Page 4 - Australian Pork Newspaper
P. 4

Animal activism moves beyond animal welfare
WHILE I’ve always advised my many and varied pig industry cli- ents over the years that “you can’t defend the in- defensible”, it seems the stakes have been raised now, with animal activ- ists provoking and pok- ing livestock producers who are, seemingly, do- ing nothing wrong and therefore nothing they should have to defend.
Well, the reality in the year 2019 is that this is where the vexed issue now resides.
It has become a philo- sophical war, waged by the provocateurs, who are well organised, seemingly well-resourced networks of increasingly bold and radicalised animal activ- ists hellbent on campaign- ing, by fair or foul means, for a world devoid of live- stock farmers and meat eaters.
It really is clear that the issue has moved beyond welfare and into a realm where science and industry R&D will really struggle to fight the good fight and suppress the oppressors.
With a backdrop of a groundswell of commu- nity understanding, or perception, of the nega- tive impact meat produc- tion and therefore meat consumption, might have on the environment, the climate and human health, the activists seemingly have something of a free kick up-front.
Activists have, to be fair, in the past exposed some obviously shameful, cruel animal handling and welfare standards in an isolated few piggeries in Australia, albeit by inva- sive, intrusive, illegal and clandestine means.
Typically, our industry bodies have usually come out on such occasions and strongly condemned any such proven poor practices, albeit some mud has al- ways stuck to the backs of the vast majority of pork producers who do the right thing and care for their pigs, nurturing and manag- ing them within and often beyond gazetted industry guidelines for acceptable care and welfare.
The activists, however, have now switched their attention to highlighting legal, coded, sanctioned, controlled industry prac- tices which they choose to condemn based on their view that it is nothing more than animals being constrained, in the case of pigs in farrowing crates for example, for the self- ish satiation of meat eat- ers.
One way to counter this paradigm shift, at least in my view, is to deprive the radical animal activists, especially when they op- erate under a group name, of any acknowledgement or recognition.
While many read- ers may recognise what a writer from Western Australia might be refer- ring to in what has been a well-publicised night-time invasion of a WA piggery, with lengthy vision and commentary shared with the world on Facebook, I decline the temptation to name the alleged offend-
Cant Comment by BRENDON CANT
ers or the group.
Besides which, those
concerned are now before the courts, charged with trespass and possession of a controlled weapon.
Naming and shaming simply gives them the pub- licity and notoriety they seek, but don’t deserve.
In terms of how our hard-working farmers should handle the threats of invasions and other di- visive actions of the ani- mal activist renegades, I quite like the approach taken by a group of farm- ers in WA’s southwest.
Dairy farmer and in-
dustry leader Michael Partridge has a simple three-word message for his farming colleagues – ‘calm the farm’.
“It’s about minimising risk, calming your farm and not getting stirred up by activists,” he was quot- ed in The Countryman as saying.
While not getting stirred up is a big ask, it’s worth it.
Take a deep breath if confronted and if your privacy and livelihood has been threatened, en- gage the police at the first available opportunity.
As for the bigger picture of how livestock produc- ers might best tackle (not literally) what appears to be a fast-moving tid- al wave of dissidents, I simply put forward three points as food for thought:
• Don’t try to defend the indefensible. If, as an industry, you recognise some historical farming practices no longer meet community expectations, acknowledge that and make moves to fix it.
• Wherever possible, sprout the health benefits of natural meat in a bal- anced diet and fight like hell to keep meat substi- tutes from the meat coun- ters of our supermarkets. They don’t belong there.
• Highlight heroes. Cre- ate every opportunity to promote livestock farmers who do the right thing.
Page 4 – Australian Pork Newspaper, March 2019
Animal activists are on the road across Australia and watching your every move.
Just how far extreme animal activism might go is anyone’s guess.
Ultimately, extreme animal activists driven by vegan agendas are really all about stopping people like the author enjoying a delicious dish of pork belly.

   2   3   4   5   6