Animal Justice Party MLC bringing animal rights to senate
ANIMAL cruelty cases are disturbingly all too common on the Northern Rivers and newly elected Animal Justice Party NSW MLC Mark Pearson was on the front foot about the issue in Lismore over the weekend.
The first AJP member in Australia to be elected to Parliament and only the second member elected across the world said he would bring issues of animal welfare and cruelty before NSW Parliament.
AJP senior advisor and research assistant, Lismore's Angela Pollard, said having Mr Pearson elected to NSW Parliament was a major breakthrough, after her more than seven-year fight for animal welfare.
"It sends a message that we're now in the mainstream, that this is an issue that ordinary people are concerned about," Ms Pollard said.
"Even if we can't make major changes to the laws now, we are building the party and we are part of a growing part of society that recognises the importance of protecting animals," she said.
"The majority of the complaints that come to me are animals that you can see, so dogs and cats, horses are another big one," she said.
At an animal cruelty forum held last November in Lismore, Ms Pollard said it was identified that hobby farmers, who wanted to keep a horse, cows, chooks and other animals, were a growing problem in the region.
"They either don't have the finances, or the skills and abilities to look after those animals," she said.
Mr Pearson said the party had already garnered support from Labor and The Greens for several bills it hoped to put before Parliament.
"Puppy and cat farms, which are just production machines of animals that get killed when their body is broken, which is totally unconscionable, should be banned," he said.
"We think it's time for the first state in Australia to ban "battery bird" cages.
"Hunting in national parks is also a very serious issue."
Mr Pearson said he would oppose suggested laws which would prosecute people who gathered information about animal cruelty, or media that published information about such cases.