Ag-Gag laws are laws that operate to hide the truth about how animals are treated. Laws that punish the person exposing the cruelty rather than the person perpetrating the cruelty.
To our shame, SA has an ‘Ag gag’ law.
Earlier this year, the South Australian Parliament passed the Government’s Surveillance Devices Act 2016, effectively gagging animal advocates from informing the public about animal cruelty in animal use industries. In the original version of the legislation, SA Labor had proposed a law that defined animal welfare as in the public interest but bizarrely they removed that clause from the final version. The Greens raised concerns at the time but Labor did not correct what appeared to be their own error.
The Greens have put forward a Bill which clarifies that animal welfare issues are within the ‘public interest’ and that animal advocates can release information relating to animal welfare to the public without having to go to the courts. The Law Society has backed this Bill and expressed concern about our state introducing Ag Gag laws.
The Greens Bill will be brought to a vote on Wednesday 2nd of November 2016. All we need is for the South Australian Labor Government to accept the amendment. Take Action Now.
News that a bar set to open in Adelaide intended to put hammerhead sharks in a tank came as a wakeup call for SA last year.
Just as concerning as the stupidity and recklessness of putting sharks in a tank, in a bar, near a dancefloor, was the realisation that in SA at least there was nothing that the RSPCA could do about it. The bar was breaking no state laws with this particular species as long as the animals were commercially caught and not transported over any state borders.
Why? Because SA does not include ‘fish’ in the definition of animals that are protected under the state’s Animal Welfare Act. In all jurisdictions, Animal Welfare or Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Acts cover vertebrate animals, but only some include fish, despite all fish being vertebrates.
Fish are included as vertebrate species in the ACT, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria. In the NT fish are only covered when ‘in captivity or dependent on a person for food’. But in South Australia (and WA) fish are specifically excluded from state animal welfare legislation and so protection. Yet there is clear evidence that fish are sentient animals capable of experiencing pain and suffering.
That is why the SA Greens have introduced a private members bill to fix this and we need your support to make it happen. Let the Weatherill Labor Government know that fish also deserve protections against cruelty.
Read more about the Greens Animal Welfare (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill which seeks to define fish under the animal welfare laws.
Profit does not come before welfare
One of the key findings from the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry in the Greyhound Racing Industry was that “of the 97,783 greyhounds bred in the last 12 years, between 48,891 and 68,448 dogs were killed because they were deemed uncompetitive as racing dogs – this equates to a ‘wastage’ rate of 50 to 70 per cent.”
How have we allowed this industry which is built upon accepting animal deaths as a necessary by-product of greater profit, to continue to operate for so long? It was only after the report for the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NS W, that Premier Mike Baird called for a ban on the industry.
What about SA?
South Australian Greens MLC Tammy Franks has called for an inquiry into the greyhound racing industry in South Australia. So far, the true number of greyhounds raced, retired, re-homed and euthanised in SA are not disclosed because Greyhound Racing SA is refusing to release the statistics. An inquiry will ensure these figures are made public.
Now is the time to support an inquiry into the greyhound racing industry in SA.
The Greens have called on the South Australian Labor Government to support a Parliamentary Inquiry into the greyhound racing industry in South Australia. Watch Tammy Franks MLC’s full speech in Parliament here. Show your support of the Parliamentary Inquiry by joining the campaign below.
The Greens motion will be called to a vote on Wednesday 21st of September. Register to watch the vote in the Legislative Council.
Support the call for a Parliamentary Inquiry by signing the RSPCA of South Australian's Open Letter.