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No 'Ag-Gag' Laws for Tasmania

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 26 June 2014

Tags: Animal Welfare

The Hodgman Liberal government was once again reminded that Tasmanians expect transparency and humane conditions in our farming operations.

Tasmanian Greens Animal Welfare spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, today called on Minister Rockliff to rule out Tasmanian Government support for national laws proposed by Federal Minister Barnaby Joyce, which are designed to prevent individuals or welfare organisations from documenting cruel or inhumane farming operations.

"Minister Joyce has made comments indicating that he had full support from the states and territories for the introduction of what are known as ‘ag-gag’ laws, but we know that is not true. A.C.T. Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury has since written to Mr Joyce disputing that there was any agreement and noting his serious concerns," Ms O’Connor said.

"Ag-gag laws would be yet another draconian crackdown, designed to terrify the concerned individuals who have the courage to investigate large-scale cruelty cases."

"The removal of the RSPCA's inspectorate funding for the agricultural sector will put even more cases at the feet of concerned individuals and animal welfare organisations."

"We have already seen cases brought to the courts as a result of the courage of compassionate Tasmanians, such as the truly horrific Pitts Poultry case in 2007."

"Tasmania already has adequate penalties for crimes such as trespass and damage to property, further draconian measures are unnecessary and further proof of the anti-democratic, pro-cruelty coalition agenda."

Ms O'Connor also called on Primary Industries Minister Rockliff to table updated animal welfare legislation, in accordance with recommendations presented to former Minister Bryan Green in 2013.

"The review of the Animal Welfare Act 1993 took into account the views of the public, industry and welfare organisations and recommendations were given to the then Minister."

"The recommendations included a dramatic increase in penalties for aggravated cruelty, which is up to date with public opinion."

"We are yet to see any update to the outdated legislation, despite recommendations being public since early 2013," Ms O’Connor said.