With the general election looming, many of us are wondering how to cast our votes in a way that reflects and benefits our lifestyles. So does being vegan affect who you will choose to elect? Perhaps unsurprisingly it’s not that easy to find out where the major parties stand on animal rights. But we’ve had a go and here are the results.
Animal Justice Party
Let’s start with the easy one. The Animal Justice Party was formed to focus public attention and bring about change in the way humans treat other animal species. The party believes that animal justice needs to move from the margins of human interest to the mainstream if we are all to benefit. As part of this, it pro-actively supports a move to a plant-based diet to prevent animal suffering, improve human health, reduces world hunger, replenish the damaged environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Note: You don’t have to be a vegan to join the party.
The Australian Greens
The Greens state that “animals must be recognised as sentient beings that deserve our care and respect”. Under this principle are 30 aims that you can see here. Highlights include: an end to unnecessary use of animals for research purposes; an end to the export of live animals; an end to inhumane farming practices; the abolition of the inhumane use of animals for sport, recreation or entertainment (including jumps racing and greyhound racing); an end to the production and testing of consumer items, including cosmetics and fur; and a ban on recreational shooting of all animals.
The Australian Labor Party (ALP)
The ALP has stated that it is in the business of “raising the bar on animal welfare” and has a six-point plan to achieve this. They’ve pledged that a Shorten Labor government will:
1. Establish an independent Office of Animal Welfare to provide advice on animal welfare issues, including kangaroo culling, puppy farms and commercial breeding.
2. Establish an independent Inspector-General of Animal Welfare
who will advise on the protection of animals and report on issues such as live exports. (On that note, Labor has committed to stop the northern summer sheep trade and phase out all live sheep exports over time. However, shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said earlier this year that “the Labor party supports the live cattle trade, unequivocally”.)
3. Renew the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy.
4. Review the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System.
5. Provide more transparency and accountability with quarterly reports on breaches of animal welfare standards.
6. Ban animal testing for cosmetics.
The Liberal Party of Australia and The National Party of Australia Coalition
Neither the Liberals nor the Nationals seem to have any published campaign position on animal welfare, or not anything that’s easy to find. An email to the enquiry line went unanswered at time of publication. If we do get a response we’ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, the Coalition has publicly pledged to make animal welfare codes of practice mandatory, with the focus on domestic pets in the first term of Government. On three key issues, though – establishing an independent office of animal welfare, banning the commercial killing kangaroos, and banning live animal exports – they are non-supportive. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has said that while observers on live export boats will be money well spent, “This government will never ban the export of live animals to any nation in this world.”