Wednesday, May 19, 2010

People Making a Difference: Fighting the Good Fight in Australia Against Live Animal Exports

Australian animal rights activists are fighting a vital and urgent struggle against the export of live animals to foreign countries. Each year, Australia - the largest exporter of live animals in the world - sends millions of animals, mainly sheep and cattle, overseas. As the outstanding website Animals Australia notes:

Australia exports millions of cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, deer and camels around the world for slaughter and (to a lesser extent) breeding. The vast majority go by sea in journeys that last up to 3 weeks. These long haul journeys cause stress, injuries, illnesses and disease, and tens of thousands of animals (mainly sheep) die each year. After the stress of transportation, all the surviving animals face death on foreign soil, most in countries which have no animal welfare laws or, at best, inadequate laws. They will almost all be killed without pre-stunning and often without adequate restraint facilities. The result is inherent and on-going suffering. (Source)

Animals Australia is leading the struggle against this inhumane and barbaric treatment of animals. An Australian friend of mine on Facebook was kind enough to post photos of animals being exported alive and believe me, these images are absolutely heartbreaking. In 2008 alone, 35,000 sheep died en route to foreign countries. Those who live to reach their destinations often encounter the worst, most miserable conditions imaginable in countries throughout Asia and the Middle East. These countries have no laws to safeguard the animals from cruelty and horrible conditions.

Our Australian brothers and sisters in the global animal rights struggle are fighting to change this. They are circulating online petitions, engaged in letter-writing campaigns, meeting with MPs to register their disapproval, and staging demonstrations against companies that export animals.

Half of the struggle is making people aware of this barbarism. As I've said so many times in this Blog of mine, the human capacity for denial is our worst enemy. If the world sees these horrifying images, there might be some hope of bringing about change. Australians need our support in their brave efforts to stop this ghastly practice. I have posted a video (below) about the exporting of animals to the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain, where the animals are treated in the worst ways imaginable. Please watch it if you get a chance, although I warn you: It is difficult to watch.

The live exporting of animals is yet another manifestation of the deplorable treatment of animals by human beings. I can't imagine a nobler crusade than the fight to end this massive crime against beings that feel so many of the same feelings that we humans feel.

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