Factory Farming in Australia

Posted by Joyce Tischler, ALDF's Founder and General Counsel on August 4, 2010

Join ALDF Founder & General Counsel Joyce Tischler as she tours
Australia with Voiceless, the animal protection institute, for the 2010 Animal Law Lecture Series.

Last night, I delivered my first keynote address to a large and eager audience at the University of Sydney Law School. I was joined at the podium by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, the Governor of New South Wales, Dr. Melissa Perry QC, and Professor Gillian Triggs, Dean of the Law School, who graciously welcomed us all. I was introduced by Katrina Sharman, General Counsel of Voiceless.

Brian Sherman, the founder of Voiceless, is a self made multi-millionaire, who could be spending his time doing any number of pleasurable undertakings. Instead, he has chosen to champion the protection of animals and he is a passionate and eloquent spokesperson. Last evening, Brian spoke about the intensive confinement of farmed animals in Australia. The following statement by Brian is from the Voiceless web site is similar to what he shared with the audience at the law school:

“I recently visited a chicken farm in New South Wales, and I can tell you the deprivation that these animals suffer is appalling and unrelenting,” Mr. Sherman said.  

“They may lawfully be packed 20 per square metre in sheds that can hold 60,000 and that are artificially lit for up to 23 hours a day. These birds have little or no freedom to engage in natural behaviours, like foraging for food and nurturing their young, and no exposure to the outside world. Their entire existence is geared towards growing as fast as possible. Chickens can live for years, but the modern factory farm ensures they are ready for slaughter in just 35 days.” 

Voiceless goes on to tell us that:

Battery hens share a similarly miserable life of deprivation, living indoors in cages with about the size of an A4 sheet of paper each in which to move. Male layers are considered a waste product as they can’t lay eggs, so they are disposed of within days of hatching by gassing or maceration. Australia’s consumption of chicken has increased by 600% over the past 40 years. On average, more than 490 million chickens are killed annually in order to satisfy our national appetite. Chickens represent 90% of all farm animals used for food production in Australia.

As you can see from the above description, life (if one can call it living) in the factory farm is as miserable in Australia as it is in the U.S. The protection of animals is something that not only consumes Brian Sherman’s time, but is a family affair. His daughter, Ondine, is equally involved in the key work of Voiceless, as is son-in-law, Dror Ben-Ami, an animal expert who recently issued a report on the plight of kangaroos in Australia. I will report on that in future blog posts.

Later today, we move on to Canberra. Stay tuned…

Related blog posts:
Hello from Sydney, Australia
Welcome to Australia, Joyce!
The Plight of Kangaroos in Australia
Animal Law in Australia
Speaking Australian
Live Animal Exports
The Kangaroo Whisperer
Live Animal Exports – Part 2
A Visit With Kangaroos
The Future of Animal Law in Australia

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