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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Will from Bordertown
14/09/2011 5:35:11 PM

Never concede a point to the Barbiworlders Colin, they are the front line freaks of La-La land
Hypocritical farm industry
14/09/2011 11:44:45 PM

Animals Australia and ABC didnt have to pay for footage- Indonesia like most of Asia are routinely cruel to animals- why pay when it comes for free. And Jess blame yourselves for the inhumane treatment of our animals. YOU send them there!
15/09/2011 4:48:11 AM

"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." The human slave traders also faced economic hardships when their "business" was banned. Is anyone really saying we should continue an immoral/unethical practice because of the potential loss of money??? On drawing the line - I have to ask... Is there anything that some WON'T do for the love of cold, hard, blood-stained cash? Sociopaths in drag as businessmen!
Live export stinks
15/09/2011 11:47:18 AM

How anyone can even try to justify live exports is beyond me. Live export is all about greed. Pathetic.
Get Real
15/09/2011 12:49:53 PM

Hmmm daw, maybe that's because the previous boxes where found to be cruel and didn't even comply with international standards. They were found to only assist in the torture of our cattle overseas, go figure.
15/09/2011 4:38:31 PM

hey farmers, looks like some special interest group is running a campaign against you. Just want to let you know, I eat meat, I love it, don't care how it gets on my plate. Keep on growing it, keep on selling it, pay no mind to these critics - I don't see them out there setting the mark, none of them are buying farms to show you how it should be done. They're just sitting on their couches, muching on tofu and calling you guys greedy. Keep up the good work!
16/09/2011 1:40:00 PM

Our cattle? OUR animals?? Pardon me, I think they are, in reality, Indonesia's cattle. How on earth can you vegan mob lay claim to any part of these animals? If you care sooo much, are you out helping us when we're battling to keep them alive, carting feed & water? Are you ready to help pull them out of bogs, or put down the gutted & crippled following dingo attacks? How about when eagles & foxes & pigs are eating little lambs alive? Nope, because you wouldn't even know what a cow or sheep smells like, just a bunch of shiney-bums pontificating with no knowledge whatsoever. Agree with you rod.
16/09/2011 10:08:21 PM

Dear Faux outrage 'activist', have you ever raised your voice in anger or frustration at your wife or boyfriend or child. Come on , you know you have. If I walked into your house at that minute and filmed this does this make you a serial abuser? In fact, does this make everybody in your cosy suburb an abuser ? Should the government intervene and remove all partners and children from your suburb to a safe house. Get a grip you tossers, start minding your own business, try finding something real to be outraged about. farming in general is alive and well but no place for sissies. Go away.
17/09/2011 9:15:18 AM

Getting a bit sick of being told of the daily dramas of life on the farm -- saving all types of live stock from pain and suffering --this always sounds a bit hypocritical-- when it comes from those who so proudly support the trade of Australian live stock. These animals are exported in to some of most uncaring places in the world. Live export will never be humane and if farmers care for animals they should not sell them into cruelty.
17/09/2011 5:54:57 PM

The people on the respective boards should be sacked as they don't have the integrity to do what most farmers would expect then to do and that is ensure that these animals have a relatively "easy end of days".
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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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