Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens' Animal Welfare spokesperson
The footage taken in a Tasmanian abattoir, brought to light by animal activists today, is shocking. It shows brutal acts of animal cruelty, like bobby calves being bludgeoned, pulled by their ears and tails before being thrown onto a conveyor belt, in pain and dying, to be slaughtered.
In Question Time today, the Minister for Primary Industries failed to confirm whether or not his department is investigating these barbaric acts.
Activists claim they advised DPIPWE of the abattoir cruelty in December, but the Minister told the House the RSPCA only reported the matter to the department last week.
The Liberals cut the RSPCA’s funding by $200 000 soon after coming into government, leaving rural and industry animal welfare inspectorate services in the hands of Biosecurity Tasmania. Shunted into an overstretched department, it seems thorough investigations may not be being conducted.
Minister Rockliff must explain how long the government has been in possession of this information, and when, or if, they began investigating.
Tasmanians who saw this distressing footage need to be reassured the government is taking it seriously and dealing with it appropriately.
Animal welfare is at the forefront of consumers’ minds more and more. Tasmania’s dairy industry is already suffering as a result of global market shifts, and this vision of extreme cruelty being inflicted on bobby calves, a product of the dairy industry, may only hurt it more.
People want to know they are buying ethically and humanely sourced products. Minister Rockliff must assure Tasmanians this won’t happen again, and if it does, it’ll be investigated immediately and where neglect or cruelty is confirmed, prosecution will follow.
We thank the animal welfare activists who have brought this issue to the public’s eye. Without people like this, Tasmanians would still be in the dark.