• CONDEMNATION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

    16th March 2016

    Notice of motion.

    Condemnation of the Catholic Church.

    On Wednesday the 16th of March, Mark gave notice of a motion to condemn the Roman Catholic Church in Australia for its abject failure to protect children from sexual abuse. This motion is very dear to Mark’s heart and our core belief that he will be a voice for the vulnerable, this is a duty we take seriously, not just for animals but people also. When we allow the wrong doings to go unabated in our society, we become complicate in them.

    See the full Notice of Motion HERE

    Watch the video below:

  • Close up shot of stranded barbed wire

    THE DEVIL’S ROPE – THE HISTORY OF BARBED WIRE

    24th February 2016

    Adjournment speech.

    The Devils Rope-The history of barbed wire.

    BARBED WIRE REMOVAL

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [7.38 p.m.]: For millennia, the great American plains were covered in fertile grasslands grazed by countless herds of buffalo, but that all changed with the coming of the cowboys and their cattle, followed by settlers planting their crops of corn and wheat. When the interests of these two groups collided, American ingenuity came up with a deadly solution that the American Indians called “the devil’s rope.” In the 1860s, Joseph Glidden designed a fence with sharp metal barbs twisted around a strand of smooth wire. This fencing kept the cows in, the buffalo out and the crops safe. By the late 1870s, three million pounds of barbed wire was produced annually and the buffalo died in their millions, cut off from food and water. By the end of the century, the west was crisscrossed with the devil’s rope.

    The devil’s rope quickly found its way to Australia and by the late 1860s barbed wire fencing was being rolled out across the country, creating death traps for wildlife and causing untold damage to introduced animals, including farm animals. As the twentieth century progressed, a new and searing image of barbed wire would enter the modern consciousness. Barbed wire became the symbol of World War I trench warfare and, later, the deathly emblem of the world’s concentration camps. Barbed wire truly is the devil’s rope.

    Today, barbed wire fencing is ubiquitous throughout New South Wales. One hundred and fifty years of barbed wire fencing has left a blight on the landscape and an ever-present danger for animals, killing and maiming flying foxes, gliders, native birds, and other vulnerable and endangered species as well as livestock—cattle, horses and sheep. More than 60 native species across New South Wales have been recorded in barbed wire entanglements, and they are just the ones that have been witnessed. Two of the greatest risks are the proximity of the wire to food trees and water sources.

    There are simple solutions to this problem and it is a tragedy that more landholders are unaware of or have not considered these options in removing risks to animals: removing barbed wire from orchards and plantations where there are no livestock; removing barbed wire from old fencing no longer in use; replacing the top two strands of barbed wire with plain wire; covering the top strand of barbed wire with polypipe tubing; and stringing fencing with plain wire, which is now significantly cheaper and stronger than barbed wire.

    Many landholders use barbed wire out of habit from previous times when wire was not as strong and fencing labour was cheap. There is no longer any need for barbed wire fencing, except in limited circumstances. In the vast majority of cases, barbed wire can be reduced or removed without any adverse impacts on livestock management. Removal of barbed wire from agistments will also reduce the number of serious injuries caused to horses each year. Landholders should also be aware that they may be liable under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 for causing harm to protected animals caught up in barbed wire on their property. It is important for landholders to check their fencing regularly so that it does not become a death trap for native animals.

    The most enlightened legislation for the use of barbed wire can be found in Norway. Under the Norwegian Animal Welfare Act barbed fences must be constructed and maintained to reduce the risk of harm to grazing animals, and courts may order the removal of fences deemed dangerous to animals. Local councils are also empowered to prohibit the use of barbed wire for fencing on private lands. As parliamentarians we can mandate the removal of barbed wire fencing from national park boundaries and government-owned lands. We can provide funding for education materials to highlight the fencing options available to farmers to reduce the risks to wildlife, farm animals and other animals. Is it not time the devil’s rope was consigned to history?

  • COMPANION ANIMAL ROUND TABLE – WAYS OUT OF A CRUEL DEADLY MAZE

    29th February 2016

    Companion animal roundtable.

    After several months of planning including meetings with and visits to a number of rescue groups, our office held Companion Animal Roundtable on the 26th February at Parliament House. The purpose of the Roundtable was to consult with 16d and other grassroots rescue groups to discuss “Ways Out Of A Cruel Deadly Maze”- the theme of Mark’s inspiring introductory speech.

    The Roundtable highlighted the problems of oversupply of companion animals including stray and surrendered animals, high kill-rates in pounds and shelters and the need to improve re-homing rates. We noted that the system for protecting the well-being of these animals is BROKEN, and that rescue groups were very much a successful part of the solution for solving these issues.

    We discussed ways of supporting free-living animals such as colony cats and considered calls for an extension of the definition of companion animals to include horses, chickens, guinea pigs rabbits and others. Education of the general public, carers, rangers and pound staff was also identified as a high priority. Funding, better resources and greater recognition for animal rescue groups was seen as crucial in supporting their work, as well as dismantling barriers within the local government bureaucracy that prevents 16d groups from accessing and re-homing animals that are otherwise abandoned on death row.

    From here our office will be developing a framework for legislative and policy reform with input from selected stakeholders, including consultation with the RSCPA and the Animal Welfare League.

    From Mark and his staff we truly appreciate all those that participated and made the event a success. This is the vital first step that has been long overdue towards finding the way out of the cruel deadly maze.

    Mark Pearson making his introductory speech to attendees of the Companion Animal Roudtable held by our office

    Mark Pearson making his introductory speech to attendees of the Companion Animal Roudtable held by our office

  • ANOTHER MILESTONE FOR ANIMALS IN THE NSW PARLIAMENT

    25th February 2016

    So the first week back for the NSW Legislative Council is done and a historic one it has been. On Tuesday, three separate political parties gave notice of bills that will positively affect animals. The Animal Justice Party gave notice of a bill to ban animal research on primates, Greens NSW a bill to create an Independent Animal Protection Authority,  and NSW Labor a bill to enable inspectors to remove dogs and cats from animal breeding establishments (puppy farms).

    Please watch my video blog for all the great updates including the Koala Park Sanctuary and dolphin petition.

    Thanks for the support!

  • ANIMAL RESEARCH AMENDMENT (PRIMATES) BILL

    23rd February 2016

    It was another historic day on Tuesday the 23rd of February 2016, the first sitting day back for the Legislative Council of NSW saw animals enter the mix of cross party politics. Mark Pearson of the Animal Justice Party gave notice of his next bill which seeks to bring an end to animal research to be carried out on primates in the name of science.

    The Animal Research Amendment (Primates) Bill will amend the Animal Research Act 1985 to prohibit the use, keeping or supplying of primates in carrying out animal research. It will prohibit the use, supply or keeping of primates in connection with animal research and will make it illegal for a person (including an accredited research establishment, a holder of an animal research authority or a licensed animal supplier) to use, keep or supply a primate in connection with animal research.

    image-20150507-19457-b1sc8m

    Primates are virtually the only animals taken from the wild in large numbers for bio-medical research. Even though breeding colonies exist, it is still estimated that over 1,000,000 primates are taken every year from the wild, with over two thirds being used for bio-medical research. The NSW Sydney facility at Wallacia breeds primates in captive colonies for research.

    A great ape research ban, or severe restrictions on the use of great apes in research, is currently in place in the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany and Austria. These countries have ruled that chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans are cognitively so similar to humans that using them as test subjects is unethical. Austria is the only country in the world where experiments on lesser apes, the gibbons, are completely banned too.

    The use of animals for research and testing is totally unacceptable, inaccurate and outdated. Instead, Australian researchers should be using non-animal research methods which have been proved to be more accurate and of greater relevance, producing improved results faster. In 2013 Humane Research Australia commissioned a Nexus Research Poll which revealed that most Australians (60%) are opposed to the use of primates in research.

    Bio-medical and pharmaceutical research claims the lives of an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 non-human primates worldwide each year, fueling the primate trade to meet demand. Despite this, strong evidence suggests that research using animal models provides unreliable results. Increasing numbers of scientists and clinicians are challenging animal experimentation on medical and scientific grounds.

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