Senate report: Coalition backs Ag-Gag bill designed to shut down exposure of animal cruelty
Tony Abbott's Liberal-National government has thrown its weight behind Senator Chris Back's bill to prosecute whistle blowers and investigators who expose animal cruelty, said Greens spokesperson for animal welfare Senator Lee Rhiannon.
The six member Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport, which has three Government Senators has recommended Senator Back's Criminal Code Amendment (Animal Protection) Bill be passed with a minor change.
"The Australian Greens' dissenting report which will be tabled in the Senate today, recommends that this bill, which criminalises investigators while turning a blind eye to the perpetrators of that cruelty, should be rejected in its entirety," said Senator Rhiannon.
"The Criminal Code Amendment (Animal Protection) Bill 2015 introduced by Liberal Senator Chris Back has been effectively endorsed by the Abbott government. The committee report reveals the government's disregard for the welfare of animals.
"The Law Council of Australia in their submission said: ‘the Bill does not target those who engage in malicious cruelty directed at animals, nor those who merely witness such conduct, but only those who make recordings of acts of cruelty'.
"The Animal Law institute in their submission said: ‘the true intention of the Bill, being to protect the profitability of animal industries, is evidenced by the inclusion of section 385.20, which increases an offence to an aggravated offence where there has been economic damage to an animal enterprise'.
"Some of the recent ground breaking investigations that have exposed cruelty to animals could not have occurred if the Back bill was passed.
"The greyhound industry across Australia would be continuing to use animals as live bait if not for the work of Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland that has shaken up the industry across the country.
"I will be speaking to my colleagues in Labor and on the crossbench to ensure that the Abbott government's cruel bill to protect industries and people that practice animal cruelty, is not passed in the Senate," Senator Rhiannon said.
Click here to read the Australian Greens' Dissenting Report