• MEDIA RELEASE-Animal Justice Party MP questions Katrina Hodgkinson’s priorities concerning Blantyre Farm’s DA

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Mark Pearson, Animal Justice Party MP, has questioned why Member for Cootamundra, Katrina Hodgkinson, is advocating priority for the interests of intensive pig farmers Blantyre Farms, over the interests of her own electorate. Intensive pig farmers, Edwina & Michael Beveridge of Blantyre Farms lodged a development application in December 2015 to duplicate their Young shire, Golden Grove and Dead Horse Gully piggeries in the neighbouring Hilltops council region. Blantyre Farms have continued to attract wide spread criticism since the public exposure of their Young piggery practices and operations through the Aussiefarms campaign in 2013.

    The Blantyre Farms Development Application has generated significant community and public interest with thousands of objectors raising valid and legitimate concerns and issues, which have been echoed by council and state government agencies.”
    There is mandated planning process at both state government and local council level, and Ms Hodgkinson should just allow that process to take place in the interest of a thorough examination of the merits of the application.

    Mr Pearson confirmed issues raised by thousands of objectors includes the welfare of animals, the environment and a broad range of concerns about the impact on the community, immediate neighbours, workers and consumers, public health, biosecurity and biodiversity.

    From my understanding, it has not been a case where Hilltops council have ‘sat’ on this DA or that the ‘approval process had been lagging’, as has been suggested by Ms Hodgkinson.

    The assessment period has been exacerbated by information from Blantyre Farms themselves, which has repeatedly been found ‘wanting’ with questionable, missing, ambiguous, and non-evidenced information.

    Most recently Blantyre Farms have been required to revise information they have previously submitted to council. This includes pig mortality numbers now estimated to be approximately 8,600 per year. These are the piglets and pigs which die or are killed in the Blantyre Farms intensive sheds.

    A critical factor environmentally, is how the massive volume of Blantyre Farms generated waste would be managed. In their previous information, Blantyre Farms stated they would be able to disperse all the effluent and dead composted pigs on their property. Blantyre Farms have now stated they will still have an excess surplus of approximately two hundred & fifty tons of manure per year. This surplus waste will now need to be disposed of elsewhere. Mr Pearson is also concerned that Ms Hodgkinson does not appear to acknowledge the voice of the local community, her own electorate and the public and has not acknowledged the critical inclusion of submissions and council’s obligations to adhere to the planning process.

    Ms Hodgkinson was dumped by her own party from any ministerial responsibility. Her sole responsibility now is to represent all members of her own electorate in a fair, balanced and non-biased manner. Based on concerns I have had raised with my office, this does not appear to be happening.

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    Mr Pearson has continued to strongly oppose intensive piggeries and was one of the original activists involved with the exposure of a Parkville based piggery in which former prime minister, Paul Keating had a commercial interest.

  • When is a pig effluent spill on a public road acceptable?

    For all the government’s talk about biosecurity and environmental protections, it seems that the Minister overseeing such areas of compliance is not even aware of major breeches involving trucks overflowing with pig effluent being spilled on public roads. Not only is he not aware but also seems to think the issue has something to do with the roads Minister.

    Last year this same Minister rammed through attempted ag-gag legislation under the guise of biosecurity. Biosecurity is a serious issue, yet it seems piggery owners transporting pig waste from their intensive piggeries and then spilling effluent on public roads is acceptable, well acceptable enough for the Minister not to be aware of this ongoing issue. Watch my question to the Minister and his attempted answer, in which, not only does he not seek to investigate the incidents but seeks to give a pat on the back to the piggery owner in question.

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON:  There have been a number of complaints to Hilltops Council from Harden residents concerning the frequent spilling of animal effluent on the public roads from Blantyre Farms piggery. Residents have had difficulty obtaining accurate information about these spills given that industry is only required to “self report” problems concerning the transport and disposal of animal waste off site.

    What steps has the Minister’s department taken to investigate whether Blantyre Farms has failed to discharge a biosecurity duty under section 23 of the Biosecurity Act 2015?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I certainly draw no correlation between the question in relation to pig excrement and the last day of Parliament for the year. I will take the opportunity to welcome also the Hon. Rick Ball who has chaired one of our local land services [LLSs] here in New South Wales. Good to see him in the Chamber. I will take the question on notice because I know that there was an element of the question that directly related to my portfolio from a biosecurity point of view. But this issue also relates to local government, and the Hon. Duncan Gay’s portfolio in relation to road transport. Some of the things that I know the Hon. Duncan Gay has been working on with local government and the Department of Primary Industries are the issues of truck washes. It is certainly something that we are attuned to, it is something that is not isolated to one part of the State and it is something that we want to make sure is as practical as possible.

    We know that it is one thing to have fantastic producers, it is one thing to have fantastic growing conditions here in this State, but it is also vitally important to make sure we allow those producers to get their livestock transported easily throughout New South Wales. That is one of the reasons why the Hon Duncan Gay has put so much work into his pinch points and Bridges for the Bush program, to make sure we unlock some of those pinch points and not put extra costs or burdens on to our producers to be able to transport commodities like livestock, whether it is to saleyards, processing facilities or within different farms. To get a holistic answer, particularly in relation to biosecurity and my portfolio, I will take the question on notice and come back to the member.

  • Mark Pearson calls out cruelty and criminality in Greyhound industry

    On the last day of parliament for 2016 Mark Pearson of the Animal Justice Party delivered an adjournment speech befitting of the greyhound industry. Widespread animal cruelty, substance abuse and misuse, money laundering, race fixing, corruption and cover ups. Below is a extract from my speech, to listen to the whole speech please watch the video above.

    I take this opportunity to inform the House that 23 different drugs that have been banned at the Olympic Games are being force fed to New South Wales greyhounds. This information is in the boxes of documents that have been provided by Greyhound Racing NSW. Greyhounds are being given cocaine, ice and amphetamines to improve their performance.

    I have read several descriptions of greyhounds running in a race, gaining a place and then collapsing, thrashing about, having fits and dying. In recent years the greyhound industry has faced numerous challenges to its tenuous grasp on any social licence it may have or its right to exist in a civil and progressive society. Some of the challenges include links to money laundering, animal cruelty, the annual slaughter of thousands of healthy dogs, the practice of live baiting, genetic loading of the greyhounds in an attempt to make them run faster and faster, which results in them having muscular skeletal problems that are bred into every greyhound in the industry. Frankensteins of greyhounds are being created like broiler meat chickens.

    Animal doping and widespread abuse of prohibited substances can now be added to the list. Since 2010, 321 investigations of misconduct by registered trainers and owners in the greyhound industry have commenced. Almost 70 per cent of those investigations relate to the use of drugs and other prohibited substances in the greyhound racing industry. In some of the cases where criminal guilt has been established, the substances used on greyhounds are illicit drugs of addiction that cause problems in families in Australia, including cocaine, morphine, crystal meth, or ice, and amphetamines and speed. Throughout the investigations 203 people have been found guilty of drug abuse and using prohibited substances in the New South Wales greyhound racing industry alone. Greyhound Racing NSW currently has 43 open inquiries and investigations where laboratories have evidence of prohibited substances being used. Cumulatively, 20 per cent of those admissions of guilt and the independent evidence of prohibited substance abuse have occurred in the New South Wales greyhound racing industry. This has become apparent after looking only at 27 per cent of the material that has become available for public scrutiny.

     

  • Notice of Motion commending the tireless work of Anna Ludvik, founder of Lucy’s Project

    I recently attended the ‘Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence International Perspectives’ conference held in Sydney hosted by Lucy’s Project. I left so inspired by the great work Anna Ludvik and Lucy’s Project are doing to raise the awareness and educate about an area of domestic violence not often spoken about. To read more about Lucy’s Project please visit their website and like the Facebook page.

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    NOTICE OF MOTION

    1. That this House commends Anna Ludvik, founder of Lucy’s Project, for her work in raising awareness of the issue of animal abuse victims of domestic violence.
    2. That this House notes that at the recent ‘Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence International Perspectives’ conference held in Sydney hosted by Lucy’s Project international guest speaker, Allie Phillips from Sheltering Animals and Pets Together (SAF-T), USA, spoke about the bond between companion animals and human victims of domestic violence, citing the example of Hank, a Great Dane who shielded his female guardian McKenzie from a brutal attack by her
      partner, noting that:
      (a) Hank was honoured for his courage and bravery by the Humane Society of the United States receiving the Valor Dog of the Year and People’s Hero award at the Fifth Annual Dogs of Valor Awards,
      (b) Hank threw himself on top of McKenzie when her partner began attacking her with a hammer, in order to protect McKenzie from the blows,
      (c) the partner then began attacking Hank, beating the dog, throwing him from the porch by the neck,
      (d) McKenzie escaped and called the police who arrived to arrest the partner and found Hank still alive but suffering a broken hip and ribs,
      (e) McKenzie sought refuge at the Rose Brooks Center but when she learned she could not bring Hank with her, she refused to go until the Centre agreed to change its ‘no animals’ policy,
      (f) as a response to the story of Hank, the Rose Brooks Center shelter is building a wing that will house the companion animals of victims of domestic violence, and
      (g) Susan Miller, CEO of Rose Brooks Center, has said: ‘Families need to have a safe place to escape to, a place that welcomes the entire family including pets’.
    3. That this House acknowledges that many human victims of domestic violence are unable to leave abusive partners and seek safety due to the difficulty in finding emergency shelters or rental accommodation that provide housing for companion animals.
  • Mark Pearson makes formal complaint to the NSW Police regarding criminal activities in the Greyhound industry

    After a number of weeks of reading the Greyhound Racing NSW documents that were delivered to NSW Parliament under a Legislative Council Order for Papers, today I gave notice of a motion advising that I have sent a written complaint to the NSW Police about evidence of animal cruelty, illegal drug possession and administration to animals, race-fixing and money laundering. This is about more than “just a few bad apples’, this is about a systemic problem with criminality occurring throughout the whole of NSW wherever greyhound racing is taking place. l will be speaking more about this in my adjournment speech in parliament this afternoon.

    What is truly shocking is that the Labor Party, Nationals, Liberals, Christian Democrats and Shooters, Fishers & Farmers are wilfully ignoring the ugly truth of this vile industry- that the dogs are harmed, exploited and discarded with no thought about their welfare. But when the layer of animal cruelty is peeled away, we find criminal networks, substance abuse, race fixing and illegal gambling.

    It is undoubtedly clear that the animals are just like chips in a poker game, no more no less. They are a means to an end. But we will not stop in our fight for animals and in doing so we are exposing criminal underbellies that no civilised society should accept.

    NOTICE OF MOTION

    1. That this House notes that on 16 November 2016, The Hon Mark Pearson sent a letter to the NSW Police Force lodging a complaint about suspected serious criminal activities, including cruelty to animals, possession and administration of illegal substances including drugging greyhounds as well as the broader abuse of drugs within the greyhound racing industry, race-fixing and money-laundering in the greyhound racing industry.
    2. That this House notes that the complaint relates to information obtained from examination of non-privileged documents delivered to the Legislative Council on 12 October 2016 in response to the Order for Papers-Greyhound Welfare and Further Order as well as independent research resulting from reading those materials, which amongst other matters, discloses multiple instances of allegations of wrongdoing recorded and investigated Greyhound Racing NSW Inspectors.
    3. That the House encourages all members of parliament to view the privileged documents and the general public to view the non-privileged documents delivered to the Legislative Council in response to the Order for Papers-Greyhound Welfare and Further Order to see for themselves that the greyhound racing industry is riddled with criminality and animal cruelty and is beyond reform or redemption.
    4. That the House entreats the government to refrain from introducing a Bill to repeal the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Act 2016 pending the outcome of a police investigation into The Hon Mark Pearson’s complaint.

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