Recent Panel News/Events
Bob Irwin and Colin Riddell launch Animal Coalition with Sea Shepherd Australia
13 May 2013
Still from media coverage available here
Bob Irwin and conservationist Colin Riddell have launched the Animal Coalition with Sea Shepherd. Already the Animal Coalition has signed 28 wildlife groups including Sea Shepherd, Animals Australia and RSPCA Qld.
Together, they will fight for better wildlife protection by calling on the total ban on hunting and culling of more than 50 endangered species. You can read a great compilation of recent media regarding the launch here.
Hunter warned of bird massacre
13 May 2013
More than 800 ducks, many endangered, were killed and abandoned by hunters in an act criticised by Game Victoria as 'appalling'. The slaughter embarrassed even the most hard-headed of hunters. More than 800 abandoned duck carcasses that shooters did not bother to pick up. At least 150 endangered ducks killed, many among Australia's rarest. And other dead birds - hawk-like whistling kites and black swans - that look nothing like ducks.
You can read the full story from The Age, 13 May 2013 here.
More animal cruelty claims in Malaysia
9 May 2013
The controversial live exports trade is facing further scrutiny with fresh allegations of cruelty, this time concerning Australian goats and cattle in Malaysia.Already reeling from footage of Australian cattle being brutally slaughtered in Egypt, footage has emerged of goats being stuffed into sacks and put in the boot of a sedan in Malaysia.
You can read the full story from The Age of 9 May 2013 here.
Live exports to Egypt suspended
6 May 2013
Photo from The Age online.
'Cattle wait in Darwin stockyards. Photo: Michele Mossop'
The Australia Livestock Exporters' Council has voluntarily suspended live export to Egypt following the release of new footage of animal cruelty. You can view the ABC 7.30 Report's story on 6 May 2013 and the footage here.
You can read the Egypt trade suspension story from The Age of 5 May 2013 here.
Two heavy crashes in Warrnambool Grand National Steeplechase
2 May 2013
Here is the link to the Seven News report this evening on the annual Warrnambool (western Victoria) Grand National Steeplechase. The report's video shows two heavy falls by horses. They were apparently uninjured this time. But in the five years to 2011, more than sixty horses have lost their lives in jumps racing events In Victoria and South Australia as the last two States in which jumps racing is conducted. The Panel is opposed to jumps racing and you can read more here.The Warrnambool event is 5,500 metres in length with some 33 jumps. The Melbourne Cup for stayers by comparison is a 3,200 metres (2 miles) flat race.
Live export review into the export of breeder livestock
1 May 2013
Photo courtesy from Stock and Land article.
The results of the Industry Government Implementation Group's review into the export of breeder livestock are out. You can read the full report in this Stock and Land newspaper report.
Voiceless Law Lecture Series: Panel members speak in Melbourne, Hobart, Sydney and Adelaide
23 April 2013 to 1 May 2013
Ruth Hatten (Legal Counsel for Voiceless), Antoine Goetschel (Guest Speaker) and Anastasia Smietanka (National Co-ordinator)
Antoine Goetschel, Meg Good and Ruth Hatten
Congratulations to our Tasmanian co-ordinator, Meg Good, our National Co-ordinator, Anastasia Smietanka and our Secretariat members Jed Goodfellow (NSW) and Aaron Timoshanko (SA) for their insightful lectures at the Voiceless Law Lecture Series in Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide
You can view Meg's powerpoints here.
You can view Jed's powerpoints here.
You can view Aaron's speech here.
WTO Case: Seal Products
30 April 2013
The WTO concluded its hearings on Europe's ban on seal products on Tuesday 30 April 2013. The challenge under GATT was initiated by Canada and Norway. No report by the WTO Panel is expected for some months.
In addition, last Thursday 25 April 2013 the European General Court upheld Europe's ban on commercial seal products. The challenge was made by the sealing and fur trade industries and some Inuit representatives.
The legal issues are canvassed here.
Panel editorial: New Standards and Guidelines fail to protect basic welfare
15 April 2013
Sheep being transported. Photo courtesy of RSPCA Australia.
The Panel notes with deep concern how the Standards and Guidelines developing under the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy seem bound to perpetuate poor welfare standards for farm animals. The first Standards and Guidelines, Standards and Guidelines for Land Transport of Livestock, are a shameful first case in point.
It may be simply noted by way of example that under SA4.1 an animal is only not fit for a journey if it is “severely emaciated”; or “visibly hydrated”; or “showing severe signs of severe injury or distress”; “blind in both eyes” etc. Even if assessed under this Standard to be not fit for the intended journey, the animal can still “be transported under veterinary advice”.
To continue reading please click here.
ICJ whaling case - Court dates announced
11 April 2013
Photo courtesy of 'National Geographic Photo of the Day Collection 2001-2009' available from Phombo.com
The ICJ has announced that the public hearing dates for the whaling case initiated by Australia, would be from 26 June 2013 to 16 July 2013 at The Hague.
You can read the media coverage here.
You can read the ICJ Press Release here.
Lowest haul ever for Japanese whalers
6 April 2013
JAPAN's fisheries minister has blamed "sabotage" by the Sea Shepherd anti-whaling group for a record low catch of just over 100 whales from this season's Antarctic hunt.
You can read the full article here.
60 Minutes Expose: Roam Free
28 March 2013
Meat chickens suffering from rapid growth. Photo courtesy of Animals Australia
You can find the 60 Minutes Story 'Roam Free' and footage of the inside of meat chicken sheds here.
You can view the reporter discussion here.
Footage obtained of alleged cruelty to turkeys in NSW abattoir
20 March 2013
Photo courtesy of The Age.
Caption: 'Disturbing: an abattoir worker lifts a turkey above his head before slamming the bird to the ground.'
Footage has been obtained by Animal Liberation NSW of alleged cruelty to turkeys at a poultry processing abattoir in NSW.
The footage has been handed to police. You can view the Lateline coverage of the story here.
ACCC institutes proceedings against Luv-a-Duck
15 March 2013
'Pekin Ducks' courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (Katie Chodil)
The Panel and Animal Liberation NSW last year raised their concerns with the ACCC about the marketing claims of major duck producer, Luv-a-Duck. On 15 March 2013 the ACCC filed proceedings in the Federal Court against Luv-a-Duck Pty Ltd alleging false,misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to the promotion and supply of its duck meat products. You can see the ACCC media release here.
US Supreme Court Justice refuses to end injunction against Sea Shepherd
15 February 2013
Photo courtesy of The Australian. Original picture from AAP.
Justice Anthony Kennedy of the US Supreme Court has refused the application by US- based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to dissolve an interlocutory injunction granted by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals prohibiting the group from sailing within 500 metres of Japanese whaling vessels in the Southern Ocean.
You can read the full report in this news story in The Australian.
Independent Office of Animal Welfare
Photo courtesy of Animals Australia
Further to our report (see below) of the appointment by the Federal Labor Caucus on 27 November 2012 of a Live Animal Export Working Group to develop a model for an Office of Animal Welfare, click here to read the House of Representatives Hansard for 11 February 2013 of the speech of Working Group member Melissa Parke MP on the Working Group’s proposed independent office of animal welfare.
At the conclusion of her speech, Ms Parke thanked Panel Secretariat members Jed Goodfellow and Jeni Hood (our WA State Co-ordinator) “for their assistance with the proposed model”. Ms Parke said :
As a statutory authority outside the agriculture portfolio, the office will be dedicated to animal welfare policy, science and law, and will be independent of undue influence from competing political and commercial interests…For the first time, the Australian government would be able to provide an expert animal welfare opinion free of the conflicts of interest that characterise existing arrangements. The office would take the lead role in managing the development of national animal welfare policy, including the standards and guidelines, and facilitating harmonised legal outcomes by the states and territories. The office would not administer or enforce animal welfare legislation—currently, the responsibility of states and territories—due to the political, constitutional and budgetary difficulties this would involve. However, it would oversee the live export system since this is a specific responsibility of the Commonwealth.
The Panel has long advocated establishment of a Commonwealth statutory authority (akin though to say an ASIC or ACCC) to regulate animal welfare in reliance in particular on the corporations and trade and commerce powers under the Australian Constitution to all but “cover the field”, and free of agriculture department influence. The model canvassed in Ms Parke’s speech would not intrude upon State regulation, but it would for example take over animal welfare responsibility in respect of live exports as a mainly Commonwealth responsibilty. If the model is sanctioned by the Labor federal parliamentary caucus, it would constitute a major step forward for animal welfare in Australia.
Cruel treatment of bobby calves at Victorian abbatoir captured on video
1 February 2013
Photo courtesy of Animals Australia.
New footage has emerged capturing the cruel treatment of bobby calves at a Victorian abbatoir. The footage was aired on Lateline on 1 February 2013. It has stirred debate regarding the treatment of bobby calves in Australia and the laws which govern how they may be treated.
You can view the coverage and also full Lateline transcript here.
Macquarie Animal Law Symposium - Speeches by BAWP Members
On 18 October 2012, Panel Barristers Graeme McEwen and Melissa Perry QC and BAWP Secretriat member Jed Goodfellow spoke at the Animal Law Symposium titled 'Animal Law: Tomorrow's Law: The Future of Animal Law.' The Symposium was co-hosted by Macquarie University and RSPCA Australia.
You can view Graeme McEwen's speech on strategic litigation here. Unfortunately, only about 4 minutes of Graeme's speech was recorded, but the question and answer session was forthright. The text of the speech from which he spoke may be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
You can view Melissa Perry QC's speech on intensive factory farming here.
You can view Jed Goodfellow's speech on farm animal welfare regulation here.
The text of the speeches will be later published by Macquarie University. For details of other speakers and the conference program, click here.
At the Animal Law Symposium - Panel members Shatha Hamade, Melissa Knoll, Jed Goodfellow, Siobhan O'Sullivan and Graeme McEwen are pictured together with Ruth Hatten (Voiceless) and Anna Ludvik (All Creatures).
New photos emerge of cattle cruelty in Indonesia
8 January 2012
Photo courtesy of ABC Online. Original photo from Juni Kriswanto, AFP.
ABC Online: 'Workers unload cattle using ropes hanging around their necks in Surabaya, East Java.'
New photographs have been taken of cattle being treated cruelly in Indonesia. One photo depicts cattle being lifted off a boat by a crane with rope tied around their heads. You can read the full story at ABC News Online here.
Japanese whaling vessels reported to have departed for yearly hunt
28 December 2012
Photo courtesy of the ABC article reproduced below, and sourced from Australian Customs Service
Japanese whaling vessels reported to have departed for yearly hunt
It has been reported that three Japanese vessels have left port for the annual whale hunt, and that a fourth is soon to join.
You can read the details in this ABC article.
Pepe's Ducks fined for misleading claims
19 December 2012
Photo courtesy of Animals Australia
Crowded ... ducks on a farm that supplies Pepe's Ducks (Photo: Steve Siewert)
Pepe's Ducks has been ordered by the Federal Court to pay $400,000 following misleading claims that its ducks were raised in an "open range" environment and "grown nature's way".
You can read the full story here.
You can read the corrective notice ordered by the Federal Court to be published at the Pepe's Ducks website here.
You can view the ABC 1 '7.30' television report screened on 19 December 2012 here.
Live animal exports: Panel writes to all government MPs
Photo courtesy of ABC TV: 7.30 Report. A cow is poked with a cattle prod in the Israeli abattoir.
The ABC1 4 Corners program, Another Bloody Business, screened on 5 November 20, exposed the circumstances of the brutal Pakistani sheep slaughter where sheep rejected by Bahrain (for alleged disease) were re-routed to Pakistan, an unapproved destination when the shipment left Fremantle. The ABC 1 7.30 program, Israeli abattoir abuse questions Australia’s live export system, screened on 11 December 2012 exposed how an exporter-paid audit of the Israel Bakar Tnova abattoir in July 2012 recorded just a rusty gate causing excessive noise’, where only two months later, footage taken by an Israeli undercover journalist depicted brutal handling and slaughter practices. As a result, the Panel wrote to all government MPs on 20 November and 14 December 2012.
In the letter of 20 November 2012, the Panel noted:
“And so the department signed off on Pakistan whilst the Ocean Drover was in transit from Bahrain to Karachi….Such was the focus by the department [of agriculture] then on securing the alternative port rather than the welfare of the 21,000 animals that it did not disclose to the Pakistani authorities the fact of the shipment’s rejection by Bahrain on the ground of alleged disease….It is not to the point that the sheep were disease free. What is to the point is that the department (and the exporter and the importer) chose to run the gauntlet with the animals’ welfare. For not surprisingly, the relevant Pakistani veterinary chief officer said: If it is harmful for the Bahrain, it’s not harmful for Pakistan? Why? Because we are not humans? The awful fate of these 21,000 animals was in retrospect sealed at this point.”
You can read the full letter here.
In the letter of 14 December 2012, the Panel noted:
‘The exporter-paid audit [July 2012] was described in the ‘7.30’ program by the federal department of agriculture as an “initial” audit. Yet “initial” audits are required from 1 September 2012 to secure ESCAS approval for an export consignment of animals. And subsequent ‘performance” audits are only conducted after arrival at the foreign market and during or at the conclusion of their processing/slaughter … The “initial” audit compares unfavourably with that undertaken at random by the Israeli journalist. The later “performance” audits are simply too late. In any event, the agriculture department can waive further “performance” audits for cattle and buffalo after the first five shipments … Such a deeply flawed audit process would seem to favour industry getting export approval rather than rigorously securing the animals’ welfare and protection before they embark on their long journey, let alone when they arrive at the port of destination. What may be done to protect the animals in any event if a “performance” audit detects a problem, knowing Australian jurisdiction ceases when the animals are unloaded dockside , such as occurred in the Pakistani sheep slaughter case.”
You can read the Panel’s letter here. The Panel opposes Australia’s live export trade, and has written to federal MPs on previous occasions.
Anastasia Smietanka - New National Co-ordinator
With her appointment as legal counsel for Animals Australia, Shatha Hamade has been succeeded as National Co-ordinator by Anastasia Smietanka, previously her Deputy. The Panel will continue to work closely with Shatha in her new role with Animals Australia.
Anastasia has been with the Panel for over 3 years. Prior to her role as National Coordinator, Anastasia was the state coordinator for Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia. She graduated from a combined Law and Media degree at the University of Melbourne in 2011 with an honours degree in French. She will be commencing work as a graduate lawyer with a commercial firm in 2013.
Office of Animal Welfare
At its meeting on 27 November 2012, the Federal Labor Caucus appointed a Live Animal Export Working Group to develop a model for an Office of Animal Welfare and to report back to the Caucus with recommendations by February 2012.
Amongst the Working Group's aims, it will consider the role an Office would play in developing and reviewing domestic animal welfare standards, harmonising domestic laws, monitoring and reporting on surveillance and enforcement of domestic and live animal export regulation, and other appropriate activities.
You can read the full report here.
New Zealand to Phase Out Battery Hens
New Zealand is to phase out battery hens by 2022. The new Code of Conduct will allow hens to be kept in colony cages – a larger cage – or in barns. Whilst greater freedom for hens is to be welcomed, the Panel favours free range egg hens. In Australia, the dramatic increase in market share of free range eggs in the last decade, the Bills for free range marketing in the NSW and SA Parliaments; the Queensland Animal Welfare Regulation prescribing 1500 hens per hectare as 'free range'; the move in Tasmania to phase out battery hens; the announcement by Coles to subsidise the cost of free range eggs and not sell battery hen eggs after 2013, and the increasing consumer preference and awareness for animals raised humanely, all point to a viable free range alternative as the means of egg production in Australia. In England for example only free range eggs can now be purchased at supermarkets.
You can read the full report here.
National Co-ordinator, Shatha Hamade, awarded Australian Young Lawyer of the Year
We are delighted to report that the Panel’s National Co-ordinator, Shatha Hamade, was announced by the Law Council of Australia on Friday 21 September in Adelaide as Australian Young Lawyer of the Year 2012.
It is a singular achievement, and reflects Shatha’s dedication and unique abilities.
It is also a sign of how the animal legal justice issue is becoming more widely recognised within the legal profession.
Launch of Graeme McEwen’s e-book, Animal Law: Principles and Frontiers
Some 100 people attended the launch by former High Court justice, The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, of Graeme McEwen’s e-book, Animal Law: Principles and Frontiers, (published at this website) on Friday 27 July 2012.
The launch was held at the Victorian Bar’s Essoign Club, here are photos taken at the event.
Photos: Jayne Moberley Photography