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Greens unequivocally stand for rights of whisteblowers exposing animal cruelty

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 12 Feb 2015

The Greens will be working closely with animal welfare groups to ensure Liberal Senator Chris Back's bill to prosecute whistleblowers and investigators who expose animal cruelty is not passed.

Greens spokesperson for animal welfare Senator Lee Rhiannon said: "Senator Back and his Liberal and National party colleagues should be addressing animal welfare concerns in factory farming instead of persecuting whistleblowers trying to stop animal abuses.

"The reframing of whistleblowers' actions as ‘criminal' by Senator Back deliberately diverts attention from the exposed perpetrators of animal cruelty. Good animal husbandry practices do not invite the need for whistle blowers.

"This bill is straight out of the US Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and poses a serious threat to animal welfare in Australia.

" It reverses the onus of proof so an offending animal factory can prosecute an investigator of property or economic damage, or causing ‘fear of' intimidation without that business owner required to provide one iota of supporting evidence.

"The bill introduces a threat of 20 year prison sentences for whistleblowers that can be imposed on the strength of evidence-less accusations by the animal enterprise.

"Despite the words ‘animal protection' in its title, this bill does not once refer to the prosecution of cruel animal enterprises.

"Instead it seeks to criminalise the expose' of animal cruelty and neglect, ensuring such cruelty remains hidden behind the closed doors of the factory farm with the blessing of the government that should be prosecuting their practices.

"Undercover investigators and whistleblowing employers are vital to exposing serious abuse of animals which in many cases leads to prosecutions.

"I will be speaking to my colleagues in Labor and the cross bench to ensure that the rights of whisteblowers and investigators who expose animal cruelty are protected. This Ag-gag bill does not belong in 21st century Australia.

Contact Brami Jegan 0487 350 880

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