DawnWatch: IHT says Australian govt will change law to fight activists — plus Coetzee op-ed 2/26/07

February 26th, 2007 8:47 pm by Kelly Garbato

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From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Feb 26, 2007 6:38 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: IHT says Australian govt will change law to fight activists — plus Coetzee op-ed 2/26/07

In the US we have seen animal enterprise lobbies persuade lawmakers to rewrite law in order to punish animal rights activists, most notably with the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which includes language that threatens peaceful and legitimate forms of protest such as effective boycotts.

This week we see similarly troubling news from Australia. The International Herald Tribune website, February 26, includes an article headed, “Australia to help sheep farmers sue over wool boycotts.”

It opens:

“The government plans to change federal law to help sheep farmers sue for damages over an animal rights group’s peaceful campaign to prevent the sale of Australian wool, a government minister said Monday.

“People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, are lobbying clothing chains and fashion houses to stop using Australian wool because they claim the sheep are subjected to cruelty.

“The U.S.-based group is opposed to mulesing — the slicing away without anesthetic of folds of skin from a merino sheep’s rump to prevent maggot infestations.

“The practice is widespread in Australia, where farmers argue millions of sheep would otherwise die.”

PETA naturally argues that the use of anesthetic would not kill the sheep, and that methods other than mulesing are available to control the infestations — the use of pesticides, for example.

We learn, “Under the current law, individual farmers have the option of suing PETA under federal commercial law for any losses and that the Treasurer hopes “to change the law so that the federal competition watchdog — Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, also known as ACCC — could take legal action against PETA on behalf of a group of sheep farmers.”

We read that Sen. Bob Brown, leader of the Greens minor opposition party, has expressed concern that “Taxpayers could end up paying the legal bills for companies acting in an ethically questionable manner.”

You’ll find the whole article on line here.

You can send a letter to editor at letters [at] iht.com, up to 150 words at most.

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Please be sure not to use any comments or phrases from me or from any other alerts in your letters — it is counterproductive as editors are looking for original responses from their readers and do not wish to publish campaign letters.

Also from Australia — 2003 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, JM Coetzee, gave a speech in Sydney on February 22, an extract of which appeared on the website for The Age. Here are the opening paragraphs:

“To any thinking person, it must be obvious that there is something badly wrong in relations between human beings and the animals that human beings rely on for food; and that in the past 100 or 150 years whatever is wrong has become wrong on a huge scale, as traditional animal husbandry has been turned into an industry using industrial methods of production.

“There are many other ways in which our relations to animals are wrong (to name two: the fur trade, experimentation on animals in laboratories), but the food industry, which turns living animals into what it euphemistically calls animal products – animal products and animal byproducts – dwarfs all others in the number of individual animal lives it affects.”

You’ll find the whole piece on line at http://tinyurl.com/29h8aq.
Enjoy!

Yours and the animals’,
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited — leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which you enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)

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