Factory Farming Speech May 2016

Friday 27 May 2016

Delivered at our 2016 Victorian Federal Election Campaign Launch by our candidate for Casey Kristin Bacon. Learn more about Kristin here.

Have you ever noticed that politicians tend to lie? Tell you what you want to hear to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Shallow promises and three word slogans filled with insincerity and often hypocrisy. Well, I’m not going to do that to you. I respect your intelligence and most importantly, I respect the animals we are all hear to represent.

I’m not going to tell you that if we win a few seats at this election we will end suffering in animal agriculture. We won’t! And why? Because there’s no such thing. Because animals cannot be used in food production systems without some form of suffering and because the people aren’t with us yet in this area… or are they?

  • 85% of Australians oppose animal testing for cosmetics
  • At least 3 out of 4 oppose duck shooting
  • There are mass calls for an end to greyhound racing and puppy farms
  • 78% have said to be against the live export of animals
  • These are areas we can and are already making large inroads towards phasing-out.
  • But most importantly studies show that approximately 95% of Australians are against animal cruelty.

Yet today in this country only a small percentage of us are vegan or vegetarian. The majority of us, who claim to be against animal cruelty will purchase and consume the flesh and bi-products from the very systems they fundamentally oppose.

A snapshot of animal agriculture in Australia.

Approximately 14 million cows, 5 million pigs, 550 million broiler chickens, 12 million layer hens, 12 million rooster chicks, 13 million sheep and 20 million lambs, 4 million turkeys, 8 million ducks and 700,000 calves (a waste product from the dairy industry) are killed in Australian slaughterhouses every single year to feed a few million abroad sent as chilled carcasses and 24 million humans. Millions more don’t even make it to the slaughterhouse. The vast majority of these are raised in intensive or factory farmed systems, most endure painful mutilations such as dehorning, debeaking, tail and teeth clipping, mulesing and/or castration and mostly without anaesthetic. 1 in 3 birds are suffering untreated broken bones by the time they reach the slaughterhouse. Many male species are violated for their semen, and females for their ovaries. Mothers often grieve the loss of their young. Most never see daylight, or breathe fresh air until their last day as they are driven to the slaughterhouse and ALL – irrelevant of the system they were raised in, suffer a brutal and violent end, always fighting to survive until their last conscious breath. And let’s not forget the countless fish, raised in ocean cesspools or scooped up wild by hooks or trawlers, convulsing as they slowly die.

Our position is clear. We don’t JUST want to see an end to factory farming which includes ‘barn laid and most ‘free-range’ systems, we want to see an end to the breeding, rearing, exploiting and killing of all animals raised for food. But when the vast majority state they are against animal cruelty yet financially support such atrocities, this indicates a complete disconnect. Donation dependent or self-funded animal rights organisations and individuals are leading the change, exposing the realities and educating on a better way forward. And ever so slowly people are waking up and demanding change from government, while all parties lag behind in legislation and leadership – far far behind.

So how do we here tonight as politicians, end this environmentally destructive, violent and completely unnecessary industry. Once we’ve won a few more seats, do we write a bill to rapidly phase-out animal agriculture? We’d love to but would sadly be laughed out of parliament. That is why our farming policy is multi layered and incorporates education, mental and physical health, climate change, economy, employment, marine animals and wildlife welfare. All of these areas need addressing in terms of animals to achieve the shift required to end factory farming (our key policy issue for this year) and ultimately end animal agriculture.

We will work to implement programs, that increase and support positive interactions between students and animals, teach students basic nutritional science and convey the discoveries about the welfare, nutritional and environmental benefits of plant based eating. Educate on the cruelty inherent in all animal production systems. Implement programs that foster kindness and non-violence towards all beings.

We will work toward offering educational opportunities for workers currently employed by animal industries through subsidised programs and traineeships. We will promote growth in sustainable animal friendly industries such as eco-tourism and plant-based food products and technologies. We will push for reforestation on the lands where it is feasible, that were once occupied by animal industries. We will work to withdraw Government financial support for animal product industries. We will work to prohibit the advertising of animal products and where applicable provide health warnings. We will work towards Government support for advertising campaigns based around the ethical, environmental and health advantages of plant based diets. We will push for Deductible Gift Recipient Status for animal protection organisations.  

I could go on and on. There is so much we can do from a political perspective to bring the people with us in creating a kinder world for all. From this, we can work with other parties to commence the phase-out of systems that are the most abhorrent of the abhorrent and already have broad public support and keep pushing and educating as we go, for an end to factory farming and ultimately animal agriculture. No “green”-washing and hijacking buzz words like “humane”. This is the way of the future, this is responsible leadership, this greatly benefits both human and non-human animals and unlike other parties policies, this IS in-line with our core values of kindness, equality, rationality and non-violence. Thank you!