Nancy Pearcey argues that the trans-gender movement arises from similar philosophical perspectives that are enabling environmental destruction across the globe - in essence a devaluing of nature:
REGIONAL AUSTRALIA – Greens Policy Statement
I work with wildlife carers, animal rights activists and wildlife conservationists from Australia and overseas. Recently we came across the new Greens Policy Summary booklet and on p.26 we were horrified to read:-
‘The Greens will … support green businesses which use native species.’
‘The greens will …. Offer financial incentives for sustainable farming systems and improve funding for regional natural resource management.’
The government frequently refers to the ‘sustainable harvesting of renewable resources’ meaning killing kangaroos and native animals.
We don’t have a problem with green businesses using native flora but we do have a problem with businesses using native fauna. It sounds like the Greens party supports the kangaroo and possum killing industries, or may openly do so in the future. In Tasmania the commercial possum industry almost wiped out the ring tail possum – and now they are trying to start up the brush tail possum industry for export to China.
We wrote letters to all the Greens MPs and received back a standard reply saying that basically that ‘this statement should be understood in the context of the greens animal policy which states as a key principle that ‘native animals and their habitats must be protected.’
COMMERCIALISATION OF WILDLIFE
The fact that the greens have no policy expressing opposition to the commercialisation of wildlife is a serious concern. Nor is there any ‘Animal Welfare’ heading in this Policy Summary booklet. In fact right now the Greens in Victoria are trying to lift the ban on commercial kangaroo killing. Meanwhile in the ACT there is yet another horrific government cull of thousands of kangaroos in no less than seven Nature Parks in Canberra – met by total silence from the ACT Greens. Where is the implementation of their policy ‘native animals and their habitat must be protected’?
We are guessing that the motive for introducing this policy of ‘using native species’ is to:-
(a) capture rural votes and/or
(b) replace the livestock industry with a kangaroo industry
If the Greens are trying to capture more rural votes, this is sure to backfire as every animal welfare/animal rights/environmentalist I know who currently votes Green certainly won’t continue to vote Green if this is the case. The Greens will lose more votes than they will gain. Besides there is a new party called the Animal Justice Party - http://www.animaljusticeparty.org - who probably won’t give their preferences to the Greens if they have a policy that could wipe out our national icon.
It’s impossible and unviable to replace the livestock industry with the kangaroo industry.
1. Kangaroos cannot be farmed. They are very highly strung animals. They can’t be herded, transported, or have procedures done to them. They suffer stress myopathy and die, their meat becoming rancid. They need 2m high electrified fences, which is very expensive. They need huge areas to exercise and won’t tolerate being kept intensively like livestock.
2. It’s not viable to replace beef with kangaroo meat. Kangaroos have very little edible meat. A fully grown 10 year adult (if you can find one) that weighs 60-70 kg yields only 6.9 kg of meat, 0.25 kg of which is human grade. The majority of kangaroos killed these days are only joeys 2-3 years of age, barely reproductive age, just out of the pouch, who weigh only 21 kg. Compare that with a 2 year old cow weighing 200 kg or a 6 month old lamb weighing 20 kg. To get enough kangaroo meat to replace 1,700,000 tonnes of beef the entire population of kangaroos would need to be killed 566 times over every year.
3. Kangaroos benefit the environment. If you go to www.nokangaroomeat.org you can download a report by the Canberra Sustainability and Environmental Resource Centre in which they list the many ways kangaroos bring benefit to the environment such as:
• eating dry grass that ignites easily in bush fires
• not pulling out roots so areas can regenerate quickly after fires
• having small grazing pressure, only 17-70% that of sheep (therefore more appropriate animal to control grasslands)
• not compacting soil or creating soil erosion meaning waterways are less likely to get silt which lead to woody weed species, resulting in more native flora and therefore habitat for native fauna
• regenerating native grasses – seeds fall into footprint and buried in hole left by toenail. Tail drags behind while grazing pressing ground, rolling seeds into earth.
• Their urine and faeces are natural fertilizers, not high in nitrogen like cows’ faeces which pollutes ground and surface water, causing dead zones in the oceans
• helping give resilience to the ecosystem when species lost. We are in the midst of the 6th mass extinction
Kangaroos are considered a ‘pest’ but in fact they are integral to the biodiversity of the region + help offset damage by livestock and rehabilitate the land after drought and fire.
4. The Greens need to seriously consider the health risks to the community of recommending game meat like kangaroo which is mainly eaten rare or undercooked, dried or cold-smoked because it tends to be tough. According to wildlife pathologist Dr David Obendorf, kangaroo, possum and the meat of native animals contains bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites (like Trichinosis, cysticercosis and toxoplasmosis) including nematodes that eat muscles. It’s important to remember that many of these parasites are microscopic and cannot be seen by the naked eye:- (Pass out picture here).
Recent international scientific reports say that raw game meats are potentially infectious. Russia banned kangaroo meat in August 2009 due to contamination issues (salmonella and ecoli).
A high percentage of wallabies carry toxoplasmosis, besides other wild animals, which causes abortions, infertility and death.
Over the years many people have had acute clinical disease from eating native animals. In 1995 the Womans Day reported a case where 12 people contracted toxoplasmosis from eating rare kangaroo meat one of whom was pregnant and her baby was born blind. In Tasmania a man who ate a lot of game meat contracted inexplicable muscle weakness that went on for years. A NZ tourist got similar infection after eating wallaby meat in Tasmania. In fact Tasmania has endemic trichinosis in its wildlife and 2% Tasmanians have antibodies to muscle-encysting Pseudotrichinosis.
In spite of this the Dept. in Tasmania that permits game meat industry denies any public health risk.
In the last 25 or so years, of 35 new infections in humans, 20 (57%) have been zoonotic in origin (i.e. passed from animal to human) - with devastating consequences.
5) Kangaroos are on track to extinction. The government data gathered on www.stopkangarookilling.org shows that kangaroos are being killed in areas where they are quasi-extinct (
In areas where they used to be abundant they are now becoming locally extinct. Shooters are hanging up their guns for lack of kangaroos to shoot. Because shooters have killed the biggest males the gene pool has diminished meaning the kangaroos are getting smaller – a lot smaller. From 2001-2006 kangaroo populations fell up to 70% due to the kangaroo industry and the drought yet the quota stayed high. This year it is 3.8 million (which does not include joeys numbering up to 1 million a year).
6. Negative affect on tourism. People come here to see kangaroos and are disappointed not to see them in the wild. Kangaroos are the 2nd most recognised tourist symbol. It’s an $85 billion industry compared to only $270 million to the kangaroo killing industry. Clearly kangaroos are worth more alive than dead.
7. Last but not least, there is the cruelty inherent in this industry. If people only knew how the baby kangaroos are killed they would never support this industry. According to the Code of Conduct for the Humane Killing of Kangaroos it is perfectly fine to take a baby from its dead mother’s pouch and bash it to death against a truck, take a knife and cut off its head or stomp it to death. The at pouch joey that hops away will die of starvation, cold or predation – in terror. It cannot live without its mother for the first 14-18 months. It’s a brutal industry that is unmonitored. Kangaroos are shot at night in the bush – not all are head shot. Some are shot in the neck or body, some have their face blown off and hop away to die of starvation and gangrene, their babies dying when they die. Some are still alive while they are being disembowelled.
This is the largest slaughter of land-based wildlife on the planet happening RIGHT HERE and the GREENS IS DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT! If the greens truly does care about biodiversity, why aren’t they protecting our native species i.e. kangaroos and their habitats like they protect whales? Australia desperately needs a party that will reverse the rampant biodiversity loss that is accelerating out of control.
LIVESTOCK FARMING DESTROYING ENVIRONMENT
We all know how destructive livestock farming is to the environment. According to the Worldwatch Institute, 51% greenhouse gases come from the livestock industry ( http:www.51percent.org ). Additionally, the livestock industry is one of the biggest causes of deforestation. We need forests to seed rainclouds. Forests have a massive impact on climate. The more trees we have the more they shade the ground and their roots aerate the soil. The more trees, the more habitat for biodiversity. Livestock compact the soil causing soil erosion and loss of soil ecosystems. Their waste is high in nitrogen which causes pollution of ground and surface water. The livestock industry uses more than 50% of the water used for all purposes. Did you know that it takes 4,000 glasses of water to make 1 glass of milk and 5,000 gallons of water to make l lb meat but only 25 gallons of water to make l lb wheat? An animal-based diet requires three times more fossil fuels than a plant-based diet and so on (see http://www.earthsave.org )
Given the above, I am wondering why the Greens Party does not have a policy of recommending a plant-based diet? Could the Greens be thinking that the kangaroo industry could replace the livestock industry?
If so, they need to realise that there will never be enough native animals to support or replace all the meat eaten from sheep, cows, pigs and chickens without them being driven to extinction. If every Australian ate kangaroo only once a week, we would need to kill 96 million kangaroos a year, which is 4 times more kangaroos than exist today. Clearly, not a sustainable choice for 7 billion people most of whom want to eat flesh.
AUSTRALIAN ATTITUDE TO WILDLIFE
Australia is desperately overdue for a makeover when it comes to our attitude to our iconic native animals which get a bad rap for being pests, in plague proportion, attacking cars on the road, attacking dogs etc. Because of this we have the worst record of wildlife extinctions on the planet. We are in the midst of a 6th Mass Extinction event. The government's policy of sustainable harvest of renewable resources being applied to living sentient beings with strong bonds to their young and ability to feel emotions is so wrong and there is a crying need for a party who will stand up for them. Will it be the Greens?
THE GREENEST SOLUTION – A PLANT-BASED DIET
For the Greens to potentially advocate eating native animals is going in the totally wrong direction. Einstein said “Nothing will benefit mankind or increase his chances of survival than evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
The Greens have a unique opportunity to pave the way forward for a truly sustainable future for Australia by recommending a plant-based diet. I would like to see them take a principled stand based on what is best for the environment, even at the risk of offending those businesses that currently use native animals and those who are culturally addicted to meat and dairy.
See http://www.youtube.com - ‘Food that Kills’.
STEPS TO RESOLUTION
The following are some suggestions for the Greens Party. Please write to them (addresses at end) and ask them to address these important issues right before elections in Australia:-
• Change the statement in the Greens Policy Summary to read ‘The Greens will support green business initiatives which use native flora’ and make a public statement of having done so
• Issue a public statement saying the Greens are opposed to the commercialisation of wildlife and print this in their Greens Policy Summary
• Include in their policy statement the recommendation for a plant-based diet to help the environment, perhaps starting with ‘Meat-Free Monday’
• Protect kangaroos against government culls and actively campaign against the kangaroo, possum and all native animal consumption (since it is in their policy to protect native fauna)
* Oppose unsustainable population growth. This is the single most important factor that is wiping out our wildlife due to encroachment on their habitat.
The Greens have been a very forward-thinking party when it comes to the environment and truly enlightened. But now it’s time for them to be unified with the animal protection groups if they are serious about protecting native habitats and their species. United we stand – divided we fall.
Mark Parnell- [email protected]
Earlier this year a black swan was admitted to a Perth wildlife shelter after it had landed in one of Alcoa’s caustic red mud lakes. The bird’s injuries included burns to its head, eyes, beak, throat and legs as well as internal poisoning.
Alcoa's red mud lakes
The caustic lakes at Alcoa’s four alumina refineries in Western Australia are settling ponds for red mud, a highly alkaline waste material that is both radioactive and contaminated with heavy metals and other pollutants. For very tonne of alumina produced by Alcoa, two tonnes of this residue result and Western Australia produces 12 million tonnes of alumina a year. It is therefore not surprising that the storage of this waste is a significant problem that has faced the industry for many decades. Alcoa’s solution to this problem is to create red mud lakes and allow the waste to dry out in the open.
Alcoa’s Kwinana refinery is located directly next to a wetland containing a couple of lakes called “The Spectacles”. When these lakes dry up as they have done recently it appears that swans in particular find the red mud lakes attractive to land in. Swans being swans immediately have a drink of water upon landing and when that burns their throat they then proceed to have another drink and so on.
DEC have given Alcoa permission to shoot swans
According to Alcoa this occurred 3 or 4 times in 2009. In the first 2 months of 2010 there has already been that number of casualties. Typically when this happens an Alcoa worker onsite shoots the swan. Alcoa have a licence to do this from the Department of Environment and Conservation (WA) and in case you are wondering, shooting is deemed to be a humane form of euthanising a bird if it is over 3kg.
Should Alcoa attempt to cover these lakes?
The West Australian government has deemed it acceptable that Alcoa can create these vast caustic red mud lakes and leave them uncovered. Further they have also given permission to shoot our state bird emblem whenever they land in these poisonous bodies of water that are located next to existing wetlands. A Google-Earth view of southwest WA between Perth and Collie reveals just how huge these red mud lake areas are, they can be seen from an altitude of 500km!
The fate of our swan
As for our injured swan, an avian vet thought she had a chance so an intense program of bathing, applying creams and tube feeding (4 times daily) was undertaken. Our main concern was that about a third of her tongue had been eaten away but nevertheless her condition appeared to be improving. On one morning several weeks later the lower portion of her beak just fell off and she unfortunately had to be euthanased.
Giulio Casello demonstrates what a healthy
swan's tongue should look like
after it drinks from an Alcoa caustic lake
This was obviously a devastating blow for all involved. All that is except for the people at Alcoa who viewed this whole incident as an opportunity to advertise their “green credentials”. A story appeared in an internal Alcoa newsletter claiming that the swan saved by “Alcoans” had recovered and had been released successfully into surrounding wetlands. This story was then picked up by the local paper under the headline “Swanning around”. The journalist wrote:
….this black swan wandering around Kwinana’s Residue area….. The swan was checked out by a vet and was later released into wetlands in the Kwinana area
I live in a small town and every year for the last three years we have celebrated World Environment Day with an information day organised by the local environment centre. Dozens of groups set up tents and disseminate information about what they are doing to help the planet. There are workshops, speakers, live music, fun events for kids and healthy food. This was the first year we had a meat-free festival.
Months ago I was promised my usual speaking spot which somehow got forgotten by the organisers. Then a week before the nod was given and I set to prepare my talk. The subject was 'Biodiversity-How can we Protect it?' Given that I only had five minutes to cover this rather large subject, many hours were invested in practising and shrinking down what I wanted to say. This is what I ended up with (a variation on the speech I gave to council just last month except tailored to the audience):-
THE IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY
I don’t know about you but I feel so blessed to be on this incredibly beautiful planet. Such a myriad of exquisite animals living on the land, flying in the sky and swimming in the ocean. Boundlessly abundant flora healing our bodies and spirit spring up effortlessly from beneath our feet. It pains me so deeply to know that this blue-green jewel floating in space that we call planet Earth is in deep trouble. There are 16,000 species at risk of extinction today. This mass extinction is caused by one species – us.
Australia has the worst reputation having driven 38% of its mammal species extinct in just over 200 years. The Tweed Shire has probably the most biodiversity in Australia yet a whopping two thirds of our species are at risk of extinction.
Biodiversity loss is a much bigger problem than climate change, because climate change could be turned around in 100 years, but biodiversity loss could take between 10,000 to 100,000 years to turn around.
Somehow we forget that all species are interdependent. E.g. if bees became extinct all of life on this planet would end in just four years. If plankton became extinct, we wouldn’t have enough oxygen to breathe.
We forget that healthy ecosystem needs diversity, many species each with large populations and strong gene pools – like a jungle teeming with life. Instead we clearcut land and overfish the oceans and wonder why we are in ecological crisis.
We forget our resources are finite acting like they will be there forever – if we keep consuming and populating at the rate we are going we will hit a wall where life won’t be worth living.
The Convention on Biodiversity aims to significantly reduce biodiversity loss by 2010. Every loss of species is a threat to global biodiversity. The Convention is concerned with the moral and ethical aspects of biodiversity loss.
What does that mean? I think it means having reverence for life. Animals have feelings, just like us. They feel happy, sad, lonely, they grieve. They fear death and they love their families. When their habitat is destroyed, they die – in terror.
In Queensland between 1998 and 2004 a total of 104 million animals died as a result of land-clearing. If we had reverence for all creatures, we could coexist with them instead of paving the planet. There would be no species loss and no extinctions.
But the bottom line is, humans regard animals as resources to harvest instead of sentient beings with feelings and the right to live in peace.
So how do we change human consciousness on such a profound level? How do we make a paradigm shift away from being anthropocentric to being biocentric? It depends on you and me making that shift on a personal level and political level and it’s very important to do both.
Demand that Governments and councils enforce laws to protect biodiversity + stop developments from destroying koala and endangered species habitat such as Kings Forest. Such as helping NRG stop the ridiculous Repco Rally tearing through national parks in the wildlife breeding season.
Do obvious things like driving slowly in the country at dawn and dusk to avoid roadkill, restrain your pets or become a wildlife carer. But more importantly, the most fundamental thing you can do to stop biodiversity loss is stop eating animals and eat plants instead. Why? Livestock Industry causes most damage to the planet - DEFORESTATION, DESERTIFICATION, SPECIES EXT. WATER SHORTAGES, GHG, POLLUTION WATER). 7 billion people eating fish is causing a dire crisis to the oceans. And don’t even think of eating kangaroo to save the planet because they are on track to extinction too.
Will Tuttle’s book The World Peace Diet talks about not only the environmental destruction a meat/dairy diet but also the profound social fragmentation and spiritual disconnection it causes from being in denial about the suffering of non-human animals on our dinner plate. We cannot have peace until we embrace kindness to all creatures.
Yes I am asking you to do probably the most difficult thing you have ever done in your life – but the situation on Earth is dire and unless we all shift to a plant-based diet this earth is doomed. We must act today – tomorrow it will be all gone.
This earth is too precious to lose. For the sake of your grandkids, for the animals who want to live here and the planet, please take one small step in this direction. Make the effort to overcome a lifetime of social conditioning and habits. You’ll be so glad you did.
Then a day before the event I was contacted by one of the organisers asking me for my bio. I sent him my speech and this was his reply:-
After reading through your talk, it is obvious to me that you are gifted with a strong commitment to our communities' moral and ethical evolution.
So I hope that you will read my opinions, below, not as a personal offence of any kind, but rather as a loving pointing-out of aspects that could be sabotaging your true aims.
To this end, I have not pulled any punches. (Also, please note that when items from your talk appear 'in single quotes', they're being paraphrased, not quoted.)
The festival is intended to encourage a wider audience of non-environmentalists to take a simple first step or two. (Thereby gaining a sense of achievement and pride that can fuel ongoing and larger committed actions.)
Indeed, my intuition is that your talk would neither serve the festival audience nor help to achieve your own aims, were you to deliver this talk on Sunday.
'flora heals ... our spirit'
'all animals feel love, fear death, are sentient beings, and live by choice'
'eating yoghurt causes a profound spiritual disconnection'
Perhaps an environmental festival for the general public is not the appropriate place to air one's own spiritual or religious beliefs?
'mass extinction of 16,000 species caused by one species - us'
+ 'Australia has the worst reputation' + 'Somehow we forget'
+ 'we forget' + 'we forget' + 'life won't be worth living'
+ '104 million Qld animals died in terror' + 'buried guilt'
+ 'we're all doomed unless we all become vegans'
+ 'you are all lazy and socially conditioned'
Such a collection of accusatory, punitively worded facts and statements (many of them unsupported) is unlikely to achieve anything other than to overwhelm, upset, and destroy hope in the festival's audience. (Many of them could well be taking their first, furtive step towards assuming greater environmental responsibility).
Also, using the words "us" and "we" is really only authentic when they're used to describe something that the speaker and their audience share in common. Throughout the talk, "us" and "we" are almost never used this way. Rather, they're code-words for "all of you out there", "ignorant consumers", and so on. As such, they foster a vague sense of alienation and anger, the very antithesis of the sense of inclusion that's intended.
'humans have caused all animal extinctions'
'biodiversity loss is a much bigger problem than climate change'
'if plankton became extinct, we wouldn't have enough oxygen to breathe'
'changing our attitude guarantees no species ever becomes extinct again'
'we're all doomed unless we all become vegans'
'tomorrow [the earth] will be all gone'
Many of your talk's statements I found either deceptive, unqualified, or exaggerated.
"demand governments enforce laws to protect biodiversity"
Vague statements like these sound impractical to a general audience, so they're unlikely to motivate ordinary people into action. In fact, I found only one concrete, feasible solution to the plethora of problems that your speech raises (to drive slowly on country roads to avoid roadkill).
Unfortunately, your talk amounts to scare-mongering.
I invite you to re-examine your motivations for wanting to tell people the specific information that you do,
Frankly I found this response baffling, given that I could back up with references everything I wrote. Was he saying that my information was incorrect or that I was expressing it in an offensive way? I asked repeatedly how I could say it in such a way as to not offend but no reply was forthcoming.
It seems odd that an environment group, whose purpose is to help save the planet, would be deliberately repressing the very information that is needed to create a radical transformation of our world. Changing light bulbs, recycling and riding bicycles isn't going to do it fast enough.
What hope is there if people won't even listen to the pros of a plant-based diet? Why are people so terrified to question their dietary habits and make a shift? Its not that hard. It can be taken very slowly, in baby steps, and in a short time people feel terrific.
In short, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.