• Time to stop the greyhound industry


    26th August 2015

    Disallowance motion.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [12.08 p.m.]: The Animal Justice Party will support the disallowance motion of the Racing Administration Amendment (Race Field Information Fees) Regulation 2015. A government of either persuasion should never support an industry that can only thrive and flourish on the backs of people suffering from psychological problems that cause suffering and a great deal of hardship for their families, friends and the community. A large proportion of the community who gamble are not people who gamble from time to time or for weekend recreation; they are people who are addicted and consumed by that addiction. These people pour a lot of money and income into the racing industry.

    The Animal Justice Party is concerned for the animals. The racing industry is driven to make as much money as possible from not only gamblers but also animals. Horses are overbred. They are genetically modified to the point where they break their legs at the age of four. They develop ulcers from the stress of racing. Racehorses have many falls and accidents because of the pressure and stress they experience. These animals are whipped in every race. If any member of this House were to whip their dog in the street in the way that horses are whipped in every race, they would be prosecuted and sent to prison. The racing industry allows the abuse of animals. Abuse of an animal by whipping it is permitted in a race to drive the animal to run faster and to win, for financial gain. The racing industry has a very sinister side to it. It allows abuse of animals that in any other circumstance would cause a person to be brought before the courts and dealt with severely.

    Police investigators and the RSPCA are currently searching for and digging up the graves of former racing greyhounds all over the country. They are investigating claims of animals being tortured in the process of live baiting, which was a systemic practice in the greyhound racing industry. It is probably still occurring but has been driven underground. No matter the contribution an industry makes to the community, the Government should not support it if it engages in animal cruelty. We should support research and education, but in other ways. It should never be linked to an industry that cannot exist without exploiting the suffering of people with psychological problems and causing animal abuse.

    Read the full debate here.


    13th August 2015

    Second reading speech.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [11.53 a.m.]: The Animal Justice Party supports this responsible and important bill, the Petroleum (Onshore) Amendment (Prohibit Coal Seam Gas) Bill 2015. I bring to the attention of the House the fact that every sitting day one of the first statements made by the President is that we have a positive and complete duty to the welfare of the people and children of this State and of Australia. It is time for us to turn our mind to turning our back on the whole industry of petroleum and fossil fuels, because the evidence is overwhelming that this is a deleterious, dangerous and harmful industry. We must turn away from it and look to alternatives in order to ensure the welfare of our people and our children.

    One hastily stitched together report by one scientist is not a robust, rigorous or responsible analysis of an industry’s potentially catastrophic pillaging of the land and the water we all share. As Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile indicated, the best measures are not numerous scientific reports—if there were any—but to go and look at where this type of activity has been occurring. With great respect to Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile, he went and looked at what has been happening in areas in Queensland and elsewhere. What we are witnessing is alarming and frightening.

    The Animal Justice Party has analysed all aspects of this industry. The industry demonstrates utter disregard for the health of citizens, including farmers and their children; and the environment, including the health and integrity of our land and water. Looking at the issue from the stance of the Animal Justice Party, there are studies by veterinarians that say very clearly that farm animals that graze on land under which this activity is occurring are already suffering from deleterious respiratory and alimentary problems. There are also impacts on wildlife living in the area.

    This sinister and deceptive form of mining noxiously creeps in under the very land that the people of New South Wales legitimately possess, enjoy, flourish on and derive from. It strikes at a fundamental right of all owners of land, be they farmers, wildlife carers, Indigenous people or many others. It strikes at the right to enjoy, be nourished by and be free from harm from our land and water. Moreover it strikes at our overwhelming, positive responsibility to ensure a safe and protected environment, free from noxious, harmful, poisonous substances that would deleteriously affect our children, the wild animals that enjoy these lands, and the animals that we introduce and rear on these lands, now and in the future.

    The coal seam gas industry must be brought to an immediate halt in New South Wales. The Animal Justice Party supports this very important bill, which goes directly to ensure—and “ensure” is the correct and important word—the welfare and wellbeing of the people, including our children; the animals; and the environment of this land. The Animal Justice Party commends this bill to the House.

    Read the full debate here.


    12th August 2015

    Adjournment speech.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [12.49 a.m.]: I welcome the Parliament’s commendation yesterday of the Medical Advances Without Animals [MAWA] Trust, which operates as an independent medical research and educational trust facilitating the development and use of non-animal based experimental methods by working cooperatively with the research community. Although the Animal Research Act of New South Wales stipulates that all animal research should be based on the three Rs—reduction, replacement and refinement—in theory it aims at minimising the use of animals in research. It does this through reduction, which is to reduce the number of animals used; replacement, which is to use alternative non-animal methods whenever they are available; and refinement, which is to refine all procedures to ensure that as little pain and stress as possible is experienced by the animals.

    However, animal testing has created a multibillion dollar industry, encompassing the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, and university and government bodies. There is also a significant industry that manufactures cages and restraints. Humane Research Australia has identified that the trend over the past decade has been an increase rather than a decrease in animal testing. In 2013, in New South Wales 2,699,532 animals were used for research including more than 2,000 cats and dogs and 272,000 sheep. Of these, 0.53 per cent were in the “death as end point” category. The aim of experiments in this category requires the animals to die unassisted—that is, not euthanased, as death is “a critical measure of the experimental treatment”.

    This shameful torture and killing of animals underpins the absolute need for a visionary organisation such as the Medical Advances Without Animals Trust, which directly funds a wide variety of research projects, and advanced honours and doctoral scholarships to support research into a vast range of diseases, disorders and disabilities in leading universities and research institutions Australia-wide. It supports revolutionary work such as organs-on-a-chip at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute. These chips are microdevices lined with living human cells that mimic the actual tissue structures, functions and motions of whole organs from liver to lungs and intestines. The chip is a revolutionary way of diagnosing. I dedicate the following poem, which was written by a medical doctor, to dogs that have been killed in research in New South Wales:

    We called him “Rags”. He was just a cur,

    But twice, on the Western Line,

    That little old bunch of faithful fur

    Had offered his life for mine.

    And all that he got was bones and bread,

    Or the leavings of soldier grub,

    But he’d give his heart for a pat on the head,

    Or a friendly tickle and rub.

    And Rags got home with the regiment,

    And then, in the breaking away—

    Well, whether they stole him, or whether he went,

    I am not prepared to say.

    But we mustered out, some to beer and gruel

    And some to sherry and shad,

    And I went back to the Sawbones School,

    Where I still was an undergrad.

    One day they took us budding MDs

    To one of those institutes

    Where they demonstrate every new disease

    By means of bisected brutes.

    They had one animal tacked and tied

    And slit like a full-dressed fish,

    With his vitals pumping away inside

    As pleasant as one might wish.

    I stopped to look like the rest, of course,

    And the beast’s eyes levelled mine;

    His short tail thumped with a feeble force,

    And he uttered a tender whine.

    It was Rags, yes, Rags! who was martyred there,

    Who was quartered and crucified,

    And he whined that whine which is doggish prayer

    And he licked my hand and died.

    And I was no better in part nor whole

    Than the gang I was found among,

    And his innocent blood was on the soul

    Which he blessed with his dying tongue.

    Well I’ve seen men go to courageous death

    In the air, on sea, on land!

    But only a dog would spend his breath

    In a kiss for his murderer’s hand.


    4th June 2015

    Adjournment speech.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [3.46 p.m.]: Today I raise the issue of homelessness in New South Wales. Even though this issue has been addressed by both governments over time, it is becoming quite clear that the measure of any intervention or policy change would be a reduction in the number of homeless people across New South Wales. But, unfortunately, that is not the case. Even 2½ blocks from this Parliament several people are living in a terrible situation one block behind the courthouses where their walls are blankets and their protection is old doonas and filthy clothes. They are living in impoverished conditions right under our watch.

    The two major causes of homelessness are mental illness and domestic violence. Crisis teams and mental health intervention teams were established in the early 1980s under the Richmond Implementation program so that where mentally ill people were living in the community, very assertive and robust services were available to them and their families 24 hours a day. A fundamental principle of the program was to use a case management system and to form a therapeutic relationship with mentally ill people. What has been occurring, and is still occurring, is that a person will have a psychotic episode or another type of severe mental illness episode, he or she will be treated and then returned home or found housing somewhere. But the nature of a chronic mental illness is that episodes recur. If there is not proper intervention and support for these people, they will end up becoming homeless. Because of their mental illness and psychosis, they are unable to care for themselves and they wander the streets, frightened and paranoid and become lost within our community.

    In a robust and assertive mental health service these people form a relationship with a particular caseworker and they stay in contact with them. The key to proper mental health intervention is to watch out for early symptoms. That is very much the case in the work that has been done by Professor Patrick McGorry, OBE. He says we need to intervene early and form a relationship with mentally ill people to prevent further psychotic episodes or mental health issues which render them incapable of caring for themselves and becoming homeless.

    Another issue is the complex circumstance in Australia where one woman dies from domestic violence every week and one is hospitalised every three hours, which can lead to some becoming homeless. More than 25,000 domestic violence assaults occur in New South Wales each year, the vast majority of which are on women. Approximately 31 per cent of homelessness is caused by domestic violence. The Government must prioritise funding for accommodation services proven to help vulnerable women at risk of serious injury and death as a consequence of domestic violence. It is crucial that women and children have access to supported accommodation immediately upon presentation to the police or to other services where there is no safe alternative other than to leave their home. Being forced to leave home due to violence should not result in homelessness.

    Some reforms undertaken in 2014 under the Going Home Staying Home program have manifestly failed to protect women who have become homeless due to domestic violence. Instead, the New South Wales Government reduced 336 existing services to just 149 services. The tendering process awarded contracts to big non-government organisations, almost all of which were Christian organisations. These reductions in services have had a deleterious effect on women and children who are seeking help and it is the second main contributor to homelessness.


    26th May 2015

    Adjournment speech.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [6.41 p.m.]: I raise a matter that was brought to my attention yesterday by Animals Australia. The memorandum of understanding between the New South Wales Liberal-Nationals Government and the NSW Farmers Association states, “We … reaffirm our commitment to non-mandatory standards and guidelines for animal welfare”. New South Wales is the only State in Australia that does not uphold and adhere to the mandatory standards for animal welfare, particularly for farm animals. The Standing Committee on Agriculture, Resources, Fisheries and Forestry Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals—Cattle is adopted nationally, except in New South Wales, as a consequence of a decision made late last year and confirmed in a document entitled “NSW Farming: Investing Locally, Connecting Globally—Memorandum of Understanding”, dated 25 March 2015.

    The concern is that today the Minister for Primary Industries, the Hon. Niall Blair, said that New South Wales is like every other State or Territory in Australia and is committed to these mandatory guidelines and standards. In fact, New South Wales is the only State that has a memorandum of understanding that does not enforce the guidelines and standards, or has agreed not to enforce them. A typical statement in a model code of practice can be found in the cattle code that aims to:

    Promote humane and considerate treatment of cattle and the use of good husbandry practices to improve the welfare of cattle in all types of cattle farming enterprises;

    Inform all people responsible for the care and management of cattle about their responsibilities; and,

    Set a minimum industry standard by defining acceptable cattle management practices.

    When the practice of mulesing in New South Wales was heralded to the world it caused an international crisis for the wool industry because of a campaign to boycott Australian wool. Even though we tried to provide mandatory pain relief after mulesing—at 45¢ a lamb—the code of practice did not uphold it and the New South Wales Government did not support the mandatory codes of practice. The Government should protect New South Wales farmers and their industries from the possible consequences of poor standards of animal protection and animal welfare. A serious situation has already occurred—the international boycott of Australian wool—which has caused problems for the wool industry. I am concerned that the agreement between the Liberal-Nationals Government and the NSW Farmers Association could result in a similar situation if the world and the importers of Australian and New South Wales products discover we have an even lower standard of animal protection and animal wellbeing than that to which we adhere nationally.

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