• BRUMBY UPDATE – CALL FOR A LEGISLATIVE REVIEW OF THE DRAFT PLAN OF MANAGEMENT

    30th May 2016

    Mark and his office are utterly appalled at the governments decision to slaughter the Brumby. Having reviewed the reports, the Draft plan of Management and other statements from the Minister for Environment it is apparent that there is NO justification for this slaughter. The draft plan and associated technical review proposes a range of control methods to reduce the population from the estimated 6000 down to 600 over the next 20 years. The so called science and  independent technical review  is so utterly flawed that there is no other option but place this decision and the reasoning behind it under the proper legislative scrutiny.

    Reading the report 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 advised killing methods in the report again seem to be contradictory of community expectations and common sense. The assertion that fertility control measures are ineffective and the glowing endorsement in the 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. How could any of us forget the infamous aerial cull, reminiscent of a brutal Rambo operation by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in the Guy Fawkes River National Park in October 2000? Terrified horses were driven up against an escarpment by a helicopter as shooters opened fire with semi-automatic rifles, slaughtering more than 600 horses. The slaughter scene depicted horses riddled with bullets suffering slow, agonising deaths. One mare was shot while giving birth whilst new born foals were left to starve because their mothers had been killed.

    Mark and his office attended a public community forum in Jindabyne on Saturday 21st of May, the meeting was organised by the Snowy Mountain Brumby Sustainability & Management Group Inc. The meeting was well attended with over 70 with visitors from all areas including Gundagai, Tumut, Tumbarumba, Grenfell, Newcastle, Talbingo, Cooma and the Jindabyne region. Mark addressed the meeting and spoke of his disgust that the government was hell bent on wiping out the Brumby based on bad science, invalid population estimates and the lack of genuine community engagement on the issue. Amongst other sensible resolutions proposed and supported at the meeting Mark proposed a resolution of his own which was adopted unanimously, this being;

    ‘To support that the Draft Plan of Management and brumby management in NSW generally be referred to relevant Legislative Council Standing Committee (GSC5) for detailed review and to call on the local member and National party to support this review’

    On Thursday 26th of May Mark was lucky enough to have a personal visit of the Hunter Valley Brumby Association’s sanctuary. Mark witnessed first hand the great work HVBA is doing to protect, educate and save the Brumby. The HVBA team is a great example of a professional, passionate and experienced advocacy group that rescues and re-homes Brumbies. A big thank you to Kath Massey and Madison Young for allowing us to see first hand the care and love the team has for these animals, it was a truly great experience.

    mark-pearson-animal-justice-party-brumby-huntervalley brumby-association-3

    Madison Young, Vice President of the Hunter Valley Brumby Assoc, Mack and Mark

    Mark Pearson: “It seems we have not learnt from our past mistakes, killing is NOT the answer. I acknowledge that humane management is not a quick fix one size fits all solution. However it is our duty to ensure that we invest and utilise best practice and sound methods of estimating and reporting the true population numbers. Where required, fertility control is to be used and in parallel we must invest in fertility control via humane research and development. Mass slaughter does not equal management and until governments realise this it is likely that the continuous cycle of killing and responsive population growth will continue.”

    mark-pearson-animal-justice-party-brumby-hunter-valley-brumby-association-4

    Mark with Guy Fawkes Brumby Diesel

  • WAGGA WAGGA POUND RALLY

    The community was shocked and appalled when claims of kittens being left to die in freezers at its Wagga council’s Glenfield Road Animal Shelter was exposed. Further claims of dogs  wrongly killed, reports of pets going missing from official records and other animals being left without veterinary care was also documented.

    Volunteers at the pound claim to have found dead and dying cats that had been dumped in freezers while still alive. A Fairfax media investigation found that over the past three years more than 80 dogs and cats had vanished from the pound’s books. RSPCA New South Wales conducted an investigation and found no evidence of wrongdoing.

    The community, volunteers and my office are in shock as to how the RSPCA could not find evidence of cruelty to prosecute. We demand answers. I asked the Minister responsible for animal welfare in NSW, Niall Blair, to please explain. The community deserve answers, these animals deserve justice. The Minister, under section 34B (4) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act has the power to request a report from the RSPCA, to demand answers.

    In response to this inaction from the Council, RSPCA and the Government, a demonstration will be held next Monday at Wagga Council Chambers, we will demand justice. I will be attending this rally to support the concerned community and to speak on behalf of these animals.

    WHEN: Monday 30 May 2016

    TIME: Rally to occur between 4.30pm and 7.30pm (Council Meeting starts at 6.00pm).

    WHERE: Wagga City Council Chambers (Baylis Street) (Parking available at Myers).

  • WAGGA WAGGA POUND

    12th May 2016

    Questions without notice.

    Wagga Wagga pound.

    ANIMAL CRUELTY

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON (15:19): I direct my question to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water. On 3 April, theSydney Morning Herald reported allegations of aggravated animal cruelty at Wagga Wagga pound. Volunteers at the pound claim to have found dead and dying cats that had been dumped in freezers while still alive. A Fairfax media investigation found that over the past three years more than 80 dogs and cats had vanished from the pound’s books. RSPCA New South Wales conducted an investigation and found no evidence of wrongdoing that would lead to convictions under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Will the Minister exercise his powers under section 34B (4) of that Act to request a report from the RSPCA providing the reasons for the decision and table that report in the House? If not, why not?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR (Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water) (15:20): I remember reading that article about Wagga Wagga pound. I will take the question on notice and provide a relevant response. It has been some time since it was published, and I want to refresh my memory of the details.


    21st June 2016

    ANIMAL CRUELTY

    In reply to the Hon. MARK PEARSON (12 May 2016).

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR (Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water)—The Minister provided the following response:

    As one of the enforcement agencies under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, RSPCA NSW has advised that it has investigated complaints about Wagga Wagga Pound and does not intend to commence proceedings. RSPCA has advised it is working with the pound regarding animal welfare.

    Records of surrendered or stray animals kept in council pounds are not covered by a Code of Practice under POCTA, they are regulated under the Companion Animals Act 1998 administered by the Office of Local Government.

  • DEFENDING THE AUSTRALIAN BRUMBIES

    12th May 2016

    Adjournment Speech.

    Australian Brumbies.

    AUSTRALIAN BRUMBY

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON (16:05): The brumby holds a special place in the Australian psyche, personifying Australian courage and the spirit of freedom. It holds a unique place in our history and has been immortalised in literature, film and songs. The brumby is depicted on the Australian $10 note, showing its wild posture, flaring nostrils and servitude to man. Today, just like the kangaroo, the brumby faces an uncertain future. The brumby is considered by some, including this Government, to be feral pests. Brumbies find themselves becoming increasingly marginalised on lands that have been their home for over a century. It is a home that was thrust upon them by early European settlers. With the onset of farm machinery, there was little need for the brumby and they were released into the wild to survive, or not.

    That spawned a time of survival of the toughest, where natural selection saw the evolution of wild horses with the traits required to thrive in the Australian environment. The brumby has gallantly served humans, toiling on farms as stock animals, used during the building of roads and railways, and serving as police horses for those enforcing the law of the bush. They accompanied men to war, with over 70,000 horses losing their lives in World War I alone. Horses from New South Wales were drafted into the Light Horse Regiment during both world wars, and were still being caught and removed from some areas for this purpose well into the 1940s.

    In October 2000, the slaughter of over 600 brumbies in the Guy Fawkes River National Park sparked widespread public outcry and national media attention. In response to this atrocity, an inquiry was conducted revealing numerous failings by the National Parks and Wildlife Service that led to the mass slaughter. In addition, the inquiry revealed, via DNA testing, that inbreeding amongst the Guy Fawkes brumbies is less than 5 per cent. As a result the Guy Fawkes brumbies achieved heritage status, the only such brumbies in Australia to do so. It seems we have not learnt from our past mistakes: killing is not the answer.

    All of the so-called “feral” animals were brought to Australia by human beings. The horse was brought to Australia not out of love; we needed a useful work animal. We exploited them and then when they were not needed we disposed of them like objects and sent them on their way into the bush—wanted yesterday, unwanted today. They survived and adapted like any other being on this planet does, despite our continued persecution. If this Government gets its way, we will decimate their existence to such a degree that their heritage and bloodlines will be threatened.

    I acknowledge that humane management is not a quick fix, one-size-fits-all, solution. It is our duty to ensure that we invest and utilise best practice and sound methods to estimate and report the true population. Where required, fertility control can be used. In parallel, investment in research and development of fertility control must occur. This method is used successfully with the wild horses of the Canadian Rockies and elephants in Africa. The use of fertility control means fewer brumbies born each year, resulting in a humane and sustainable management plan.

    Mass slaughter does not equal management. Until governments realise this, it is likely that the continuous cycle of killing and responsive population growth will continue. Passive trapping and rehoming programs aim to capture horses with minimal interference from humans and release them to suitable rehoming groups. Whilst strict adherence to best practice and horsemanship is critical to the success of such programs, this is another non-lethal strategy that both reduces numbers in the wild and maintains the cultural heritage and significance of the brumby. In closing, I challenge the persistent notion and labelling of “feral” animals. These animals are not feral; rather, they are wild, untamed survivors of humans’ past failings. I once asked an Indigenous elder, “So what do you think makes an animal a native Australian?” He replied, “When it is born here.”

  • MARK PEARSON EJECTED BY LOCAL NATIONAL MP FROM PUBLIC MEETING ON HUNTING TRESPASS

    21st April 2016

    When is a public meeting a closed meeting? When Kevin Humphries, Nationals Member for Barwon says so! Animal Justice MP banned from public meeting on stock theft and illegal hunting trespass.

    In February 2016, after months of negative media publicity about the devastating impact of illegal hunting trespass on rural landholders, the Baird Government announced the establishment of the Stock Theft and Trespass Review, to be conduct by the well-respected former Assistant Commissioner of Police, Stephen Bradshaw.

    As the first elected member of the Animal Justice Party to be represented in NSW parliament, I have received a number of calls from distressed landholders, traumatised by illegal hunting trespass on their properties. Landholders are fearful for their own lives as well as describing the carnage left by weekend warriors who blast away at any animal that moves. Dead and dying wildlife and abandoned hunting dogs are often found on their properties.

    It was for this reason that I was keen to attend a public meeting of the Stock Theft and Trespass Review. My staff contacted the Review office as well as Mr Humphries’s staff given his role as host of the Barwon meetings. They sought and were given the details about the upcoming meetings. At no point was I told that I could not attend the public meeting. Meetings were promoted on the Stock Theft and Trespass Review Facebook with “Please come along if you’re in the area”.

    I had already intended to visit Barwon, the largest electorate in NSW (48% of NSW land mass) where Broken Hill is central, in order to address the information that had come to me regarding the disturbing rise in the serious egregious cruelty inflicted on animals in both illegal and legal hunting. I had also organised to meet key animal protection and rescue groups.

    What became apparent was the hostility and defensive resistance from the Nationals member for the electorate, Kevin Humphries who insisted that I leave within several minutes of my arrival at the public meeting in Broken Hill on the 19th April. I was frogmarched out of the meeting by Mr Humphries before I was even able to ask a question. Two police officers appeared by his side, which is a quite extraordinary given the public nature of the meeting and fact that I am a democratically elected representative of the people of NSW.

    I was not given the opportunity to raise my concerns regarding the brutality of hunting and its increased incidence on private property and how this terrifies land owners as well as terrifying, maiming and killing animals. It appears this National party member wants to obstruct any constructive discussion to address the growing violent culture of killing animals for sick enjoyment which in turn frightens property owners where these animals live or move through.

    This attitude by the National Member for Barwon is completely unacceptable and indefensible.

    I refuse to be shut out of addressing this appalling situation and I will return in several months to address a public meeting where police, rangers and regulatory authorities will be invited to attend. I will also be meeting with animal rescue and carer groups and with Indigenous elders.

    My aim is to lobby for a proactive Task Force to address this issue in this region and for a pilot task force to be established in other regions of NSW where this violent culture has developed.

    See the response from MP Kevin Humphries in the media via the links below.

    ABC News

    The Land

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