Drawing the line on 'humane' treatment

HAVING expressed a rare opinion on live exports recently, I was intrigued to read some of the internet blogging and cyber comments accompanying my piece.

Most comments seemed to be from people who felt that ending Australian live exports to Indonesia wasn’t really the solution to the problems raised by the Animals Australia footage aired on ABC television.

But what interested me most was how several opportunists seized on my Kelpie example in relation to the issue.

Just to refresh memory, the example was raised in the context of asking a valid question about the associated legal and moral jurisdiction of the animals seen being cruelly brutalised in the Four Corners footage - Australia or Indonesia?

I said, “At what point does the moral microscope no longer view them as being under our obligation and moral code” and “given that overarching question, we need to understand and define exactly where our moral and legal obligations start and end in a foreign country, where we have no real legal jurisdiction”.

My example was - If an Australian farmer sells his Kelpie, can they demand the new owner walks it nightly and has an easy work schedule, where the dog only chases sheep for three hours a day, instead of six, because of ageing hamstrings?

After all, dogs are supposedly man’s best friend but remember they don’t end up on family dining tables and nor do humans for that matter.

So my new question is, where do draw the line in understanding what is and isn’t humane treatment of animals.

Of particular intrigue for me was the blogger, “amy”, who took the example in my opinion piece and raised it at the foot of another related story about the industry’s new strategic solutions.

“But I would like to think if he found out the new owner was neglecting or cruel to that animal he wouldn’t be selling them another one,” said amy online.

I was so sad and distressed that amy ignored so much more of my work and selected the part she like the most, I thought I’d write back to express my discontent.

It was a good point, amy, and very true.

But what would happen if the owner’s livelihood depended on the selling decision and also that of the person it was being sold to.

But amy, whoever you are, wherever you are, please don’t stop blogging and expressing your views because after all, freedom of speech is as iconic to Australians as our farmers.

But what hurts me the most, amy, is how you ignored the vast majority of my article and only paid attention to the parts that suited your agenda to end live exports.

Would you sell your Kelpie knowing it was going to get treated inhumanely? Of course not!

But would you base your decision to sell that animal on a lop-sided document that mostly showed Kelpie’s being mistreated and largely ignored the hefty weight of evidence showing genuine work being done to improve animal welfare standards in that proposed market, while neglecting to tell the good stories with balance and accuracy, taking into consideration the cultural and economic differences, in context?

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Michelle Holmden
14/09/2011 5:56:35 AM

Thanks Colin. Some sense in a heated debate.
Tell the truth!
14/09/2011 6:48:46 AM

Sorry you cant ignore inhumane treatment by saying that sometimes it doesnt appear to happen therefore we should continue. Thousands aof animals suffer immeasureably..totallt unacceptable. You lot come up with any excuse to defend cruelty for proift. Your article is drivel.
Disgusting cruel AU industry
14/09/2011 6:52:18 AM

The headline tells all. The industry is cruel..no excuses.
Article is a load of tosh
14/09/2011 7:02:52 AM

The ignorant greedy and arrogant have spoken in this piece. The integrity of Australia is in taters. Human decency is irrelevant. Profit is the master.
Live export is cruel
14/09/2011 7:15:48 AM

Think you should keep your 'rare' opinion to yourself. Perhaps to assist you with understanding the inherant cruelty which defines this vile inhumane and shameful trade you should visist liveexportshame.com or animalsaustralia.org website. Get a grip man...there is NO humane treatment in live export.
14/09/2011 7:19:11 AM

If these humane groups were fair dinkum than every pet shop in the country would be closed down. Who checks to make sure when I buy gold fish from the pet shop that the tank I intend to put them in is an appropriate size and the water has been prepared appropriately so the fish doesn't die a slow painful death over the following week. No one gives a rats because it isn;t newsworthy but are gold fish less important than cattle or sheep. The duplicity being displayed by animal rights groups is pathetic.
14/09/2011 8:11:47 AM

Interesting comment Mike It seems that fish don't rate too highly on the newsworthy scale. When one sees a gormless cretin reeling in a Black Marlin only to release it back to the water so some other idiot can hook it and put it through tremendous pain again with a piece of steel imbedded in its mouth. At least we eat the farm animals killed stunned or not.
14/09/2011 12:00:35 PM

This is a very one sided arguement: the biggest point here is that the reason these animals are being treated like this (allegedly) is for the own personal gain of people, whether it be financial, pleasure etc. Think about it from a different perspective: Why did the government make a snap decision to stop live trade? For its own personal gain. Because of its position, the external pressure and power in the eyes of the public. But this decision is "inhumane treatment" of our farmers and their livelihood. The pain and suffering of these fathers is going unnoticed and is disgusting!
Get Real
14/09/2011 12:09:40 PM

Colin, can you please show us where, ''genuine work being done to improve animal welfare standards'', in the live export industry is? Good luck!
14/09/2011 4:07:16 PM

Eh Get Real didn't you read my post that pointed out that they are up to mark 4 in restraint boxes. How long do you think it took them to go through developing, building and evaluating marks 1,2,and 3? Your title might well apply to you, get real
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Canberra CommentFairfax Agricultural Media Canberra correspondent Colin Bettles tackles the big national rural and agricultural issues which will impact regional and rural Australians.


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