2023 Policy Initiative - Reining in animal exploitation

Ending animal abuse for entertainment and gambling profits

Exploiting animals for entertainment and gambling profits is cruel and archaic, and we know that when animal entertainment industries are allowed to flourish, animal welfare never wins out. The Greens will put a stop to this. 

Thanks to the hard work of animal welfare advocates and activists, ‘sports’ like greyhound racing, horse racing and rodeos are wracked with cruelty scandals. From perverse performance motivators like electrocution or live baiting, to slaughter of injured and unwanted animals because it’s cheaper than rehabilitation and rehoming, these are industries that rely on cruelty to turn a profit — and it’s past time to shut them down. 

Public sentiment is turning on this cruelty. More people than ever before oppose exploitation of animals for entertainment. As of 2021 no circuses in Australia continue to use wild exotic animals — but the cruelty continues for domesticated animals forced into the gruelling life of constant transportation and exhibition in circuses and petting zoos. The Greens will close down these travelling animal shows.

THE GREENS WILL: 

  • Ban all animal racing and establish a transition program for industry workers and impacted communities
  • Implement urgent welfare reforms while working towards greyhound and horse racing shutdown
  • Close down travelling animal shows like circuses and petting zoos, and support sanctuaries to offer education programs
  • Shut down rodeos and rehome animals trapped in the industry

ENDING ANIMAL RACING

Animal racing is a cruel exercise in betting on the lives of sentient beings. Whether it’s greyhounds, horses or camels, it’s past time to shut animal racing down. 

We know that the racing industry perpetrates outrageous cruelty on animals in the name of profit. Animals made to race are often trained or made to run faster using cruel tactics like electrocution, doping and live baiting. Outside of races and training they are routinely denied engagement and enrichment and, when the racing industry has no further use for them, they are discarded into knackeries or mass graves.

That’s not to mention the inherent danger to animals in forcing them to race. On average, ten greyhounds are injured on NSW race tracks every day. 55 thoroughbred horses and 59 greyhounds were killed trackside by the racing and gambling industry in NSW and the ACT in 2022 alone.,

There is no place for the cruelty of animal racing. 

The public agrees — recent polling found that the majority of people agree that animals should not be raced for gambling and entertainment. 

The Greens will ban all animal racing, and establish a transition program to reskill industry workers and support them to find new jobs, resource impacted communities and repurpose racetracks for community benefit and, most importantly, rehabilitate and rehome all affected animals. 

While we are working towards the complete shutdown of horse racing, we will also:

  • Establish independent oversight of thoroughbred and harness racing industries to ensure the best possible welfare outcomes.
  • Ban the use of whips, spurs and tongue ties, and crack down on the use of jiggers.
  • Make it illegal to discard a horse at a knackery, abattoir or live meat market.
  • Establish industry-funded rehoming pathways and sanctuaries. 
  • Register and track all horses owned, bred or kept by industry participants.

While we are working towards the complete shutdown of greyhound racing, we will also:

  • Adequately fund the independent regulator (the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission).
  • Ban commercial export of greyhounds.
  • Prevent the industry building new curved race tracks.
  • Introduce breeding caps.
  • Track greyhounds for their whole life.
  • Ban surgical artificial insemination.

Find our gambling policy at greens.org.au/nsw/platform

WELFARE-FOCUSED EDUCATION NOT TRAVELLING ANIMAL SHOWS 

Animal circuses and petting zoos exploit for profit the interest people have in animals, with the reality of these industries being far from the shiny exterior they show the public. The Greens will close down these travelling animal shows. 

Animals in the circus and petting zoo industries live a life of constant travel, with transport cages much smaller than the space these animals need, resulting in severe psychological welfare issues. In petting zoos, this is compounded by the fact that animals are often young and are separated from their mother. 

In circuses, there is no requirement for animals to exercise in any way other than performing and training, meaning there is no obligation on the industry to allow animals to play or engage in natural behaviours. 

In petting zoos, animals spend hours in small enclosures with other animals they would not naturally cohabitate with and are often unable to find shelter from young and excited visitors, resulting in extreme stress. Additionally, petting zoo animals often develop nutritional problems from poor and unvaried diets as they consume high quantities of low-quality feed from visitors. 

Both the circus and petting zoo industries are obliged to comply with a Code of Practice but, despite this, welfare outcomes remain unacceptably poor. It’s clear that animals cannot have a high quality of life while living on the road and being forced to entertain people. 

The Greens will phase out the use of animals in travelling attractions like circuses and petting zoos, and will instead support welfare-oriented sanctuaries to teach children about animals in a compassionate way, with grants to support establishing ethical education facilities on site.

RODEOS HAVE GOT TO GO

Rodeos are the height of animal cruelty posing as entertainment — torturing sentient beings with the express purpose of making them respond to fear and pain, and then making a show out of trying to dominate the terrified animal. 

From bull- and bronco-riding, calf roping and steer wrestling during the event, to the inhumane transport and breeding practices, and the physical abuse like electric shock, twisted tails and fingers up their noses to rile the animals up before they are sent into the ring, every part of a rodeo is cruel. 

In addition to the extraordinary pain and stress inflicted on them, animals frequently sustain serious injuries during the event which, if not fatal, will often lead to them being killed or discarded at slaughterhouses. 

The rodeo industry is entirely self-governed, with no independent oversight nor a requirement to report injury or death statistics. As a result, we don’t know exactly how many animals are tortured and killed in rodeos in the name of entertainment. 

Much of what the rodeo industry does would be considered illegal animal cruelty in every other context. The Greens will fight to see the cruelty exemptions currently in our laws struck out and the rodeo industry immediately shut down, with rehoming pathways established for animals currently trapped in the industry. 

HOW THE GREENS HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR ANIMALS

In the last parliament, it was the Greens who:

  • Led the way in overhauling the legislative framework of animal welfare in this state, by introducing two Bills to:
    • Establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare
    • Legally recognise animal sentience and establish a responsibility to provide animals with opportunities to experience comfort, interest and pleasure
  • Held the government to account on greyhound racing, by:
    • Introducing a Bill to require greyhounds to be tracked from birth to death
    • Interrogating the industry in the Parliamentary inquiry into the regulation of greyhound racing
  • Stood up for koalas by introducing two Bills to: 
    • Establish the Great Koala Protected Area 
    • End logging of koala habitat 
  • Participated in Parliamentary inquiries into:
    • Battery cages for hens
    • Koala populations and habitat
    • Enforcement of animal cruelty laws
    • Kangaroo health and wellbeing
    • Puppy farming
    • Animal welfare policy
    • Use of animals in medical testing

References:

FIND ALL OUR POLICIES:  GREENS.ORG.AU/NSW/PLATFORM

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