Don’t be fooled by his childish smile and cheerful name. Barnaby Joyce, Australia’s Minister of Agriculture, is one of the most dangerous men on the planet.
In recent years, Australian animal advocacy groups have released footage from dozens of undercover investigations showing thousands of animals being terrorized by industries regulated by Mr. Joyce. Instead of punishing the culprits, Mr. Joyce uses the news as a PR opportunity to portray Australia as a world leader in the humane treatment of animals. Instead of condemning the crimes, he denounces the advocates who document them. And instead of working to eliminate the abuses, he advocates for “ag gag” laws to prevent them from being exposed.
Each year, Australia loads millions of live sheep and cattle onto ships and transports them to countries in the Middle East and Asia that have few, if any, laws governing the humane treatment of animals. Undercover investigations consistently expose atrocities during every leg of the journey. Thousands of animals have died from heat exhaustion and disease on the ships and have been butchered while still alive in their destination countries.
In spite of abundant evidence demonstrating that live animals cannot be exported humanely, Joyce defends the trade and works to expand it. And he routinely uses Australia’s unenforceable and ineffective animal welfare regulations – the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Program (ESCAS) – to not only justify his promotion of the live export trade but also portray it as a model for the humane treatment of animals. In January, Joyce stated that a review of ESCAS “demonstrates that Australian livestock exported overseas are treated humanely in almost every instance” and that “only 12,958 animals (0.16%) had experienced a potentially adverse animal welfare outcome since 2011.”
Adolph Hitler said, “make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it.” This appears to be Joyce’s strategy to convince the world that the millions of animals who are abused and tortured in the live export trade are treated “humanely in almost every instance.”
LIVE ANIMAL BAIT
In mid-February, Animals Australia released footage of greyhounds ripping apart live animals who were being used as bait to train the dogs to run faster. The revelation that dog racers were using rabbits, possums and piglets as “live bait” and the footage itself were so disturbing that the dog racing industry was compelled to publicly condemn the practice and cancel its annual awards ceremony.
Instead of denouncing the illegal, pervasive and horrific use of live bait when the news broke, Barnaby Joyce, true to form, criticized the activists for using hidden cameras and reiterated the need for legislation that would outlaw their use. Time and again, Joyce has made his objective clear: fine and imprison those who dare to document crimes against animals while protecting those who commit them.