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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READER COMMENTS

a GRAZIER
21/09/2011 11:40:42 AM

Barker, if you have no knowledge, & no interest in gaining that knowledge, of the day to day running of livestock, from people who are most familiar with them, what the heck gives you & other ignoramuses the right to tell us how to run our animals? Such big-headedness is typical of a small minority group who indeed think all normal people should change to their vegan lifestyle.
Nicky
21/09/2011 2:32:40 PM

The divide of humaneness is real. Farmed animals have no protection from the outrageous greed of farmers who care nothing about the torture of the animals they send off on old rustbuckets to be so egregiously abused. Grazier, you have no credibility, nor does the author of this drivel. Everyone knows that in every country to which these hapless animals are sent, they will be tortured. Don't expect sympathy from us, you are despicable. And BTW, we believe that no pet shop should be sellinng living creatures with no care about what happens to them. No-one's livelihood should depend on cruelty.
Tonytwotimbers
22/09/2011 6:12:47 PM

The Farmers don't want your sympathy they just want to tell there side of the story but Democratic dialog is above your level of partisanship on this subject. The story is about when does irresponsibility begin when you sell something weather it is animal, vegetable,or mineral are you liable for what is done with it after the point of sale. Also to the broadminded impaired blogger, who uses all those alias to distort this subject by appearing like a majority! You can't stand the truth as you seem to be wearing blinkers. Don't veges bleed and scream. If a tree falls in a forest scenario.
a GRAZIER
22/09/2011 10:06:01 PM

Aren't you a little charmer Nicky. As a member of a small minority group that lies to & misleads the public, I'd say you are lacking credibility. I don't export livestock, & I'm certainly not looking for sympathy. for any reason. I do support live export because it is an important industry to Northern Australia, not perfect, nothing is, but we can work towards improvement, & do so. Claims that all the stock are treated as in the dubious videos are untrue, most are handled much as they are in Aus.
Bagheera
23/09/2011 12:14:15 PM

So a blogger named Amy hurt your feelings? Well considering how often you've insulted your readers' intelligence with your opinion pieces, we might consider ourselves somewhat revenged. Firstly, the kelpie paradigm is irrelevant, the animal has been purchased to work and the owner has a vested interest in its welfare. Cattle are there to be slaughtered, and it behoves exporters to Third World countries to stipulate humane conditions for transport and slaughter. Keep your opinions to yourself and stick to factual reporting.
Cattle Carnage
24/09/2011 5:24:31 PM

To not supply a person who has proven to be cruel to the animals they purchase, the seller walks away with a clear conscience, knowing they've done the right thing by the animal. There will always be another buyer who is prepared to treat that animal with respect. Personally I would hold out for the ethical buyer rather than make a quick buck at the expense of the animal. Most people would rather walk away from a transaction with a clear conscience. However, not everyone puts the welfare of their animals over and above making a $, which, sadly, is a reflection of their own character.
a GRAZIER
27/09/2011 2:07:22 PM

I'm all for stopping supply to those who do treat animals with abject cruelty, as opposed to out of ignorance, but see no reason to close down a whole big industry because of a few who might do the wrong thing. Especially when this information is supplied by a group of fanatics with a sinister agenda.
Barker
27/09/2011 6:35:38 PM

You have no credibility, did you not see enough abject cruelty in those barbaric slaughter houses of Indonesia? Yet you are still willing to support an industry that is responsible for the most shameful animal abuse one could ever see. Actually I find it hard to believe that any decent farmer would condone this cruel treatment of animals. No more excuses please.
a GRAZIER
28/09/2011 9:59:52 AM

And you, Barker, with your dogged narrow-mindedness, would be amongst the most sinister of the fanatics. I don't believe for a minute all the crap dished out by dodgy vegan groups, intent on misleading the gullible.
Barker
28/09/2011 3:13:59 PM

I don't mind being narrow-minded and sinister, at least I can hold my head up and be happy that I'm not contributing to all the cruelty of the live export trade. My life style does not depend on animal cruelty.
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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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