Sunday was traumatic.
Just listening to Lyn White recount some of her experiences from her nine separate investigations into the live animal export trade was harrowing. Many of you will have seen her on the 4 Corners program A Bloody Business. It speaks for itself.
But something else disturbed me at Melbourne’s Ban Live Exports rally on Sunday. Standing just behind me was a supposed farmer with two female colleagues, all of them dressed in drysabone coats and akubra hats, you can picture them. The man was holding up a sign that said “End cruelty NOT live exports”.
A number of people around us (including myself) asked the man to put his sign down during the speeches as, in addition to being offensive to the other 9,000 or so people who were rallying to end the bloody and brutal trade, it was blocking people’s view. The man refused and instead, in a quite taunting manner, tried to engage people in a debate. Naturally, people were reacting with high emotion to the man’s insensitivity to the shocking evidence we have all been confronted with. The more upset he made others, the calmer he seemed to present in his ‘farmer’ suit.
Well, before you could say moo, a pretty in pink presenter and her camera man had swooped to film the ‘controversy’. This blatant attempt to misrepresent the rally was simply too galling, I fully saw red and threw myself between the ‘farmer’ and the camera to prevent a rally with thousands of people being turned into a story about this one man’s opposing view. The media told me they were just “doing their job”. Sounding like a familiar media angle???
After telephoning Animals Australia, I learnt that the so called ‘farmer’ was a regular at their rallies. While he has told people that he comes from Gippsland, he somehow manages to attend all of AA’s rallies, even the snap ones called on very short notice. Does that sound peculiar to you?
Whether Mr Gippsland farmer is an industry plant with a brief to incite ‘greenies’ in the hopes of getting some controversial footage into the media… or just some creepy guy who gets a kick out of offending people who care about things other than profits, do you think it is the media’s role to give his opposing view equal representation as that of around 9,000 others at a rally with a specific call? What is the role of the media in a modern democracy? How should common cause advocates relate to a media of this nature?
We want to hear your views on Live Animal Exports, or the Role of the Media. Please join our blog at http://live.org.au/blog/?p=326 and tell us what YOU think.
Meanwhile, if you think it is wrong to ship millions of animals to places where no laws exist to protect them and where it is well known that they (those that survive the journey that is) are treated appallingly, please add your voice in support of Nina Dubecki’s letter http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1097247/live/Ban_Live_Animal_Exports.doc. You can cut and paste Nina’s words with your own signature and send it to email@example.com and cc your local member (in our case Michael.Danby.MP@aph.gov.au) and/or you can sign Animals Australia’s petition http://www.animalsaustralia.org/take_action/live-export-conscience-vote calling for a conscience vote on this moral issue.
With best wishes
Deborah Hart, on behalf of LIVE
PS to read about other important campaigns please visit www.live.org.au