• MEDIA STATEMENT

    I wanted to personally apologise to all my supporters who may have read media reports about an error of judgement with my eating habits. As a long term animal rights campaigner I am fully aware of the impact of a person’s diet on the suffering of others. I remain committed to moving swiftly towards an essentially plant based diet. I am now fully committed to not eating any animal product where sourcing could have involved harm. As an MP for the Animal Justice Party I understand the spotlight that is on all my actions and that I am held accountable in the role to everyone in the animal rights movement.

    For almost 25 years I have worked on animal rights issues. I have been in the frontline for change many times. I have witnessed many atrocities and have never hesitated to take a stand for making the lives of non-human animals better. Over those years, with others but often leading the campaign, I have achieved a ban on chaining sows and phasing out sow stalls in piggeries, banning of kangaroo meat exports to Russia, phasing out of mulesing and use of analgesia in the wool industry and stopping live export ships from entering ports and been apart of many great movements which have saved the lives of thousands of animals.

    It is a privilege to represent the AJP in NSW parliament and I will continue to be the sole voice for animals in an arena that holds little regard for our animal friends. In the coming weeks alone I have my first Bill to protect confined animals from burning and suffocating in disasters as well as mandatory CCTV cameras in slaughter houses and an inquiry into the prescribed investigation agencies of the legislation protecting animals as priorities. I want to thank everyone who has backed me and please know that nothing will detract from my dedication for change.

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  • Question without notice-Kangaroo meat consumption

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries. Has the NSW Food Authority conducted a robust and detailed analysis on kangaroo meat sold for human consumption? If so, did this analysis test for E. coli, salmonellosis and other relevant contaminants as well as acetic acid, which make it delicious. If E. coli was detected was typing done for the specification of the E. coli? If no such analyses have been done, will the Minister authorise the appropriate testing to be conducted?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: When it comes to food safety and the kangaroo meat industry the NSW Food Authority has an excellent record. About two trips ago when I visited the NSW Food Authority I ran into an inspector who had just returned from an inspection at a kangaroo meat facility. Indeed, when I was asked this question about the role of the NSW Food Authority and kangaroo meat it reminded me of that chance encounter. I am aware of media discussion regarding an ongoing campaign intended to bring attention to alleged cruelty in the kangaroo meat sector. I am also aware of claims, repeated in the media, that kangaroo meat contains pathogens that can be harmful to humans.
    First, let me say that as kangaroos are native fauna, the Office of Environment and Heritage manages the commercial harvesting program in New South Wales. This program is intended to ensure kangaroos are culled humanely and that kangaroo populations are sustainable. Requirements for the humane slaughter of kangaroos are specified in the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes. This code of practice is prescribed as a condition of licence by the Office of Environment and Heritage. The risk that meat for consumption will come into contact with pathogenic organisms such as salmonella or E.coli is not a risk that is specific to kangaroo meat; this is a known risk factor for many types of meat and other food products.
    A key component of the role of the Food Authority is to work closely with industry in New South Wales, across all points of the supply chain to minimise the risks posed by such pathogens. For the kangaroo meat industry the Food Authority licenses kangaroo harvesters and processors in New South Wales and those facilities must be able to show traceability of product throughout the supply chain from harvest to the plate. All kangaroo game meat processed, manufactured or sold in New South Wales must comply with the Australian Standard for Hygienic Production of Game Meat for Human Consumption. The Food Authority also enforces established handling and storage requirements for kangaroo meat to further reduce any risks due to microorganisms. While the Food Authority has strict systems and requirements in place to ensure kangaroo meat is safe, it is important that all raw meats are cooked and stored at the correct temperature. This helps to reduce the presence of any microorganisms that may be present in the meat and to prevent microorganisms forming after it is cooked.
    Government authorities, including the Food Authority, also regularly inspect game meat processing facilities, field depots and harvesters—for example, the chance encounter I had with the inspector to which I referred earlier. The authority’s audit and inspection program ensures that kangaroo harvesters, chillers and processors comply with the food safety requirements set out in the specific food safety program that each business is required to have. The minimum inspection frequency varies for different types of facilities. Harvesters are inspected once every two years, chillers are inspected— [Time expired.]

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  • Question without notice- Antibiotic Resistance

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Ageing, Minister for Disability Services, and Minister for Multiculturalism, representing the Minister for Health. My first question to the Minister is: With the Government’s current focus on biosecurity, what investigations have been undertaken to satisfy public health authorities that there will not be any further cases of antibiotic resistance in the general public similar to the Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus [VRE] of the early 2000s? Secondly, given that there were no health department investigations into the VRE cases at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle and given the ongoing use of antibiotic-type substances such as coccidiostats in intensive farming of animals, will the Minister establish an inquiry into this use of antibiotic-type substances and the potential impacts on human health?
    The Hon. JOHN AJAKA (Minister for Ageing, Minister for Disability Services, and Minister for Multiculturalism): I thank the member for his question. It is clearly a detailed question, or questions. I will refer it to the Minister for Health and seek a detailed answer.

  • 23/03/2016: Debate speech to Greens Climate Change Bill

    In the ensuing debate around climate change, emissions and human impacts that took part in reference to the Greens Climate Change Bill, all ignored the cow in the room, that is animal agriculture. Whilst I and the Animal Justice Party acknowledge the devastating impacts as a result of fossil fuels, we think it is somewhat convenient that animal agriculture is omitted from the debate. Is it easier to force government and industry to change than to change our own habits? In my speech I didn’t feel the need to address the common enemies but to challenge those that believe in climate change to acknowledge the impact of animal agriculture and hopefully change their lifestyle to suit.

    Google ‘meat and climate change’ or ‘diet and climate change’ and countless articles supporting this pop up, the UN acknowledges it and here in Australia it is the hot topic. When we have 29 million cattle, 72 million sheep and just 23 million people, our accumulated climate impact is right up there with France, with its 66 million people. It’s not always the human population that determines a country’s environmental impact.

    Read my speech below and for the full debate go HERE

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: The Animal Justice Party supports the Climate Change Bill 2015. I congratulate Ms Jan Barham and her staff on all the work that has gone into this bill. The Animal Justice Party will support the Opposition’s amendment to refer this bill to the relevant committee. In December 2015 the landmark climate conference in Paris found that animal agriculture contributes more to global warming than the transport system around the world, so it is important to take this issue on board. Thirty-eight years ago Russian scientist Vladimir Nesterenko publicly stated that the death of frogs in the Himalayan mountains was a measure of climate and atmosphere crisis. Frogs have a membrane that measures in the most sensitive way any changes to the environment. Vladimir Nesterenko was a visionary scientist.

    We are now seeing the consequences of his prediction. It is important to look at the chain of events that led to animal agriculture. We clear old growth forest to grow grain with a lot of water, the grain is then harvested and transported long distances creating further emissions, it is stored in silos and from those silos transported to feedlots that practise intensive farming such as cattle, piggeries, battery hen facilities and other livestock. That then creates massive effluent pools. It is clear that the movement towards animal agriculture on such a major scale around the world is, as the Paris conference finding states, contributing more to global warming than the transport system around the world, which is quite a statement. It is irrelevant whether climate change is due to a natural change in the universe caused by the movement of the sun and earth or is directly related to human kind’s activities or a combination of the two—which the Animal Justice Party says is the case.

    What is relevant is that the human species is capable of bringing change, grappling with problems and crises and can contribute to reducing global warming. What is clear is that we have to support a move towards a plant-based diet. While we push animal agriculture into China and other Asian countries we are striking at and feeding the fundamental problems contributing to global warming. The Animal Justice Party supports this bill but will also support the Opposition’s amendment to send the bill to the relevant committee. The Animal Justice Party will push for terms of reference to include an analysis of the animal agriculture industry and its contribution to global warming. I commend the bill to the House. I commend the Opposition’s amendment to refer the bill to the relevant committee.

  • 16/02/2016: Born To Die-The excursion into the Australian abattoir and beyond (Part 1)

    A few years back after viewing hours upon hours of footage taken as a part of the investigation into the Hawkesbury Valley Meats abattoir I felt the urge to summarise the barbarity of what I witnessed, the explicitness of what will be forever etched into my mind. This summary transformed into not just a question of ethics and morality but into an idea, that as caregivers to the next generation why do we hide the truth? Why do we teach disconnection?

    Ultimately if something is not acceptable for our kids eyes and minds then how on Earth is it acceptable for their stomachs and their future world?

    Below is Part 1 of what i titled Born To Die-The excursion into the Australian abattoir and beyond. 

    It is time to swing open the doors of these forbidden fortresses, abattoirs, which are so intricately woven into the fabric of our society and in ways that will surprise, if not astound, you. Almost every day in Australia the lives are drained from an untold number of totally healthy beings but with the recent exposures of systemic brutal practices in slaughterhouses both here and in other countries a deep, menacing discord has been struck within us.

    It is a long time coming for this concealed messy business of covert animal slaughter to come face to face with the tribunal of our society.

    This ‘tribunal’ must not only consist of the reasonable person in our community but extend to our institutions of education from the most revered academic sciences through to animal and agriculture studies but also to the most worthy and innocent tribunal – our mature children.

    Eating meat is a pervasion in our society and ‘culture’ for most Australians. Our children partake of this with complete innocence. Rarely, if ever, is their repeated inquiry -“Mummy, Daddy where does that come from?” – receive the true answer it begs. It is time to unveil that menacing secret that even our school curricula have dodged so dishonestly for many decades – the story behind the acquisition of the flesh and blood of animals.

    Now before the gnashing of teeth begins and the trumpeting objections resound – let us prepare the slate upon which the debate is to commence as pristine. This call for a new chapter in the education of our senior children at school has nothing to do with arguments about vegetarian, vegan or meat based diets. It has to do with a truthful and robust education (in the true meaning of this word) to which our children have a fundamental right. “Veritas”, meaning Truth is so often on the Coat of Arms of our schools; Sydney Boys High School Coat of Arms-Veritate et Virtute (with truth and courage), CABRA, Dominican College for Girls in South Australia also has “VERITAS” embedded in their Coat of Arms, Cumberland Park in Adelaide, Sienna College, Camberwell in Victoria has “VERITAS” as well but also “Justice is Truth in Action”.

    It is clear then that within our education Charter and Principles in Australia there is the fundamental crux or nucleus of upholding the Truth and all what that means. It should never mean shunning away from very critical elements of our life and living and how some of those elements do bring death to so many beings. This formidable, by mass and mores, subject deserves the piercing light of day – not fettered dusk.

    Education is defined in various texts as: “give intellectual, moral and social instruction to someone, especially a child”; “the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

    The Social Science Faculty of Sydney Boys High School “strives to become a faculty of excellence in teaching and learning by encouraging independent thinking and creativity in an intellectually stimulating environment”.
    Our objectives (Sydney Boys High)

    • To implement teaching strategies for the development of independent and critical thinking;
    • To develop a stimulating and cooperative learning environment for both staff and students;
    • To prepare students for active involvement within our contemporary society.

    Even if you look at the Legal Studies’ policies of Sydney boys High School one can identify where the subject of animals being sent to slaughter as being very appropriate:

    “Legal Studies develops students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to the legal system and its effectiveness in promoting a just and fair society, with a view to empowering students to participate effectively as citizens at the local, national and international level. Studied themes include Justice, law and society, Culture, values and ethics, Legal processes and institutions, Conflict and cooperation and the Effectiveness of  the legal system. In the preliminary course, students study two broad topics of the basics of the legal system and the Individual and the State. They then perform a focus study of two marginalised groups and their position the law. In the HSC course, students engage in the topics of Law and Society and a number of focus studies on crime (compulsory) and two other general themes in law.

    The issue of animals being lawfully destined to slaughter by our society raises some very important questions and notions to be grappled with which both the Social Science and Legal Studies faculties at this school would seek to address though “Independent and critical thinking; culture, values and ethics; marginalised ‘groups’. “

    Very significantly and importantly the children would be asked to critically analyse why one group of animals, those we eat, are not afforded the same protection in law as other animals such as those we pet. It is here we would explore the law as it is simply set out (in NSW) and study the obvious anomaly:

    An “act of cruelty” in Section 4 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 NSW includes “any act …as a consequence of which the animal is …killed, wounded.” (my emphasis). However Section 24(1)(b)(ii) states “the person accused of the offence is not guilty of the offence if the act… is done in the course of and for the purpose of destroying it for producing food for human consumption in a manner that inflicted no unnecessary pain upon the animal.

    It can not be argued that this subject of animal slaughter is too insignificant to be given the light of day when reviewing the education curricula. Meat is a part of two out of every three meals eaten by our children and our society so is therefore very much a part of the mechanization of our society – both in our kitchens right through to the farm gate.

    The number of animals affected by meat consumption is staggering

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