Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Anne Box­hall Email abox­hall@big­

A PUB­LIC lec­ture spon­sored by an­i­malwel­fare group Voice­less was held in Ho­bart re­cently.

Those in at­ten­dance were pre­sented with ex­am­ple af­ter ex­am­ple of govern­ment and farm­ing in­dus­try spin de­signed to side­line and marginalise people who care about the treat­ment of an­i­mals.

Those with the most money to lose have a lot to gain by por­tray­ing com­pas­sion­ate people as rad­i­cal an­i­mal ac­tivists or as part of some oddball fringe or even akin to ter­ror­ists.

A large per­cent­age of the pop­u­la­tion sup­ports the hu­mane treat­ment of an­i­mals and it ap­pears the in­dus­try’s de­sire to di­vide and con­quer is far greater than its de­sire to ad­dress the suf­fer­ing and cru­elty hap­pen­ing in­side in­ten­sive pig­geries, bat­tery hen farms and the like.

Hys­ter­i­cal lan­guage such as “ter­ror­ism” has been used to de­scribe the ac­tions of those sim­ply try­ing to raise aware­ness about the dark side of fac­tory farms. These are people who don’t phys­i­cally hurt any­one and who are cer­tainly not a do­mes­tic ter­ror­ism threat.

There are no mean­ing­ful laws to pro­tect farm an­i­mals and, as a re­sult, an­i­mals suf­fer a lot.

The in­dus­try’s re­sponse is to si­lence those who try to ex­pose this.

In the US, ag- gag laws crim­i­nalise the ac­tions of an­i­mal ad­vo­cates and jour­nal­ists who ex­pose the suf­fer­ing of an­i­mals on fac­tory farms.

The laws aim to pun­ish those who ex­pose cru­elty rather than the per­pe­tra­tors of it.

Not sur­pris­ingly, the pub­lic outcry against ag- gag laws in the US has been so great that at­tempts to pros­e­cute have re­sulted in charges be­ing dropped al­to­gether.

Vot­ers don’t want to see free­dom of speech sti­fled and they do want to see checks and bal­ances on govern­ment pow­ers.

On a hap­pier note, check out an Aussie farmer’s change of heart as he re­leases his 752 caged hens to feel the warmth of the sun­shine, stretch their wings, have a dust bath and scratch around in the soil for the fi rst time in their lives.

Find this mov­ing footage at edgarsmis­ or go to YouTube and search “edgarsmis­sion nor­mal and nat­u­ral”.

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