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Rage against the maps

The Editor

Dear Editor,

The Victorian government has released a new map aimed at making it as easy as possible for hunters to identify where it's fine for them to slaughter and maim animals going about their business. Contrast this with the manufactured rage of our politicians over the existence of Aussie Farms' Farm Transparency Map, a resource that does nothing more than compile publicly available information.

The Aussie Farms map indicates where farms are located in an effort, as the site says, "to force transparency on an industry dependent on secrecy". Each year in Australia, hundreds of millions of animals are confined, tormented, and slaughtered out of public view – behind high walls or in massive compounds. Tens of thousands of chickens are kept inside sheds in an atmosphere so toxic that humans entering the premises report having trouble breathing, sows are confined to stalls barely large enough for them to take a single step forward or backwards, and sheep are punched and cut with clippers by shearers paid to work quickly, not carefully.

Any attempt to expose the egregious abuses occurring in these places is met with hand-wringing and rage as well as threats of criminal penalties. Yet a licence and a mobile phone are all that are required for anyone who wants to satiate their bloodlust by taking an expedition into a state forest. A common theme binds both scenarios: whether it's disingenuous angst over a map listing businesses or obsequious facilitation of barbaric slaughter, animals always lose out. Let's allow room in the conversation for consideration of their right to live.


Paula Hough
Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Asia-Pacific
PETA Australia
PO Box 20308, World Square, Sydney NSW 2002