CONSUMERS have the power to stop cruel factory farming, Animals Australia says.In Adelaide last night for a sold-out event at the Town Hall, campaign director Lyn White announced plans for her biggest and most ambitious campaign yet, AdelaideNow reports.
Following last year's successful campaign against the live export trade, which began with a powerful expose on ABC TV, Australians can expect to hear more from the lobby group.
"What last year showed us, after (ABC program) Four Corners, was that Australians in the vast majority are appalled by animal cruelty and won't knowingly support it," Ms White said.
"So we have high hopes that when we highlight some of the welfare issues in intense production systems that consumers will vote with their choices at the supermarket."
Consumers can make informed choices, supporting ethical producers while avoiding products from those who put profit before animal well-being.
The focus is on laying hens, chickens raised for meat and pigs.
Animals Australia says:
DESPITE the battery cage's being banned through the European Union on the basis of unacceptable cruelty, 12 million egg-laying hens remain confined to battery cages in Australia.
BRED to grow at three times their natural rate and buckling under their own weight, 20 million meat chickens die in factory farms each year.
MORE than 200,000 sows are kept in tiny crates for their entire four-month pregnancy, only to be moved to even smaller crates when piglets are weaned.
SURGICAL procedures such as tail-docking, tooth-cutting, castration, dehorning and debeaking are performed on farm animals, without pain relief.
Australia was falling behind the rest of the Western world on animal welfare because there is a conflict of interest in having the issue sit within the agriculture portfolio, Ms White said.
She said farm production animals were denied many of the legal protections afforded to companion animals, simply because commercial interests are put ahead of the interests of the animal.
This discrimination doesn't make sense given all animals, whether considered friends or food, have the same capacity to suffer.
South Australian Farmers' Federation president Peter White said standards had improved in recent years, in line with community expectations, but there was a limit to what could be done at the farmers' expense.
"If producers can't make money out of growing food they won't do it," he said.
"It depends on the public.
"If they demand a certain level (of animal welfare) they have to be prepared to pay for it, because it will cost extra."
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