Richard Farmer's political bite-sized meaty chunks
Thursday, 19 June 2008
New fronts for animal liberation
I am getting more convinced than ever that animal liberation is one of the western world's growing political movements and maybe the traditional political parties are beginning to grasp its significance. Demonstrations over the mulesing of sheep and the transportation of live sheep to the Middle East are now regular occurrences in Australia and passions were stirred in Canberra recently over the killing of kangaroos on Defence Department land.
For the politicians these are difficult issues because of the economic cost to farmers of changing livestock handling practices but they're not going away. This morning sees the Victorian Racing Minister Robert Hulls feeling sufficient pressure to write to the Racing Victoria noting, reports The Australian, "the current public debate about the future of jumps racing in Victoria" and demanding an "urgent update" on safety measures. The calls for Victoria to abandon jumps racing as every other state has now done were renewed after last Saturday's fatality at Sandown, when Crying Storm jumped the hurdle near the finishing post only to shatter a leg on landing.
The RSPCA is leading the lobbying on the issue. Racing Victoria should perhaps be thankful that the ban is being sought just for races over hurdles and steeplechase fences. In the United States the critics are calling for dramatic changes to racing on the flat as well after horses broke their leg in major races.
And in Massachusetts the Committee to Protect Dogs this week submitted 45,000 signatures to local election officials to put banning dog racing on the November ballot. Animal cruelty is also stirring passions in Britain where, with fox hunting now banned, animal liberationists are turning their attention to intensive farming of pigs. The Independent newspaper is proving a staunch ally with a major report this week on Government vets launching an investigation into
Britain's pig farming industry after disturbing images showing dead and diseased animals were passed to the paper.
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