Secretly recorded video of racing dogs ripping apart live animals, who were being used as bait, has triggered public debate in Australia about a proposed ag-gag law that would have compromised the investigation and possibly prevented the incriminating footage from being taken in the first place.
Barnaby Joyce, Australia’s notoriously anti-animal, anti-activist Minister of Agriculture, is using media coverage of the live bait scandal as a platform to push for a U.S.-style ag-gag law that would punish those who take the footage: “Why should people be allowed to trespass onto a farm? You cannot decide to take the law into your own hands. Everybody has in their own purview an ethical reason to break into some industry because of what they judge to be correct.” The proposed legislation would also require activists who do acquire footage to quickly turn it over to authorities, which would compromise their investigations.
If comments posted online about the live bait exposé are any indication, Australians overwhelmingly disagree with Mr. Joyce:
“Only people like Barnaby could look at video of the most barbaric animal cruelty and seek to punish those who exposed it, not those who perpetrate it.”
“If the regulators don’t protect the animals then SOMEONE has too.”
“Baby pigs being ripped apart while tied to a lure doesn’t seem to upset Joyce, but the people who exposed it do?”
“For too long, the so called regulators have been in bed with cruel industries. So who is going to stop cruelty? The people who always have — the public.”
It isn’t just the dog racing business that Barnaby Joyce is working to protect. Horrific footage from dozens of undercover investigations of Australia’s multi-billion dollar live export industry has demonstrated that transporting millions of cows and sheep to the Middle East and Asia is inherently inhumane. It is this damning footage that Minister Joyce is most eager to suppress.
Australia’s proposed ag-gag law would impose fines up to $10,000 and prison sentences up to 20 years, depending on the amount of economic damage. In the U.S., seven states have passed “ag-gag” bills into law since the 1990s.
Please visit Animals Australia to learn more about the organization’s extraordinary investigations that are blowing the lid off of some of the world’s cruelest animal industries.