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Animal rights

Throughout my life I have been a somewhat hypocritical carnivore.  I eat meat (and invest in agricultural businesses) but fundamentally dislike the notion of killing animals for food.  The best way I can live with this hypocrisy is to seek to promote humane treatment of the animals that as a human I do eat. I oppose extremes of factory farming and the cruel treatment of animals generally – we should be prepared to pay more for protein that is gained by humane methods.  I think the welfare of animals should be included in society’s welfare function and that the lives of animals should be made as pleasant and free from misery as possible.  Animals experience pleasure and suffering and the welfare of all sentient beings matters. In particular, if animals are slaughtered for meat then this process should be as quick and painless as possible. Animals should not be exposed to pain and extreme fear. The recent Four Corners show that featured beef cattle being tortured in Indonesia left me feeling depressed and unable to sleep – the sight that stuck in my head was the steer shivering with fear as it watched other cattle being butchered only a few metres away.  The treatment was not related to Islam as some seem to indirectly suggest (cruelty is forbidden under Islam) but to callous ignorance and a human insensitivity to the most extreme forms of cruelty.

The export ban imposed by the Gillard government seems to me an appropriate policy response.  The Indonesian Government yesterday responded by threatening to appeal to the WTO that Australia had discriminated unfairly against Indonesia because other countries that Australia exports too have the same cruel slaughtering practices as Indonesia but are not being subjected to a ban.  This bizarre logic does not deny the cruelty – government officials in Jakarta say they are also concerned with the cruelty – but argues that it is wrong for Australia to seek to stop it in one location if the cruelty is not being addressed elsewhere. My own view is that these other countries should be sought out and the ban on live exports also extended to them.  Yes the value of my agricultural investments will go down but the idea that I am profiting from unnecessarily cruel treatment of animals hurts me far more than any profits lost.  I hope that farmers do feel the same way.

The Australian agricultural sector should not base its prosperity and growth on the barbarous treatment of innocent animals.

4 comments to Animal rights

  • observa

    So should the PETA heads be campaigning now for the UN to place a ban on Halal killing Harry?

  • rabee

    We export livestock because people in other countries want to slaughter more cheaply. It’s a cost thing. We do have Halal certification in Australia

    http://www.daff.gov.au/aqis/export/meat/elmer-3/list-islamic-halal-certification

    But it’s probably much more expensive to slaughter a cow in Australia according to Halal than in indonesia. One idea is to insist that Australian Halal
    certification bodies certify meat from Australian live stock in countries that use Halal slaughter. What I saw on four corners would not be certified as halal in Australia.

  • observa

    “We export livestock because people in other countries want to slaughter more cheaply. It’s a cost thing.”

    Small beer, the relative costs of slaughtering, boning and trimming rabee. The major problem with the third world is lack of refrigeration and refrigerated transport and hence their need to keep them on the hoof until dinner time. Consequently the many small, dispersed, unsupervised abattoirs exactly like we used to be. It’s our carboniferous superiority slip showing here, treating these people like the ‘savages’ we were before the gloss of our supermarket lifestyle. We wouldn’t dare be so precious with our own indigenous people, witness they can even get away with cruelty to their kids.

  • observa

    As an aside here rabee, that’s where the Greenies in Canberra are implicitly asking us all to go, albeit few livestock farmers buy their meat gift wrapped and chilled and there’s a thriving market out there for those who have a household freezer and want a slice of it too. Not in our leafy, graduazzi bubs though rabee. We’re above that sort of peasant behaviour 😉

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