Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Attorneys in Australia Form Group to Provide Pro-Bono Representation of Protesters, Animal Welfare Groups and the RSPCA

Excellent move. In this day of the growth of government and it’s ability to trample on free speech rights, the time will come when it will hit Australia. This takes courage and will have positive actions.

In particular, the group mentioned that it “…it plans to take on cases involving the live export of animals and the whaling industry.”

The issue of the live export of animals from Australia and the horrendous cruelty involved can be read about at:
http://geari.blogspot.com/2006/11/australia-live-
animal-exports-again.html



Article:


Lawyers back animal rights protesters

http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2006/s1794482.htm

AM - Wednesday, 22 November , 2006 08:16:00
Reporter: Josie Taylor

TONY EASTLEY: In Victoria, 60 barristers have formed a high-powered panel to act pro-bono representing protesters, animal welfare groups and the RSPCA. The group says it plans to take on cases involving the live export of animals and the whaling industry.
In Melbourne, Josie Taylor reports.

JOSIE TAYLOR: Supported by three Supreme Court judges, the group of lawyers says current animal protection laws are in fact letting animals down.

Group representative, Barrister Graeme McEwen

GRAEME MCEWEN: The animal protection statute in Victoria is not largely enforced, and that we believe is contrary to the public interest. And second, occasionally there are public interest matters in courts, which require counsel to argue them. And we believe that we can best do this if we assist the litigants by acting on a pro bono basis, and with experienced counsel.

JOSIE TAYLOR: What is wrong with statute at the moment?

GRAEME MCEWEN: Well, the state statute proscribes cruelty offences, but provides a series of defences to prosecutions or exemptions from prosecution if a person complies with what's called a code of practice. A code of practice effectively favours producer interest over animal welfare where there's a conflict. And thus these codes act to subvert the protective reach of the statute.

JOSIE TAYLOR: Can you give an example of that?

GRAEME MCEWEN: Just say with the domestic poultry code, the space allowances for hens, less than an A4 size sheet of paper. So, their plight simply goes unacknowledged.

If you have millions of battery hens each year, sows confined in intensive breeding establishments, broilers, whatever it may be, we are talking about millions upon millions of animals that have no protective breach of the statute in effect.

JOSIE TAYLOR: Graeme McEwen says the RSPCA is under funded and can't cope with the often complex prosecutions of animal welfare cases. He says the newly formed group will pursue cases involving the live export industry and whaling, as well as primary industry.

GRAEME MCEWEN: The quantity of suffering, if I could term it that way, is enormous. If you have, for example, 13 or 14 million battery hens each year, and if you have 350,000 sows kept in intensive breeding units, they're just a sample. It is a serious question in terms of the amount of suffering, and it would be wrong of us to believe that suffering ends at the borders of human experience. Otherwise why have an animal protection statute?

JOSIE TAYLOR: The Victorian caretaker government says it recently tripled funding for the RSPCA, and that governments around Australia have agreed to change from voluntary codes of practice in animal husbandry to enforceable national standards.

But president of the RSPCA, Hugh Wirth, agrees with the lawyers that further reform is needed.

HUGH WIRTH: The laws in Australia, whilst they're better than in Britain, still need to be dealt with particularly in areas such as the concept of duty of care. That's one major issue that needs to be addressed, but there are many others.

JOSIE TAYLOR: The Melbourne-based group of lawyers wants bar councils around Australia to follow its lead and form similar groups in other states and territories.

TONY EASTLEY: In Melbourne, Josie Taylor reporting there. And the National Farmers' Federation was unavailable for comment.

No comments:

Search for More Content

Custom Search
Bookmark and Share

Past Articles