Laws that fail to protect ...

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 27 November 2012

How can a country that recognises that all animals share the ability to suffer, not protect all animals from acts of cruelty?

In Australia the vast majority of animals in human care — some 500 million animals raised for food each year — are denied the protection of animal cruelty laws. As a result millions of intelligent animals are forced to endure lives of misery in factory farms.

Whilst the UK banned cruel ‘sow stalls’ in 1999, here they are still legal. In Australia an industry ‘Code of Practice’ permits pregnant pigs in factory farms to be kept in tiny metal stalls just one centimetre longer and wider than their bodies for their entire 4 month pregnancy. Barely able to move, and denied mental stimulation, these intelligent and sensitive animals suffer severe stress — even depression — as they are unable to express their most natural behaviours. Not even their babies escape cruel treatment. Piglets are castrated, and have their teeth and tails cut (through the bone) without pain relief — practices that would be illegal if inflicted on dogs or cats.

Whilst inhumane battery cages have been banned in the EU since the start of 2012 there is no suggestion of a phase out date in Australia. As a result 12 million Australian hens remain so tightly crammed in barren wire cages that they cannot even spread their wings.

Politicians have prioritised the interests of cruel industries to ensure the voting support of farming lobby groups despite knowing that the ability of pigs and chickens to suffer is no different from their family pet.

The injustice is obvious.

In Australia, if you beat an animal in a 30 second fit of rage or harm an animal through ignorance, you can be prosecuted for cruelty.

But if you are involved in a large-scale commercial enterprise that subjects thousands, and sometimes millions of animals to cruel practices — such as severe confinement and surgical procedures without pain relief — you cannot be prosecuted for cruelty.

Tragically in Australia, governments have legalised, commercialised and industrialised animal cruelty.

Most Australians are appalled by animal cruelty — yet are still completely unaware of the lives endured by animals in factory farms — or that they are financially supporting animal cruelty by purchasing factory-farmed products. The key to change for millions of animals in this country is an informed community refusing to buy into cruelty.