Book on Australian animal law published

Most of my policy related activities at the moment are in the area of migration and multiculturalism, but I am also managing some activity in the area of animal rights and welfare.

One of the things I’ve done recently is contribute a chapter to a book on animal law, which has just been released.  The book is called Animal Law in Australasia, published by Federation Press.

As the blurb on the back cover notes

The original laws protecting animals from human mistreatment arose from community concern in the 19th century, and today community expectations are even higher. Most Australians and New Zealanders assume that their animal welfare laws still provide sufficient protection for animals, that cruelty is the exception and that, when exposed, the perpetrators are prosecuted. They are wrong on all counts.

One of the book’s editors, Peter Sarkoff from the Law Faculty at the University of Auckland, closes the book with an aptly named chapter entitled “Animal Law: A Subject In Search of Scholarship.”  This reflects the growing significance and developing jurisprudence on the way animals are treated by the law, including whether and what rights may be present, but the relative lack of attention which has been paid to this to date.

The book obviously seeks to play a role in helping to remedy this.  It is aimed at law students but is also suitable for activists with an interest in animal rights.  Every chapter in the book is written by legal practitioners or academics, with the exception of mine which takes a look at the way animal rights is perceived at the political level (not surprisingly, it’s not an overly positive assessment).

(I’m not entitled to any royalties out of this book (as far as I know), so I don’t suppose I have much of a conflict of interest in mentioning it.  In any case, my personal interest is fairly obvious in this case.)

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  1. Dolphins:

    I didn’t say anything at all about animals receiving anaesthesia before they are slaughtered (could poison the meat for starters).

    My son DID PROTEST about something much worse than a workplace practice. Superiors didn’t care. My son works in a high security job, which is quite different from an abattoir worker.

    Abattoir workers could present a united front, and refuse point blank to cave in. If there’s enough of them, perhaps the government might listen.

  2. Lorikeet, my comment about slaughtered animals not being anaethetised in Australia was not in response to anything you said – it is not all about you. ;-) Nicky seemed shocked that ‘the Federal government is now considering allowing fully conscious sheep to be slaughtered to appease Middle Eastern interests …’ and I wondered if s/he thinks they are unconscious when slaughtered in Australia. A bit of investigation might pay off.

    Lorikeet: I was pretty sure you said your son had _not_ protested over some workplace situation he thought was morally wrong, but perhaps we remember your comment differently. Your comment above seems to be sitting on the fence on what he did, not that it matters. I’m interested that you seem to think that it would be OK for abbatoirs workers to put their jobs on the line over a moral issue but your son could not be expected to do so because he has ‘a high security job.’ I am not sure that I think that lets him off from having moral standards, but I know many might think that sort of job under Howard would be a black mark against anyone.

    Given the Howard government’s fairly successful attempts to crush the Meatworkers Union, they’d be pretty lucky to gather any sort of show of force, and many abbatoirs workers are recent migrants, who would understandably be wary of antagonising their boss, on whom their visa may depend, let alone their livelihood.

  3. Dolphins:

    I know exactly what happened in relation to my own son. You clearly aren’t getting the message that it isn’t an issue of fence-sitting when you work in national security.

    My son is a very highly trained and experienced professional. The government would have a very hard time trying to replace a person of his aptitude and skill – to say nothing of the additional cost.

    For anyone to suggest that he should put his job on the line when his superiors won’t act is ridiculous. He did his part. They didn’t do theirs. The conditions of his employment precluded him from doing anything else. I explained all of this when you unfairly criticised him previously.

    I also think it is very unfair to tar our hardworking Commonwealth public servants with the same brush as Howard. Your attitude would appear to support an invasion by Russians, Chinese or anyone else.

    In regard to the abattoir workers, perhaps a certain percentage of them are from the Middle East and possibly some not opposed to the live slaughter of animals at all. That would make the situation more difficult.

    On the one hand, we have Muslim extremists wanting to slaughter fully conscious animals. On the other hand, we have The Greens wanting to take a large slice of the food from our plates. I think common sense needs to prevail by adopting a moderate approach.

    About 30 years ago, I knew a man who worked in an abattoir in Brisbane. He said a piece of equipment resembling a very large bullet whacked each steer very hard in the centre of the forehead, killing it instantly.

  4. Dolphins

    Dolphins Says:Given the Howard government’s fairly successful attempts to crush the Meatworkers Union, they’d be pretty lucky to gather any sort of show of force

    Howards attempts to crush the meatworkers union ? Dont forget his predessor Mr Keating and Hawke…. no one did as much damage as those two. Almost all levels of protection for small producers was removed under the ALP government of the day.

    lets not forget Mr Rudds’ push for the pacific island guest worker scheme which as led to the recent arrests in the Kilcoy Meat works.
    Yes their lust for the creation of a two tier worker in this country can not be denied. Your right tempory low paid imported workers are not only stealing local jobs from regional centres, but would have to accept almost anything to stay.

    As for Moral issues. Prior to the ideology of economic rationalism introduced by the the Hawke government, (when we had small producers) the farmers always relaxed their animals before slaughter. This produced less stress which was better for the animal and our meat. (That was when we had a pork industry)

    Lorikeet says: didn’t say anything at all about animals receiving anaesthesia before they are slaughtered (could poison the meat for starters).

    Thats right Lorikeet, anything to add more drugs to the food chain.

    The same people that support full term abortion(Including the incredibly painfull death of partial birth abortions). Have the hide to talk about giving anaesthesia to animals, yet in Victoria denied the same right for a child.
    pain killers denied


  5. Anyone who eats meat cannot call themselves peaceful or environmental. Most people say that they love animals “i have a possum in a bucket or whatever” yet their relationship with animals occurs three times daily when they sit down to eat them. In regards to starving children or what ever you are saying Lorikeet, you need to realise that compassion must extend to all beings including those in Africa etc. Because of the way we treat animals is the cause of the majority of suffering in the world relating to poverty and starvation. Alpha Brain is obviously an enlightened individual and probably doesnt believe everything he or she reads like majority of us. Infact good on you for saying what needs to be said to people like Lorikeet who have no concept of what is actually going on.

    see for those that are interested

  6. Tony’s comment went way off-topic, but I just have to ask – when Tony said:

    lets not forget Mr Rudds’ push for the pacific island guest worker scheme which as led to the recent arrests in the Kilcoy Meat works.
    Yes their lust for the creation of a two tier worker in this country can not be denied. Your right tempory low paid imported workers are not only stealing local jobs from regional centres, but would have to accept almost anything to stay.

    What on earth does a pacific island guest worker scheme – which so far has seen 50 people from Tonga working as fruitpickers in the Murray Valley in Victoria on seven month visas – have to do with arrest
    of people at the meatworks in Kilcoy?

    In addition, none of these people are able to work in any jobs where Australian workers are able to found, so to say they are “stealing” jobs from anyone is a falsehood. Seeing you’re so keen on lecturing the rest of us on your higher moral standards Tony, it would surely behove you to withdraw that false accusation of theft against Pacific Islanders who have come to Australia because they were invited.

    You also follow up your false accusation of “stealing jobs”, by saying temporary workers – of any type – would “have to accept any (job) to stay”. The visa the Pacific Islanders are can only be for seven months and only at approved workplaces. Other workers on skilled temporary visas have to find an employer to sponsor them (at extra cost to the employer than employing an Australian) and can only take jobs in their area of skill, which also has to be listed as an occupation where there is a shortage of available workers in Australia.

    Again, given the higher moral standards you ascribe to yourself, I am sure you will be keen to correct your error, especially given that it creates an unfair reflection on people who are assisting to improve the prosperity of regional communities and Australian families.

  7. Alicia:

    You’ve never met me. How would you know what my knowledge is about anything? Or whether or not I am “peaceful or environmental”?

    I supported children in Latin America through World Vision for 18 years, and I am currently knitting warm clothing for children in the coldest parts of Russia and China – also for the Royal Children’s Hospital and Brisbane’s 6000+ homeless people.

    The main reason for suffering in overseas countries has little to do with animals, but quite a lot to do with abusive regimes which exploit, and don’t care, about their own people.

    I have said many times that there is room for improvement in animal management, even making suggestions as to how food wastage could be converted into animal feed.

    I think Alpha Brain reads and believes too much of what extreme greens have to say – along with their fallacious extrapolations.

    As an experienced exit counsellor of people leaving destructive cults, I am quite familiar with over-indoctrinated people going on the attack against people they have never met.

    Now read again what YOU had to say and ask yourself if it’s fair.


    In relation to Pacific Islanders, it’s not so much a “theft of jobs”, but the government giving them away.

    Instead of importing workers (and exporting work) the government should make good use of the thousands of unemployed young people, which would also reduce welfare payments, raise self-esteem and improve the economy.

  8. Tony – well done on managing to drag the abortion debate into a discussion of humane slaughter of animals. You win the Irrelevant Prize for this week. I have no idea why you imagine that anyone who advocates humane practices in the meat industry would ipso facto advocate inhumane treatment of human foetuses, if I had understood you correctly. If I thought you had any idea what you are talking about I’d be offended.

    The abbatoirs workers from overseas I was talking about are the (mainly Iraqi and Sudanese) workers in places like Shepparton in Victoria and I think there are some near Mt Gambier or Bordertown in SA. They are residents of Australia and only too keen to become citizens .. you meat eaters ought to be grateful to them.

    You can thank Peter Reith and Howard for the greatly weakened state of the meatworkers union Tony- a bit of research might save you some embarassment to say the least.

    What you are talking about is a captive bolt pistol, Lorikeet -and in trained hands, combined with well designed premises and properly trained handled stock, they are certainly better than the practices of other countries. However, the way meat is killed in this country is a business, and is subject to the vagaries of the transport system, for a start. Stressed animals which have been on the road for a long time do suffer – there are many reports to show this. Pigs are very excitable, cattle less so. No idea why you mention the slaughter of live animals though – there can be no slaughter of dead ones. Unconscious ones are still alive, and as I said, the stress and suffering on the animals depends on a lot of factors – you might care to find out how often they are inspected. No idea where you got hte idea I want to add drugs ot meat animals – stress itself creates cortisol .. look that one up.

  9. Lorikeet – you have been one talking about supporting Australian farmers and keeping jobs in Australia. How can it be that when Australian farmers cwho annot find enough labour to harvest all of their produce are assisted by the government to get workers – thus increasing farmers’ incomes and Australia’s GDP and overall earnings – this is “giving jobs away.”

    And farmers cannot find the labour, even with 100 000 backpackers a year in in the country (no one seems to complain about them “stealing Aussie’s jobs” or allegedly driving down wages or creating a “two tier worker”).

    The same applied to meatworks, as Dolphin says (and to get somewhat back on topic). Meatworks in a number of regional towns were and are still being kept open only by overseas workers – many refugees and also many on temporary worker visas. These meatworks provide significant numbers of jobs and flow on income for regional centres. Some of them could certainly improve their performance in reducing suffering for animals, and in improving OH&S for that matter, but many are certainly surviving only through migrant labour.

    (This of course is totally different to using labour from people who are working illegally – that should be discouraged and prevented wherever possible, in the interests of the workers as well as the wider community and taxpayer. Trying to link the use of foreign labour that have no work rights with the use of migrants here on valid work visas would be a sign of complete ignorance about our labour and migration laws, or of someone desparately clutching at straws to make an argument)

  10. Lorikeet Yes I believe my comments are fair. Are you saying that you are not peaceful or environmental? I was not attacking you personally, as you appear to do so here for some reasons that you find of positive benefit to yourself, simply using your naivety as an example. “Exit Counselling” for people from destructive cults? Is fairness to all beings (human and animals) a destructive cult? I surely hope not otherwise I am surely a Cult Leader in your eyes and should be feared and perhaps seek counselling. I didnt know starting with a peaceful diet was a destructive cult – thank you for your insight.

    I hope while you are knitting your sweaters for the children that you might please take some of your time think of the thousands of baby chickens having their sensitive beaks seared off with hot irons just today, or the screams of the immobilized mother cows as their calves are dragged from them just hours after birth (destined for veal, the males and dairy cows, like their mums, for the females) so that you can greedily suckle the milk that was destined for her pregnancy and birth. Seems very natural doesnt it. I have been vegetarian since I was 11 and vegan for the last year – I am healthy and do not require animals to die horrible deaths as a part of my diet and daily life.

    Sometimes we need to accept responsibility for our direct actions. This includes what you eat and what happens to these animals as a direct result of you being a meat consumer.

    I do not see how a Cow, Chicken or Pig is any different to a Monkey, Possum, Dog or Cat.

    I am very sorry that you do not like the truth. I do understand how you must feel having your views challenged by us “radical greenies” as I know your views are common of those people who have not been educated about the atrocity that an Australian meat diet, and how it is produced.

    Oh any FYI Andrew is featured on many of the Supreme Master’s DVD’s and TV streams among other politicians in Australia.

  11. Dolphins:

    I don’t need to look up “cortisol”. I once worked in a University, Faculty of Medicine. Sorry I meant “butchering animals alive”.


    I’m not afraid of Cult Leaders. To say I am naive is a very false assumption.

    As a vegan, you probably consume more grains than an omnivore, and make a greater contribution to any grain shortage.

    Recently a nutritionist on TV who was promoting a balanced diet said that if you only eat “fodder”, you will turn into a fat cow.

    Then she went on to say that lots of people have trouble with their digestion from eating too much wheat – Weetbix, cakes, biscuits, bread, pasta, puddings. She said it would be better to eat a mix of grains. (That would also reduce the shortage (and price) of wheat.)

    You don’t know what all of my views are. That’s another false assumption.

    If you think The Greens are only interested in the welfare of animals, I suggest you become better educated.

    For example, you might consider what the net effect would be of The Greens wiping out our livestock industries and also reducing the size of the food bowl (economy, trade, population growth).

    Greens are also responsible for an expensive carbon tax, which will end up being paid by all consumers, including the poor. In the meantime, Asian countries which seem to be receiving the vast bulk of the contracts will still be using overworked, underpaid slaves and paying NO carbon tax. China has the world’s strongest economy. No surprises there!

    As far as I’m concerned, animals fall into 3 categories.

    1. Native animals.
    2. Domestic pets.
    3. Food animals.

    BTW I don’t greedily suckle anything. You can eat whatever limited diet you choose, but you can’t take other people’s choices away.


    If you want to keep abattoir workers and others employed, why do you want to get rid of the meat industry?

    I don’t need to clutch at straws, nor am I “completely ignorant”. I said we should get our own young people into the orchards to pick fruit.

  12. lorikeet

    lorikeet Says: Andrew:

    If you want to keep abattoir workers and others employed, why do you want to get rid of the meat industry?

    Thats right they want to control or wipe or cattle. (methane) This ideology will stop at nothing. If cows weren’t bred for beef or dairy how long would that species survive….. China and Japan would no doubt take up the slack.

    I don’t need to clutch at straws, nor am I “completely ignorant”. I said we should get our own young people into the orchards to pick fruit

    Like many others in our community Aboriginal leaders are heavly against this explotive scheme but mad ideology drives him against even the people he once championed.

    forget our own

    They are just not interested in common sense.
    Ideology gone mad

    Lorikeet says: As far as I’m concerned, animals fall into 3 categories.

    1. Native animals.
    2. Domestic pets.
    3. Food animals.

    Thats too logical for for this mob.


  13. Lorikeet:

    Although constantly denying it, it looks like the democrats ended up so far left that an ex minister is adopting communist china’s one child policy.

    Unbelievible….. Ditch your own…. hate your country…kill off your old and the unborn, have no borders (as they hate their culture) and then try to rob our youth of any sort of choice.
    One child population control

    Yet they’ll still try to sell themselves as centrists.


  14. Wow you guys really do have no idea. Did you forget to place humans on your list of animal categories? You are extremely naive – I am 22 – even I can see past the bullshit the Meat Industry throws at you to make you feel like you need meat for survival among other reasons. I am not a “fat cow” infact you would actually be very surprised if you knew what I did for a living. By the way all that stuff about me causing grain shortages – hilarious! This is how they fatten YOUR cattle – Roadkill ground up, dead or euthanized shelter animals ground up, other farm animal parts ground up and also a large ammount of “refined” feed comes from ground up fish or “by-catch” – get that into you lorikeet. DNA tests show there are between 500-1000 animals per patty in the average takeaway beef burger. Well lets just hope none of those cows have Mad Cow’s disease (incurable holes form inside your brain from eating beef infected with this). If it is true that “You are what you eat” then I would be worried if I was you.

    Any yes sorry to have to say it again but yes you do suckly greedily (milk is not a need it is a want, so you are greedy to take more than you need and expoit animals in your process) at milk not intended for you – it was intended for a baby just like all milk. Only humans are so sick to actually create factories to steal milk from other creatures babies – then eat their babies as veal. Would you drink Pig’s Milk if it tasted good? Or Dog’s Milk? How disgusting. It takes 4000 glasses of water to make 1 glass of Milk in Australia.

    Your choice to suckle greedily at the teats of another animal (not literally though for your convenience in plastic bottles courtesy the Dairy Industry) and no one is pouring milk down your throat.

    Think about it before you write – yes I can take away peoples choices my convincing them that they are wrong. Believe me – people care and it is actually quite easy to change. Deal with it and then get used to it. We are not going away.

  15. “Unbelievible….. Ditch your own…. hate your country…kill off your old and the unborn, have no borders (as they hate their culture) and then try to rob our youth of any sort of choice. … Yet they’ll still try to sell themselves as centrists.”

    Wow, you really have lost it haven’t you Tony. Pity, you used to say some things worth listening to.

    I’m not trying to ‘sell’ anything, least of all the Democrats, given my view that they are no longer a viable party. The issue about whether or not the party ‘moved left’ is a matter of looking at the evidence, but I realise looking at the facts is not something you’re interested in doing, so I won’t waste my time pointing any more of them out to you.

    You keep on with your crazy rants if you like, but please at least try to make them on-topic.

    Oh, and the only Democrat who was an “ex-minister” was Don Chipp.

  16. Alicia:

    You are 22. I am nearly 54. I have an IQ in the genius range and I am fairly well educated in Mind Control and Manipulation, and also Social Psychology and Group Dynamics used by destructive cults.

    It isn’t until we are over 40 that we come to realise how little we know, and how many times we may have been conned by all and sundry.

    Yes, bullshit is thrown at us from every direction – sometimes it is the meat industry – also naturopaths, doctors, nutritionists, insurance companies, banks, and destructive cults (including greens) – in fact, anyone interested in making money.

    In case you didn’t know, the CSIRO promotes the idea of man-made global warming, but their CSIRO weight-reduction diet was sponsored by the Meat and Livestock Corporation. It is absolutely loaded with red meat.

    Protein & fats don’t fatten cows. Carbohydrates and vegetation do.

    You said here was DNA from 500 to 1000 animals in just one beef burger. The amounts must be infinitesimal – caused by bulk production of mince in a factory – probably producing hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of beef burgers from the mix.

    It would take the average consumer a few years to eat JUST ONE COW!

    Mad cows in Australia? I think we all know who they are.

    When the people are starving and there isn’t any food left, the bible says we may eat one another.

    Guess who is going to be at the top of the menu, once the people have worked out who is responsible????

    Please wake up and smell the coffee!


    Thanks for the links. Gee, this Tony Abbott really seems to have his finger on the pulse.

    Why can’t we get Australians to do this work? A lot of farmers won’t pay the going rate.

    Why won’t the farmers pay the going rate? Maybe because they are being thoroughly ripped off themselves by multi-national companies (supermarket chains) which then rip off the consumer as well!

  17. Whats got into the water up there – some of that cortisol? Tony, Alicia…settel people the sun is going to rise tomorrow

  18. “people the sun is going to rise tomorrow”

    A comforting thought Ken……….. except for battery hens!

  19. The only reason that cows have calves every year is to keep up their milk production, so they can provide milk for 5 to 6 years.

    If the calves are female, there’s a strong likelihood they will be kept as milkers as well. The bulls and cows are chosen for their superior traits, so it’s also likely the male calves will be kept for future breeding stock.

    To my knowledge, there is very little veal on the market. What’s available costs too much for the average consumer, and has no flavour unless you put it in a casserole or sprinkle it with cajun seasoning etc.


    I think Tony knows quite a bit more about the agendas of The Greens than some. He knows what they have in mind, so I don’t think we can blame him for being more than a little upset.

    I think Kevin Rudd may be beginning to wake up to the true nature of the green global agenda at last! I think that’s why he has reneged on the carbon tax.

    I think lots of people have become aware of the possibility of a Chinese-style government coming to Australia.

    What does this have to do with people having a cow over cruelty to animals? Plenty!

    Think about it everyone, please.

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