On the animal welfare front, the temperature seems to be steadily rising.
In Perth this weekend, an 18 year old woman chained herself to the railings of The Ocean Shearer, a live export vessel that is loading at Fremantle Port.
The woman was reportedly part of a group of up to seven protesters who climbed onto the ship at around 3am in the morning in order to take pictures and film video footage which they presumably thought might show animal cruelty in the livex trade.
The Ocean Shearer is the world’s largest livestock carrier, with capacity for 125,000 sheep or 23,000 cattle.
… a sign of the times
This latest incident is just the latest in a series of publicly-visible animal welfare incidents.
Over summer, public release of video footage has seen two East Coast abattoirs – one in NSW and one in Victoria – closed by regulators with scarcely 24 hours notice. At least one of those abattoirs appears to face a serious threat of seeing its licence permanently withdrawn.
In the past fortnight, Animals Australia has released new footage of animals being mistreated in Indonesian abattoirs. In response, federal regulators have launched an investigation into three Indonesian abattoirs, in cooperation with Indonesian authorities.
The Western Australian firm International Livestock Exports (‘ILE’) is reported to have voluntarily suspended its operations at one Indonesian abattoir while the governments’ investigations are underway.
Meanwhile, in Australia, we’re getting a constantly increasing number of reports from members about people with cameras and videos coming out to saleyards, feedlots or just being out on the road.
Like it or not, the level of scrutiny on this industry isn’t likely to go away.
We live in an age where every kid with a mobile phone can take better quality video than a professional Hollywood movie director could produce just twenty years ago.
And that means that the actions, or inactions, of just one or two people can very easily end up on TV, or YouTube, and tarnish the entire industry’s reputation.