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… a better life for all

Policy Manifesto

Humans have always had a close connection with other animal species.

We have used them for food and clothing. We have drawn inspiration and delight from them. We have lived peacefully beside them.  We have learnt from them. They have helped us in times of need. In return, we have destroyed their habitats, driven them to extinction and treated them cruelly.

Whatever our relationship with other animals, they are an important part of our lives and our survival on this planet. Indeed, they are integral to the survival of the planet.

Many people, in so many different ways, enjoy a wonderful relationship with animals.

Today, however, modern intensive farming methods, destruction of native habitat, a focus on resource exploitation and a commodity-driven consumer-based society are increasingly bringing the human treatment of animals into the public arena as an ethical and political issue.

Why an Animal Justice Party?

Most issues that come before Australia’s parliaments, in some way, impact on the lives of non-human animals, but non-human animals have no voice in these places. It is easy to be discounted if you have no voice and no power.

The Animal Justice Party was formed to focus public attention and bring about change to the way humans at large treat other animal species as a result of political decision making. Animal justice needs to move from the margins of human interest to the mainstream if we are all to benefit from engaging with animal worlds through kindness and compassion.

The Animal Justice Party is therefore not a single-issue party. It is about a better life for all of us. Our interdependence with other animals makes this essential not only for them but also for us.

Why should we care?

We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the brutality inflicted by humans on non-human animals and simultaneously expect that we can have a society that is just, an environment that is sustainable, and economic processes that are fair and ethical.  All these are intimately connected.

We have to ask ourselves just what kind of species brutalises and extinguishes the lives of other sentient beings for their own comfort or entertainment? Inflicting such brutality on non-human animals is not a foundation for building a society based on the values essential for the future of our planet.

Many people do not treat animals badly. But when this does happen, it is unethical, unjust, short-sighted and inappropriate for an enlightened world. It will not enable us to enact policies that will deal with the pressures currently confronting the planet. This is where our parliaments have got it so wrong. They have sanctioned and relied on animal cruelty and disregarded animal lives to achieve a few human ends – human ends where there are more ethical approaches.

As a society, our moral standing is diminished by the cruelty and disregard we display towards other animals. The environment on which we rely for our very existence is diminished by our disregard for the contribution other animals make to ecosystems and the natural world. Our economy is diminished by viewing animals as something only to be exploited, rather than to be nurtured for their capabilities.

Parliaments throughout the world regard power, money and recognition ahead of concern for the wellbeing and capability of other animals; who may not share the same language of communication or who live in environments we know very little about.

These parliaments adopt the view that a strong society is somehow determined by the numbers that appear in a set of economic accounts and by narrow-minded, disengaged ‘science’.

Values of compassion and kindness and the knowledge to be gained from non-human worlds are seen as irrelevant in the world of rationalist economics.

Ignoring the world of other animal species is selling our future as a just, fair, compassionate and – significantly – sustainable society – a long way short.

What can we do? 

Cruelty to, and disregard of, animals by so many people is intertwined with many social, economic and environmental issues across the nation.

The Animal Justice Party’s overriding objective is to provide a voice for policies and practices that promote respect, kindness, compassion and understanding toward other animals and, as a result, offer an opportunity for better outcomes for all.

To address questions of cruelty and disregard of animals that have been neglected by parliaments throughout Australia, the AJP will work towards a number of headline policies to enhance animal wellbeing and capability in Australia. These headline policies are underpinned by a range of detailed species and issue-specific policies that are available on the Party website:

They include:

  • Foster consideration, respect, kindness and compassion for all species as core values in the way in which Australian parliaments design and deliver initiatives aimed at building a stronger nation. This will include: (a) having a national approach to animal wellbeing policy and practice; (b) establishing a designated national animal welfare portfolio and administration with budgets significant enough to recognise their importance for Australian society, environments and the economy; (c) reviewing existing and all new government policies to ensure their impact does not diminish animal wellbeing and capability, and (d) initiating legislation to protect animals that clearly defines cruelty based around these key principles.
  • Review the effectiveness of all current non-government institutional arrangements involved in supporting animal wellbeing and capability.
  • Review all primary industry and processing practices with a view to changing policy and practice to enhance animal wellbeing and capability.
  • Outlaw international trade in animals, except where it can be shown to directly benefit the animals concerned.
  • Give full protection to Australia’s native animals and their habitats, in preference to uncontrolled land and property development and their exploitation for commercial gain.
  • Outlaw the use of animals for sport, exhibition and entertainment.
  • Outlaw research and experimentation on animals except where it is in the interests of the individual animals concerned.
  • Proactively support a plant-based diet through education and awareness. Such a diet prevents a large toll of animal suffering, contributes to human health, indirectly reduces starvation of humankind, replenishes the damaged environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The AJP understands a move towards a more plant-based diet is a personal transitional process given current pressures promoting animal-based diets. AJP membership does not impose personal diet disclosures.
  • Promote a new legal classification for all animals that recognises their status as sentient beings, is nationally consistent, and will ensure greater enforcement of laws governing the wellbeing of animals and issues of cruelty and brutality.

We welcome your feedback on all Animal Justice Party policies.  Please send your comments to the info line: [email protected]