Des Bellamy – Special Projects Coordinator PETA Australia, Byron Bay
The government has announced it will throw another billion dollars of taxpayer cash at rural communities suffering the effects of the latest drought. Farmers and regional townspeople will receive short-term benefits, but the starving cattle and sheep we see so often on the news will get only more suffering.
A 600kg cow wants to eat 65kg of grass every day. The news footage from the bush, however, continually shows dry, cracked earth, devoid of any greenery. Yet still the graziers insist on breeding more animals to die of starvation or to drown when the rains come (as did half a million cattle in North Queensland in February), or to be trucked hundreds or even thousands of kilometres to a brutal and terrifying death in a slaughterhouse.
Climate change is making this dry continent hotter and drier. The National Farmers’ Federation has called on the government to consider ‘exit packages’ for farmers to help them quit a failing industry. Alternative schemes could be offered to build wind farms or solar energy plants, which would be ideal on these arid plains.
Einstein pointed out that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. This is worse – the industry keeps trying to breed more animals in unspeakable conditions to sell to a market that is increasingly turning away from meat.
Let’s choose a better path. Encourage farmers to get out of industries that cause massive suffering as well as widespread environmental damage.