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“Live Bait” Scandal Triggers Public Debate About Proposed Ag-Gag Law

February 26, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

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.

Greyhound trainers tie live animals to automatic lures that the dogs chase during training exercises.

Greyhound trainers attach live animals to fast-moving lures that the dogs chase while training

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.

Australia's Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce is  advocating for anti-trespass laws to criminalize undercover investigations

Australia’s Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce is advocating for ag-gag laws to criminalize undercover investigations that expose animal cruelty and to protect those who commit the abuses

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 was in mid-February that Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland shocked the world with the surveillance footage of greyhounds dogs, who are normally docile, being trained by the racing industry to tear apart live rabbits, possums and baby pigs at training facilities.

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.

live-export-sheep copy

Each year, millions of live sheep and cattle are exported to the Middle East and Asia

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.

Your Turn

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.

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The Monster Minister

February 22, 2015 by Leave a Comment


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.

Barnaby Joyce, Australia's Minister of Agriculture

Barnaby Joyce, Australia’s Minister of Agriculture (photo:

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.

live exports Australia

Australian animals meet their fate in the Middle East (photos: Animals Australia)

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.”

Live sheep exported from Australia

Live sheep from Australia are stuffed into a trunk in Kuwait (photo: Animals Australia)

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.”

Barnaby Joyce (photo:

Barnaby Joyce (photo:


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.

Greyhound in training chases live possum being used as bait (photo: AFP)

Greyhound in training chases live possum being used as bait (photo: AFP)

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.

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