Vote 1 – Kindness
While September 7th 2013 stands as an important date on our political landscape with Australians going to the polls to determine which party will govern our fair country, many do not realise that we are already voting, each and every day of our lives.
It may not quite be a vote cast at a ballot box; this vote requires no polling booth nor pen and paper. Rather, it is votes we cast at the supermarket, at the dinner table, at the clothing store and in just about every facet of our lives that really add up.
In fact every time we elect to one thing we are electing not to do something else. Many people do not realise that through our daily choices, we are casting votes for the type of society in which we wish to live. Most importantly for animals, we are casting votes that determine the way they will live (and die).
Who would have thought that the simple act of choosing bacon and eggs for breakfast could condemn a gentle, inquisitive hen to a short and impoverished life inside of a small cage, that as a result, a tiny fluffy rooster chick would be killed at less than 24 hours of age and an intelligent pig would have his life cut short, never having tasted freedom, smelled fresh air or seen the sunshine?
And who would have thought a glass of milk would cause a tiny baby calf to be forcibly taken from its loving mother only hours after birth so its mother’s milk (milk that nature intended for the baby calf) could be harvested for human consumption?
This writer sincerely doubts that many decent, right thinking humans ever see or even consider the reality of the votes their dietary choices cast, yet these same folk would never knowingly support violence nor would they choose to harm another living creature.
Perhaps the most compelling reason we have to consider just why we make the choices we do is that we truly can lead happy and healthy lives without causing harm to others; in fact never before in history has it been easier easy to do.
What society needs right now is a quantum shift in the conscience of each and every individual to marry their ethics with their actions, or rather, their votes. And as we do this on September 7th, those who care about animals may wish to consider just what the major political parties’ stance is on the topical area of live animal exports.
Thanks to our friends at Animals Australia, we are able to provide a brief run down:
- The Coalition: Opposes ending live export. Committed to keeping live export rules in place but also to reducing ‘red tape’ for exporters. According to spokesperson on Agriculture John Cobb, the Coalition is opposed to an Independent Office of Animal Welfare. The Coalition has also vowed to apologise to Indonesia for the 2011 suspension of cattle exports.
- The Australian Labor Party: Opposes ending live export. Committed to continuing live export regulation and establishing an Inspector-General of Animal Welfare & Live Animal Exports to add an additional layer of oversight. Party policy supports an Independent Office of Animal Welfare.
- The Australian Greens: Supports an end to live export and the establishment of an Independent Office of Animal Welfare. This is a position shared by Independent Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie and The Animal Justice Party which is running candidates for the first time this election in the Senate.
And to drive the message even further home on behalf of our animal friends, please contact your prospective candidates (we are sure they will have let you know who they are by now, if not just check your letter box!) and let them know that animal welfare matters to you. Pick three key areas that are important to you and ask them to give you their position.
Not sure what to ask? Here are some ideas; live export, independent office of animal welfare (much needed as the current situation sees a conflict of interest with farm animal welfare being overseen by those representing the farming sector), the consumption of kangaroo meat, hunting in public parks, animal testing/experimentation, factory farming.
Our friends at Animals Australia have also prepared an extensive run down of where the major political parties stand on a range of animal welfare issues. You can find details here.
So who should you vote for? Don’t ask me, ask your conscience.