ANIMAL liberationist groups are now extremely well organised and well funded and they have taken control of the animal welfare issue.
As they fight to defend the rights of "non-human animals", these groups equate their current actions against the meat industry with the William Wilberforce 19th century campaign to end human slavery.
That curious context of humanising animals unbalances the debate, and when unbalanced views go unchallenged and get presented as fact, the public is the big loser.
Issues also get lost when we dumb the discussion down to repetitive one liners, tweets, e-chatter and the personal vilification of those holding contrary views.
Important public debates should not be conducted in this way, but sadly, this one is.
We should not lose sight of what we are on about here - we breed and raise some animals for the sole purpose of eating them as food.
Some people choose not to eat meat, that is their right; but meat and fish are human beings' biggest sources of protein.
In this country meat is a staple; we choose to raise it, eat it, sell it and export it and I wonder how many Australians would be prepared to forgo eating meat, poultry and fish to alleviate the "suffering" of the humanised animals that we raised for precisely that purpose.
Anti-meat extremists scour the world for horrible examples of animal mistreatment; they film these and publicly parade them as normal industry standards to a content hungry media.
The truth is, almost none of this cruelty takes place in this country and, no matter how well Australians treat their animals, there can never be any acceptable compromise for animal liberationists; nor will their campaign ever finish because it is the destruction of the meat trade they seek.
That is not to say that the many good people in these organisations don’t care for animals, because clearly they do. They care deeply – maybe so deeply that they have lost any real perspective on the matter.
The real perspective is provided when we look behind the cloak of animal welfare and discover the radical vegetarian and anti-meat agenda that is then revealed.
The various fact sheets presented on the liberationists websites clearly shows the unrequited desire for the end of live export of ALL animals, marine produce and poultry.
The dream of humanising animals provides cover for a set of values that, if ever adopted, would force major lifestyle changes on Australians.
Who could imagine a world where keeping a goldfish in a bowl is considered cruel? What about running a family farm being considered abuse of animals? Do we really want a world where recreational fishing is considered to be animal cruelty?
This nonsensical land where animals and humans all live happily together as vegetarian equals is where these groups want to take us. I am not at all sure it is where most Australians want to go.
Animal cruelty is a real issue and it strikes a genuine chord with Australians, there is no excuse for it, and we are dealing with it; but we should never make it harder to feed the world its life sustaining protein; nor should we change our way of life to placate this extremist agenda.
Larry Graham is a columnist and former ALP and Independent Member of Parliament.
Back to News Headlines