In an interesting opinion piece, Dr Malcolm Caulfield analyses a recent attack by Mick Keogh of the Australian Farm Institute on the animal welfare group Animals Australia.
Dr Caulfield points out that Mr Keogh's comment that the “whole of life” responsibility for animals does not apply to livestock or animals traded between individuals in Australia (as a defence for live export) misses the point. In every Australian jurisdiction there are sophisticated animal welfare laws which impose considerable responsibilities on owners and those in charge of animals. It doesn’t matter whether the animals have been “traded” or not when the animals are in Australia, it is still illegal to treat them badly. The Australian public does not like cruelty to Australian animals, no matter where they are, thus the argument ultimately reflects very poorly on farmers in the public's eyes. In addition, the "inflammatory, defamatory, country versus city rhetoric" is also likely to alienate the Australian public, many of whom are consumers of Australian meat.
As Dr Caulfield suggests, it is time for constructive comments all round...ie lets look for a win win win solution (win for farmers, win for animal welfare groups and most importantly, a win for the animals in question).