• MEDIA RELEASE-Animal Justice Party MP questions Katrina Hodgkinson’s priorities concerning Blantyre Farm’s DA

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Mark Pearson, Animal Justice Party MP, has questioned why Member for Cootamundra, Katrina Hodgkinson, is advocating priority for the interests of intensive pig farmers Blantyre Farms, over the interests of her own electorate. Intensive pig farmers, Edwina & Michael Beveridge of Blantyre Farms lodged a development application in December 2015 to duplicate their Young shire, Golden Grove and Dead Horse Gully piggeries in the neighbouring Hilltops council region. Blantyre Farms have continued to attract wide spread criticism since the public exposure of their Young piggery practices and operations through the Aussiefarms campaign in 2013.

    The Blantyre Farms Development Application has generated significant community and public interest with thousands of objectors raising valid and legitimate concerns and issues, which have been echoed by council and state government agencies.”
    There is mandated planning process at both state government and local council level, and Ms Hodgkinson should just allow that process to take place in the interest of a thorough examination of the merits of the application.

    Mr Pearson confirmed issues raised by thousands of objectors includes the welfare of animals, the environment and a broad range of concerns about the impact on the community, immediate neighbours, workers and consumers, public health, biosecurity and biodiversity.

    From my understanding, it has not been a case where Hilltops council have ‘sat’ on this DA or that the ‘approval process had been lagging’, as has been suggested by Ms Hodgkinson.

    The assessment period has been exacerbated by information from Blantyre Farms themselves, which has repeatedly been found ‘wanting’ with questionable, missing, ambiguous, and non-evidenced information.

    Most recently Blantyre Farms have been required to revise information they have previously submitted to council. This includes pig mortality numbers now estimated to be approximately 8,600 per year. These are the piglets and pigs which die or are killed in the Blantyre Farms intensive sheds.

    A critical factor environmentally, is how the massive volume of Blantyre Farms generated waste would be managed. In their previous information, Blantyre Farms stated they would be able to disperse all the effluent and dead composted pigs on their property. Blantyre Farms have now stated they will still have an excess surplus of approximately two hundred & fifty tons of manure per year. This surplus waste will now need to be disposed of elsewhere. Mr Pearson is also concerned that Ms Hodgkinson does not appear to acknowledge the voice of the local community, her own electorate and the public and has not acknowledged the critical inclusion of submissions and council’s obligations to adhere to the planning process.

    Ms Hodgkinson was dumped by her own party from any ministerial responsibility. Her sole responsibility now is to represent all members of her own electorate in a fair, balanced and non-biased manner. Based on concerns I have had raised with my office, this does not appear to be happening.

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    Mr Pearson has continued to strongly oppose intensive piggeries and was one of the original activists involved with the exposure of a Parkville based piggery in which former prime minister, Paul Keating had a commercial interest.

  • Notice of Motion-Racing NSW Horse welfare fund

    RACING NSW HORSE WELFARE FUND

    (1) That this House congratulates Racing NSW for its decision to establish a Horse Welfare Fund which will be financed predominantly from a 1 per cent levy on all racing prize money paid in New South Wales.

    (2) That this House commends Racing NSW’s commitment that all New South Wales thoroughbred horses will be appropriately cared for outside of their racing careers and that this includes ex-racehorses as well as those thoroughbred horses that have never made it to the race track.

    (3) That this House notes that Racing NSW will provide resources for the care, retraining and eventual rehoming of all New South Wales thoroughbred horses by:

    (a) appointing a dedicated team of staff to manage the program, including a Horse Welfare Veterinarian;

    (b) establishing partnerships with riding schools, pony clubs, local agricultural societies and other equestrian organisations to promote the rehoming of thoroughbred horses;

    (c) expanding the current Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Program with additional re-trainers to vastly increase the capacity for new horses; and

    (d) raising awareness for thoroughbred welfare and undertaking training days for their new owners.

    Motion agreed to.

  • Notice of Motion congratulating Virgin Australia

    REHOMING OF COMPANION ANIMALS

    (1) That this House congratulates Virgin Australia and Jetpets on entering into a partnership with companion animal rescue charities, Australian Working Dogs Rescue, RSPCA and Pet Rescue to:

    (a) provide free transport for companion animal adoptions and rehoming throughout Australia; and

    (b) assist in the relocation of surrendered greyhounds requiring rehoming as a consequence of the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Act 2016.

    (2) That this House notes that every successful rehoming of a companion animal removes a dog or cat from death row in council pounds and RSPCA shelters.

    Motion agreed to.

  • Question without Notice-Yabby traps drowning Native wildlife

    YABBY TRAPS

    It seems the Minister believes the suffering of native Australian Water Rats is somewhat amusing. Has Niall Blair not understand we stand for ALL animals, not just the ones the wider public deem cute and unique?

    Other states have state wide bans on these specific yabby traps as they indiscriminately trap and drown other air breathing animals. However, here in NSW these traps are only prohibited where the Platypus is found, does a water rat or a turtle not suffer the same as the platypus? What about the suffering of the Yabby?

    I asked the question and not only did the Minister seem to laugh at my interest in the suffering of other animals but he did not even come close to answering the question. So much so, that, when I attempt to ask a supplementary question The President ruled it out of order.

    QUESTION

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water. As prescribed by the Fisheries Management Regulations, opera house style yabby traps are banned from use in public waters east of the Newell Highway, where platypuses are found. The ban was implemented in response to the number of animals being drowned in these traps. It is, however, still legal to use these traps in public waters in parts of western New South Wales. New South Wales Fisheries has published advice on how to modify the traps so as to limit bycatch, yet in areas such as Menindee Australian water rats are caught and drowned in the traps.

    Will the Minister follow the example of States such as Victoria and impose a statewide ban on opera house style traps so as to protect our native animals?

    If not, why not?

    ANSWER

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I thank the member for his very detailed question. As I look across to the President’s gallery to see whether there is a note on such a detailed question, the response on the faces of my advisers is the reason that I find the beginning of my answer somewhat humorous. I am certainly on my own on this one. It is a serious question. If the Department of Primary Industries [DPI] Fisheries, which comprises some of the most outstanding scientific minds in this country, has determined that certain parts of the State warrant the use of so-called opera house traps and other parts of the State do not then, without having any information to hand, I say that the determination it has made is the right one.

    We have some of the best scientific advice on fish stocks and fishing methods in New South Wales estuaries. If DPI Fisheries has determined that the traps are appropriate in certain parts of the State I support the status quo. If the department provides me with further advice on this matter I will be happy to review that advice. At the moment, if there is a clear distinction and there has been a decision to allow the traps in certain areas I assume some form of assessment has occurred. That assessment would have been undertaken by the best in the business. If I receive any further advice from DPI Fisheries I will be happy to share that with the member.

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: I ask a supplementary question. Would the Minister elucidate his answer in relation to why the Department of Primary Industries does not follow other States that have a complete ban?

    The PRESIDENT: Order! The standing order is quite clear. A supplementary question must ask for elucidation of an aspect of an answer. It is not in order to ask the Minister to address a part of the question that was not answered. As I said in a previous ruling, other than the requirement that a Minister be relevant and not debate the question, a Minister is free to choose to answer as he or she wishes. I am afraid I have to rule the supplementary question out of order.

  • Broken Hill Animal Protection Forum

    UPDATE!

    As per our public agenda that we distributed in the original invitation, please see the following recorded Minutes and discussion points. For further information please contact Josh Agland – joshua.agland@parliament.nsw.gov.au

    1. Welcome and introductions;
      1. Mark, as an MLC represents the whole state of NSW. All NSW residents are urged to contact him with any issues.
      2. Success of animal politics, animal parties around the world.
      3. Attendees include representatives of Broken Hill Pet RescueRRANA (Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Animals) and local citizens.
      4. Greyhound Ban in NSW.
    2. Introduced Uncle Max. Uncle Max discussed the importance of Totem animals in Indigenous culture, the lores that protect Totem animals and his own personal experiences.
      1. Killing a Totem animal without seeking the permission of the Totem holder is akin to killing that person. A Totem animal is that persons skin.
    3. Updates on the Stock Theft and Trespass Review
    4. Wildlife
      1. Reports of hunters trespassing on private land, killing kangaroos illegally for yabby bait, Joeys kept in vehicles and dumped with wildlife carers.
      2. Now that water is flowing in Menindee, pelicans are being found with fishing line injuries, increases in native water rat drownings from yabby traps.
      3. Serious reports and evidence of landowners and NPWS using an insecticide as a animal poison. Lanatte-L is easily obtained in a concentrated form and is highly toxic. Reports of dog, fox, raptor and other meat eating animals dying from poisoning. Even Echidnas and insect eating birds dying from consuming contaminated ants. Local users call it ‘Magic’ as it kills everything. Various documents supplied to our office regarding this issue from local concerned citizen.
    5. Companion Animals
      1. Unanimous support for mandatory desexing. The problems with undesexed animals in rural areas is amplified due to resources and enforcement.
      2. TNR for free living cats in rural areas is not successful unless people provide easy and regular food to the cats. In populated towns TNR can work, however lack of volunteers/resources and education about free living cats is an issue.
      3. Mobile desexing services and programs, especially within indigenous communities is working, especially when indigenous people are part of the programs and can build community trust. More funding is required.
      4. State wide licensing system for all companion animals should be looked into, this has been implemented in other countries such as Sweden. Fines for non-compliance and enforcement needs to be robust enough to actually act as a deterrent for unlicensed animals, otherwise people may abandon an animal when fined and source a new cheaper animal (puppy factory). Our office to research similar programs for further discussion and consultation.
    6. Closing and thanks.
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    Mark Pearson, MLC, Animal Justice Party and Aboriginal Elder Uncle Max Dulu-mun-mun Harrison in Menindee

    Invitation to Broken Hill Animal Protection Forum

    In February 2016, the Baird Government announced the establishment of the Stock Theft and Trespass Review. This review held numerous public meetings in rural areas in which issues of trespass and both legal and illegal hunting were to be a main discussion point.

    My office receives numerous calls from distressed landholders, traumatised by illegal hunting trespass on their properties, it was for this reason that I was keen to attend a public meeting. I had already intended to visit Broken Hill, 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.

    Upon arrival, I was subject to hostility and defensive resistance from the Nationals member for the electorate, Kevin Humphries who insisted that I leave. I was frogmarched out of the meeting by Mr Humphries before I was even able to ask a question. 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.

    I refuse to be shut out of addressing this appalling situation. As promised to the supportive local citizens I am organising a public meeting to address all the above issues as well as local pound reform. I invite any members of the public to attend the Broken Hill Animal Protection Forum to participate in a discussion on issues concerning animal cruelty, abuse and neglect in Broken Hill and surrounds. I have personally sent out invitations to Local MP Kevin Humphries, Broken Hill local Councillors, NSW Police Minister and Shadow Minister, NSW Local Government Minister and Shadow Minister, LAC for the region and Rural Crime Investigators for Broken Hill area, as well as all local police.

    A public agenda for the forum can be found HERE

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    Chair/Facilitator – Mark Pearson, MLC, Animal Justice Party

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    Special Guest – Aboriginal Elder Uncle Max Dulu-mun-mun Harrison, Uncle Max

    WHEN: Tuesday 6th September

    TIME: 7 PM – 9 PM

    WHERE: Broken Hill Community Centre – 200 Beryl St, Broken Hill

    RSVP by 2nd September 2016

    For further information and RSVP please contact: Angela Pollard on 02 9230 2445, angela.pollard@parliament.nsw.gov.au

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