• UNCLE MAX DULUMUNMUN HARRISON, ELDER OF THE YUIN PEOPLE

    8th September 2015

    Adjournment speech.

    UNCLE MAX DULUMUNMUN HARRISON

    uncle-max-harrison-aboriginal-elder-2

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [9.06 p.m.]: Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison is a Yuin elder connected to his tribal lands of the South Coast of New South Wales—extending from the Snowy River in the south, to the escarpment of Wollongong in the north, and west to the Southern Highlands. As a young man he was chosen for initiation into tribal lore. He learnt the ancient wisdoms and spent many years learning about caring for country. Uncle Max stresses the importance of learning gleaned from watching, listening and seeing. He says, “If we don’t follow these three principles then we don’t learn anything.”

    For more than 30 years, Uncle Max has been passionate about educating people from a variety of backgrounds. He has taken people to his country, showed them sacred places and taught them about the importance of reconnecting with the land. With his family, he provides cultural training and education via their Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness consultancy. Indeed, he led the opening traditional ceremony for the 2011 and 2012 Australia Day celebrations at Sydney in recognition of his standing in the community. He has been invited to speak about the importance of maintaining traditional wisdom in Japan, Finland, France, the United States of America and across Australia. In 2009 he published a book titled My People’s Dreaming “to raise awareness of Aboriginal spirituality and to explain how we connect to the land”.

    His teachings cover the Yuin people’s creation dreaming, bush lore, foods, healing, laws and punishment, spirituality and the significance of our relationship to land and to animals. Uncle Max is greatly concerned about proper respect for the environment and the animals that share country with us—we all are bound together by a spiritual connection. He sees the land very clearly. But rather than using European ways to describe the landscape, he encourages people to go step-by-step and be a part of it. Instead of classifying a tree and objectifying it, he asks people to look at the tree, to experience how it sits in the landscape and grows, as well as the plants that grow around it and its purpose in that place. He notes:

    People are saying what are we going to do about climate change, what are we going to do about the ozone layer? They are looking up there at the ozone layer. It is not up there that’s the problem, it’s down here. And this is what I am trying to show people and teach them.

    That deep connection with land includes a proper relationship with animals. At certain times of the year, Uncle Max will perform ceremonies to ensure that the whales are sent on their way to protect the fish and to look after the food and medicines in the ocean. He describes when he was three years old watching his father and uncles slapping the water to bring in the dolphins. He said:

    These old men were masters of communicating and getting in touch with the spirit of the dolphins.

    Uncle Max is also an expert adviser to The Think Tank for Kangaroos [THINKK] and has raised a number of concerns about the killing of kangaroos for commercial and non-commercial purposes. He has expressed concern that the mass killing of kangaroos is damaging dreaming tracks across Australia. At the conclusion of his book he says:

    Mother Earth births everything for us. Father Sky carries the water and oxygen for us to breathe. Grandfather Sun warms the planet, warms our body, gives us light so we can see, raises the food that the Mother births and raises most of our relations, all our plants and trees. Grandmother Moon moves the water and gives us the woman-time and our birthing.

    Uncle Max recently said to Chinese officials, “Please don’t eat our kangaroos and I would never eat your pandas.”

  • SECOND READING SPEECH – OPPOSITION TO THE BIOSECURITY BILL 2015

    26th August 2015

    Second read speech.

    Ag Gag Bill 2015.

    BIOSECURITY BILL 2015

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [8.15 p.m.]: The Animal Justice Party is in a difficult position because biosecurity is important for the welfare of human beings and animals, the health of food and the protection of the environment. The Animal Justice Party agrees with the principle that biosecurity in New South Wales is everybody’s responsibility but, as the bill currently exists, we cannot support it for three reasons. Firstly, the Executive Government is insisting on exercising excessive power, let alone its refusal to give that administration to the police and the judiciary. That strikes at the fundamental principle of the Westminster system, which is held in high esteem and based on fundamental democracy. The Westminster system has evolved over almost 1,000 years. Secondly, the Executive Government is insisting on excessively punitive penalties. Thirdly, as has been trumpeted from the rooftops by the Government, the Government is claiming that this bill is crucial to protecting the activities of agribusiness that include intensive farming or factory farming of poultry, pigs and cattle by cracking down on activists who document cruelty to animals. That is what they do: they document cruelty to animals—nothing else—and therein lies the rub.

    There is absolutely no evidence—zilch, nil evidence—that activists have brought any disease onto any farm property in New South Wales. The person standing in this Chamber at the microphone is the person who trained most of the activists to adhere strictly to the biosecurity regulations in the Federal national legislation from the Australian Veterinary Emergency Plan [AUSVETPLAN]. They strictly adhere to those regulations and requirements and document that adherence. The material has been used in numerous courts to show a magistrate or a judge that these people have acted responsibly, reasonably and have taken all possible measures to prevent any disease being brought to the animals or to the farm. Interestingly, agribusiness itself is the source, cause and culprit of all the outbreaks of diseases across New South Wales and the rest of Australia.. The culprits are workers coming and going from farms, saleyards, and animals, such as bobby calves, that have all been picked up and loaded into the same truck to be taken from dairy farm to dairy farm, and then are taken to one saleyard where they are all mixed with or next to each other. These have been the petri dishes or the cesspools where diseases such as swine flu, bird flu and others have occurred.

    Those diseases have occurred because they have been introduced by the industry itself, not by activists. For example, the clear culprit in the outbreak of swine flu in the Hunter Valley were workers who were coming to that property from other piggeries when they had not abided by practices that activists abide by—making sure they had not been near an abattoir or another pig farm over the previous 14 days. The World Health Organization has made very clear its grave concern about the outbreak of bird flu in its airborne form. It has made clear its serious concern about the connection between intensive poultry sheds and the disease bird flu, or H5N1 influenza. Those sheds can accommodate an average of 22,000 birds, which means there are 44,000 blood-enriched lungs that are flushing away and into which bird flu, as it is now, can lodge. An intensive shed is a perfect environment for this virus to mutate into an airborne form. That is the risk; that is the problem, because 53 per cent of people infected by bird flu, H5N1, die.

    It is similar to the Spanish flu, H1N1. When soldiers came home from the trenches after World War I the flu incubated in them because they had lived in dreadful conditions similar to intensive farms. Then H1N1 killed millions of people throughout the world. These environments are cesspits. They are environments of abnormal stress for animals, with abnormal populations and stock densities and an accumulation of faeces and urine, which is a fundamental part of the intensive livestock industry. Several months ago there was an outbreak of golden staphylococcus in a piggery in Young. Golden staphylococcus outbreaks occur in hospitals amongst very sick people who have open wounds or are elderly or infirm; and they must be seriously compromised to attract such an infection.

    So the question is brought to bear: Why did this staphylococcus outbreak occur amongst workers in a piggery, where the pigs did not bring it or carry it? There was an environment as I described of intensive farming where a virus was able to go forth and multiply and become a disease affecting healthy workers in a piggery, not sick or diseased people in hospitals. Another example is the Newcastle disease outbreak on the Central Coast. This raises some important issues. This disease was brought by contaminants from other poultry industries, not activists. This particular outbreak raised serious issues about animal protection and welfare. Orders were made to kill hundreds of thousands of birds. There have been numerous accounts from firefighters, the Army and the police that many birds were not killed humanely. The birds were placed in drums with carbon dioxide gas. As the operation had to move so quickly often other birds were thrown on top of them before they had died and many suffocated.

    There was even a published report that, because it was becoming too expensive to kill the birds with carbon dioxide, one of the main operators on the Central Coast instructed the owner of the property with the sheds to reduce the number of sheds to two, turn up the heat to maximum and shut off the ventilation. The birds cooked to death. This was unlawful because there was no application under the Animal Research Act to perform an experiment and because it caused extreme aggravated cruelty to animals. Whatever committee or authority is established under the Biosecurity Bill, there must be a person with experience in animal protection to ensure that orders are not made to kill animals, which is often the case when a disease is introduced onto a property.

    This kind of cruelty and egregious suffering must not occur to animals that are considered diseased. For some reason, animal activism has been included in the Biosecurity Bill and shrouded behind some quite constructive principles. However, it must be understood that animal activists, who have never brought a disease, would certainly prefer to be doing things other than entering properties in the early hours of a morning or late at night. They would prefer to be at an opera, Beethoven’s seventh symphony or a Coldplay concert. However, out of frustration, because of the failure of authorities to address often large-scale distress and suffering, they enter these places.

    The evidence as to the fruits of their good work is extraordinary. There have been many major interventions, investigations and changes for animals in the interests of the New South Wales community and the Government. Serious interventions were undertaken by the authorities after the evidence was gathered by these activists. A perfect example is Hawkesbury Valley Meats west of Sydney. This abattoir was killing all species of animals except poultry. As the employees were so distressed and frustrated by the fact that no authority was able to detect serious egregious cruelty to animals, cameras were installed by activists, with the help of employees. Those cameras documented 19 days of some of the most extreme brutalities inflicted upon cattle, sheep, goats and calves. It was so egregious that the police and the food authority marched in with orders and closed the abattoir for four months. The only reason they would reopen the abattoir—this is an important factor—is that the abattoir agreed to mandatory closed-circuit television cameras over critical points of animal welfare.

    This happened under the watch of the former Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson. These animals were under her care. The former Minister was responsible for the care of these animals ultimately, as she had responsibility for the portfolio. Yet every time the authorities visited this abattoir on reports of cruelty, as soon as they knocked on the door and said they had arrived the whistle was blown and the acts of violence against the animals stopped as the authorities walked through. The evidence was gathered at this place, where cruelty to animals had been happening undetected for a long time, because of the activists. Another example is live baiting in Queensland and New South Wales. It has become evident from investigations by the police, and the fact that people have been dismissed and stepped down, that live baiting has been systemic and ongoing for a long time. Live baiting is illegal.


    The full debate can be read here.

  • Time to stop the greyhound industry

    DISALLOWANCE MOTION TO THE RACING ADMINISTRATION AMENDMENT REGULATION 2015

    26th August 2015

    Disallowance motion.

    RACING ADMINISTRATION ACT 1998: DISALLOWANCE OF RACING ADMINISTRATION AMENDMENT (RACE FIELD INFORMATION FEES) REGULATION 2015

    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.

  • SUPPORT FOR THE PROHIBITION OF COAL SEAM GAS BILL 2015

    13th August 2015

    Second reading speech.

    PETROLEUM (ONSHORE) AMENDMENT (PROHIBIT COAL SEAM GAS) BILL 2015

    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.

  • VIVISECTION

    12th August 2015

    Adjournment speech.

    ANIMAL RESEARCH

    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.

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