• Coconut trees


    19th September 2019


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON (15:10): Milk by any other name. Until quite recently the nations united by the mother tongue of English experienced no difficulty in understanding the multiple usages of that innocent word “milk”. However, Canada and various states in the United States of America have recently legislated that the word “milk” can only be used for products derived from animals, and New Zealand may soon follow suit. TheOxford English Dictionary defines the word “milk” as an opaque white fluid produced by female mammals to feed their young,the milk of cows as a food and a drink for humans, and the milk-like juice of certain plants such as coconut. However, the real root of “milk” is from Latin—the word “lac”, but the earliest definition of “milking” or “to milk” is “necare legumi mulgere”, which means drawing down the juices of bulb vegetables, without any specific reference to animal products.

    In Australia the National Farmers’ Federation and the National Party are now lobbying for the dairy industry’s exclusive ownership of the word “milk”. The logic being applied is that consumers are easily confused and may inadvertently buy a litre of almond milk—God forbid—when they meant to buy a carton of cows’ milk. Can it seriously be asserted that Australian consumers may become confused about the contents of their soy latte or coconut laksa? With the dire state of the Murray-Darling river and the challenges of growing food in an uncertain climate, why does the National Party and the National Farmers’ Federation identify milk labelling as the critical issue of the day? It is simple: Cruelty-free, plant-based milks are the future; dairying is the past.

    Animal milk consumption is expected to decline at 0.6 per cent each year over the next five years, while plant-based milk consumption is expected to increase at 16.9 per cent per annum. Consumers predominantly cite health reasons for moving from animal to plant-based products, but many are becoming aware of the slaughter of newborn male calves that are simply surplus to the industry’s needs. Instead of transitioning to meet the changing tastes of consumers, dairying interests are using their political influence to stymie competition and entrench their position in the marketplace. My advice is that holding back the tide of change never succeeds. Farmers should embrace the future and transform those dairy pastures into fields of legumes and nuts ready for milking.

  • Animal Justice Party logo

    Unity Principles

    Together, NSW MPs Mark Pearson and Emma Hurst have developed a set of unity principles to guide their decision making within State Parliament.

    We believe in the in core principles of Kindness, Equality, Rationality and Non-violence. We believe it is our duty to take the ethical path and create a humane national identity by building a society in which both animals and people – including First Nations people, people of colour, immigrants, those living with disability, LGBTQI+ people and those from all class backgrounds – are free to live out their lives as they choose. We understand the way to do this is to support sustainable and ethical practices that raise the status of animals, strengthen our economy, lower our housing, healthcare and transport costs and ensure we create a bright future for our animals and our children.

    Animal Rights

    Our top priority is to ensure all animals are treated ethically and have the right to live out their lives free from cruelty, exploitation, abuse, and torture. We believe that non-human animals deserve human representation in politics to protect this right, and ensure that they are considered in parliamentary and political decision making.

    Environmental Justice

    We believe that every person and animal in our community has the right to clean air, clean water and access to shared public lands. Thus, we believe it is our responsibility to protect our climate and environment by ending the exploitation of natural resources for corporate gain and supporting a sustainable Australian future.

    Economic Justice

    We believe that every person should have access to a means to support their family and live a dignified, healthy and productive life. To do this we understand that citizens of NSW and Australia must have the ability to share in the wealth and resources of the economy, as well as a right to adequate housing, healthcare, transport, food and water.

    Worker’s Rights

    We believe in an ethical and sustainable economy without animal exploitation that is driven by transparency, accountability, security and equity. We believe both men and women should be paid equitably, with access to healthcare, childcare, paid leave and a healthy work environment. We believe an integral part of this is establishing a living wage so families and their companion animals can live in safety and security.

    Civil Rights

    We believe strongly in civil rights within the Australian community, including voting rights, religious freedoms, and protections for all our citizens regardless of their race, gender, culture, age or disability. Only with strong civil rights do we have strong rights for animals.

    Ending Violence Against Women

    We believe that women’s rights are human rights and violence against women is a direct and harmful violation of these rights. We believe it is our moral obligation to dismantle the gender inequalities faced by women, allowing all women regardless of age, race, culture, disability or biological sex to live their lives free of all forms of violence and abuse.

    Reproductive Rights

    We believe strongly in the reproductive rights of women and that all women should have safe access to quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, disease protection, and science based sex education. Within this we believe all people should have access to safe, legal, affordable birth control and abortion options regardless of income, location, race, culture or education.

    LGBTQI+ Rights

    Flowing from our core value of equality, we believe LGBTQI+ rights are human rights. We understand it is our responsibility to support, expand and protect the rights of the LGBTQI+ community. We believe that each one of us deserves the power to control our own body and live free of gender norms, expectations or stereotypes if we so choose.

    Disability Rights

    In line with our core value of equality, we believe that disability rights are human rights. We recognise the importance of breaking barriers to inclusion, access, choice, and control faced by those living with disability in our community. We work to assist people with disability and their companion animals to be included in and contribute to all aspects of Australian life.

    Asylum Seekers

    We believe in the rights of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers regardless of status or country of origin. Acting on our core principles, we believe that those seeking asylum must be treated ethically, kindly, and with respect, and may not under any circumstances be removed to countries outside of those approved by the UNHCR.

  • pig awaiting slaughter

    How we treat the many other species with whom we share this planet

    18th June 2019


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON (18:40):I congratulate Ms Cate Faehrmann on her notice of motion last month acknowledging No Meat May, the campaign founded in 2013 to encourage people to avoid meat for a month. The motion rightly discussed the serious environmental impacts of global meat consumption and how reducing our consumption of meat is the biggest way to reduce our carbon footprint.But why stop at the consumption of meat when there is so much more we can do? Humans are the only species that continues to breastfeed into adulthood by consuming the milk of another species, so what about our consumption of dairy milk? The impact of the dairy industry on the environment is astounding. For instance, it takes approximately 4,000 glasses of water to create one glass of milk. What about the animals? The Australian dairy herd consists of approximately 1.5 million cows. Just one of those cows produces around 57 litres of manure a day—that is 20 tonnes of manure per cow, per year. Where once cows grazed in paddocks all day, Australian dairies are becoming more intensified. This means storing all that manure in large methane-emitting lagoons and having to truck in manufactured feed exacerbates the environmental impact of the industry.

    Research shows that, without meat and dairy consumption, the global use of land for agricultural purposes could be reduced by 75 per cent. We could feed the world with plant-based protein and at the same time give land back to our struggling and fast-disappearing wildlife. But along with the environmental impacts of the meat and dairy industries is another issue that we as a society should consider; an issue that for a long time now has been a stain on our collective soul. That is how we treat the many other species with whom we share this planet—and, specifically, the many species whom we have declared to be nothing more than “food” animals. The scope and scale of the misery we inflict on these sentient creatures is impossible to fathom.

    For instance, in Australia alone each year we breed, confine and slaughter over five million pigs, five million turkeys and 650 million chickens—all for no reason other than we like the taste of their flesh. Along with the seven million cattle we slaughter for food each year, 750,000 young male calves are classified as “waste” products of the dairy industry and are also sent to slaughter. Nine million hens are imprisoned in cages for their short, unnatural lives to produce eggs. Another seven million hens are in barn and free-range systems and meet the same grizzly end as battery hens once they are no longer considered profitable. For every hen born into the egg industry, a male day-old chick will be put through an industrial shredder whilst still fully conscious or piled into bins and gassed to death—once again, simply because it is “waste”.

    The various levels of government and industry representatives continually tell the unsuspecting consumer that “Australia has the best animal welfare standards in the world”. But the reality is far from this. Food animals are routinely exempted from protections in animal welfare legislation, such as the requirement for exercise, and are instead covered by codes of practice or standards and guidelines—otherwise known as codes of cruelty. This means the bar is set so low that it is near impossible for users to fail to meet the so-called “standards”. That is why industries get away with performing painful operations such as castration, teeth clipping, de-horning and tail docking, all without any pain relief. So, yes, by all means let us encourage people to join in on initiatives such as No Meat May, but there is so much more we can do. As Pam Ahern from Edgar’s Mission, a farmed animal sanctuary, says, “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others, why wouldn’t we?” I would add: Why wouldn’t we for 12 months of the year, not just one?

  • Nothing humane happens in a slaughterhouse

    Milton Griffiths. History in the making.

    Animal activism in Australia has a fascinating and, mostly, quiet and understated recorded history spanning far back. The records are mainly indented in archives of the media cataloguing extraordinary achievements such as the issue of freedom of speech and privacy leaping all the way to the High Court on the back of possums slaughtered in Tasmania. 

    Well now this has changed!

    MILTON GRIFFITHS has written memoirs navigating through an intriguing and colourful history of animal activism going far back to the late 1980s. These memoirs are poetically and alluringly crafted with almost forensic analysis together with warmth, wit, humour and satire. 

    This work is a refreshing and inspiring yarn to read. For some of us it will bring back memories which are well worthy of re-kindling. For the latter activists of today – a welcome surprise to learn that ‘sophisticated’ animal actions happened which laid important ground for future work, a ground that upheld freedom of speech and a right to see how animals are treated even on private property while people risk their personal liberties to expose it.

    Please, set some time aside to read this well crafted, historic memoir of a deeply respected and otherwise, quiet warrior for animal protection – Milton Griffiths:

    Milton Griffiths and Animal Rights

  • Injured kangaroo



    6th June 2019

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON (15:18):In August last year the New South Wales Government changed the rules to make it easier to shoot kangaroos for non-commercial purposes. As a result of the changes, those carrying out the shooting no longer need a licence to kill. The few checks and balances that were in place to ensure a minimum level of accountability by shooters and the welfare of the animals have now gone. The changes brought in by the Government have created a culture of anything goes when it comes to killing these gentle, native wild animals. My office has been inundated with accounts from distraught members of the public who have witnessed the horrific treatment of these animals and their young since the changes came into effect. We have heard how killing sprees happen everywhere and all the time. The latest report came in this week. A New South Wales citizen told of the people living opposite who are:

    … intent on wiping out every kangaroo on the place. Shooting almost every night … Yesterday I witnessed them run down a kangaroo with their tractor, pin the animal against the fence and kill the animal before picking up the carcass in the front bucket of the tractor and dumping it in a ditch. It’s tragic—there was a lovely big mob of kangaroos down there. I have been onto the police and basically received a “Oh, well, it’s his property and he can kill kangaroos if he likes”‘ response.

    Another report told of a kangaroo found with:

    … multiple festering and stinking injuries resembling gunshot wounds to both shoulders, left bicep and forearm, left side ribs, chest and left rump. Wounds were maggoty; he was also being eaten alive by European wasps (on the wounds). Prognosis by the vet—”poor”.

    We have received gruesome images also from wildlife carers who are called out to rescue injured young joeys with bullet entry points in the neck and chest or in the abdomen via thighs; kangaroos shot in the base of the tail and then run over; kangaroos with jaws shot out; kangaroos shot with arrows; and joeys left to die in the pouch of their shot mother. These are the images we can find words to describe. Other scenes are so horrific they are beyond description, except to say that they would have caused immense suffering from slow and painful deaths. It is difficult to avoid the view that the Government’s changes to the rules for the non-commercial killing of kangaroos have encouraged a complete disregard for the welfare of one of our most cherished native animals and is vindicating what is becoming a virtual genocide of this species. I call upon the Government to review the current administrative regime allowing the indiscriminate wounding and killing of kangaroos on private property. The suffering caused to individual animals is unacceptable.

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