying a death sentence. ‘Remote chemical capture and release’ has proven to be a very safe and effective way of relocating macropod populations.

    What kind of message is the school sending to its students that killing healthy kangaroos is an acceptable form of native animal management? I am sure if we asked the students they would be open to a more humane solution.

    LATEST UPDATE

    Due to the public pressure and communication of concern from the Animal Justice Party it appears the mass grave pit has been filled in and talks are ongoing in regards to a relocation program. This is a sensible decision by the school and demonstrates that professional negotiations and respectful dialogue led by the Animal Justice Party can result in success for all involved.

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  • 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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