Check these pics and clip out! People power in action...
On the weekend, countless numbers of people, young and old, took to the streets to call for an end to live exports. Simultaneous rallies were planned for capital cities across the country, speakers were confirmed, banners were made, and friends were invited. On the big day, a tidal wave of compassionate Aussies swept into the streets calling for an end to live exports.
You might already know that live export shipments from Australia have ended in a series of tragedies for animals over the last few weeks. Mother cows and calves have died from heat exhaustion and neglect in Qatar, and thousands of sheep have been stabbed, clubbed and buried alive in Pakistan.
The worst part is that these last few weeks haven't been some bizarre out-of-the-ordinary experience in the live export industry. Since the trade began, there has been no way that anyone can protect Australian animals once they leave our shores. This has seen them become victims of horrific treatment at their final destination.
Investigation after investigation by Animals Australia has shown the terrible fate that awaits Australian sheep and cows who have been exported. And with each investigation, opposition to the cruel trade grows among the Australian public. More and more people are calling for a ban on live exports, including members of the current government!
From east to west a collective voice was heard very clearly - Australians want an end to live exports. It really was an awesome day with a great atmosphere. How could it not have been though, when you get thousands of animal lovers together in one place :D
Important dates during the year: your birthday ... and this Saturday!! This Saturday is the Ban Live Exports National Rally - when people all across Australia will join together to show their opposition to the cruelty that is live exports. It's time to get your rally on!
The horror stories coming out of Pakistan even as you read this blog are just the latest in a long history of animal cruelty cases which can be pinned on the live exports industry. In case you don't know what's been happening in Pakistan lately - here's the basics.
After weeks stuck on a ship in sweltering heat ... and then being confined in mud-filled pits with hardly any access to water and food and barely enough room to lie down ... Australian sheep have been killed en masse in the most brutal way. Workers have been stabbing and clubbing the harmless sheep and even burying them alive in the same pits dug for the dead sheep.
Of the original 21,000 sheep who left Australia there are now just 10,000 survivors. They have endured heat, hunger and brutality while watching thousands upon thousands of their woolly friends die.
This type of pain and fear can never be justified. The steady stream of horror stories as a result of live exports proves that it can never be fixed. That the trade continues sends a message to the rest of the world that Australians accept animal cruelty. If that's not what you're about — this is your day to stand up to live export!
This Saturday thousands of people around Australia will be speaking up for the victims of live exports - because the victims can't speak up for themselves.
Tell your friends, tell your family ... tell your friends' families! This Saturday is going to be huge. Grab this opportunity to speak up for the animals, and demand an end to live exports. A kinder world is possible if you want it to be.
You may have heard a lot in the news recently about the live export of Australian sheep and cattle to overseas countries. The amount of animals involved and the amount of suffering they have to go through makes live exports one of the most serious cases of animal abuse in Australia. If you love animals, it's definitely an issue you'll want to know all about.
Live exports is in crisis at the moment, with tragedy after tragedy unfolding. It might be a bit confusing keeping a track of what is happening where, but hopefully this map will help make it clear for you. (Sorry North and South America - there just wasn't enough room for you! NZ, you missed out, too.)
BAHRAIN: 21,000 sheep were stranded aboard a ship in the middle of the Arabian Gulf, in soaring temperatures for 2 weeks(!!) after Bahrain refused to accept them. Every extra day stuck on a ship results in more animal suffering and more deaths.
The sheep on this ship were eventually offloaded in PAKISTAN. There they are being held in overcrowded mud-filled pens and their ability to lie down or reach food and water is severely restricted. Authorities there are supporting a plan for a mass kill and for their bodies to be thrown into large pits.
KUWAIT: A similar situation to Bahrain unfolded in Kuwait, with Australian sheep left in limbo out at sea for a week, suffering through high temperatures and confined spaces. Eventually these animals were unloaded. But sadly, that wouldn't have been the end to their suffering. They then would have been killed fully conscious.
QATAR: Of 250 dairy cows sent to one property, over 60 of them died in one week from thirst, hunger and heat stress. One vet technician said that these gentle animals "were frying from the inside out". Of 10,000 sheep sent to the same property ... only 3000 are left. To make this tragedy even worse - the property owner is planning to import another shipment of dairy cows later this year. Lend your voice to help stop this plan immediately.
EGYPT: 2 shiploads of cattle face an uncertain future as the Egyptian govt is refusing to allow them to be slaughtered. These cows have been stuck in sweltering heat and cramped feedlots for weeks now.
INDONESIA: 11,000 cattle are stranded in Indonesian feedlots after the govt there "rejected" them. These cows cannot come back to Australia because of our quarantine laws, so they are stuck in limbo, some of them since May! This is despite the fact that 94% of them are pregnant or have given birth since arriving.
The cruelty of live exports cannot be denied. The misery for animals begins from the moment they step onto boats at the port. They have no idea what will happen to them - BUT YOU DO! You can help protect sheep and cows in Australia by demanding an end to live exports. Join Animals Australia's campaign to shut down this terrible trade. Take action now!
UPDATE 27th SEPTEMBER:
"Like a giant mass of wool, bloodied and filthy, they lay in trenches, slit open, stabbed or clubbed to death, while many still wriggled with some life left in them, soon to be buried alive."
This is the scene emerging from Pakistan, where stranded Australian sheep now face an unimaginably horrible death.
Footage from Pakistan shows confused and scared sheep being stabbed and clubbed and their bodies being dumped into trenches. Some of them are still visibly alive when they are pushed into the pit.
This is what the boss at an exporting company said of the scene."I have watched the video and let me tell you that ever since I have seen those gruesome visuals, I haven't eaten or slept." And that's coming from the guy who sent the sheep there in the first place!
Levy the lamb had the odds stacked against him from the day he was born. Standing terrified by the side of a busy road, and refusing to leave his dead mother - things did not look good for Levy. His remarkable story of survival and his life now will amaze you. Read on for Unleashed's exclusive interview with Levy the Lamb!
Hi Levy. Thanks for making time for the interview.
Well I am missing morning tea for this but I'm a fan of Unleashed, so that's ok.
What else have you got planned for today?
Later today I might go for a walk with the dogs, have a snack then maybe a snooze before I help mum with the farm chores.
And what would be the perfect day for you?
Well that's a pretty good day but for it to be perfect add more snacks, some electrical cords to chew and perhaps an arvo inside the house ... preferably the kitchen, that's where the humans hide the good stuff.
You had a very tough start to your life. Can you tell us what your first memories are?
Wow! It's hard to go back there... Well, I remember I was on the side of a road with crows pecking at me. I wanted sheep-mum to wake up and tell them to go away but she was asleep. I was cold, lonely and hungry. I remember a nice man picking me up and looking after me. He mustn't have been able to wake sheep-mum up either so we had to leave without her. (INTERVIEWERS NOTE: Levy was born on the side of a busy road after his mum had fallen out of a sheep truck. She gave birth to Levy as she passed away, and so couldn't protect him from the crows.)
Do you know what would have happened to all those other sheep on the truck with you?
There is a lot of talk amongst my kind as to where those trucks go. Human-mum doesn't like them though so I'm guessing my mates didn't end up in a paddock full of delicious grass. I've heard horror stories about some humans killing and eating animals like me... I'll need therapy if I talk about that too much.
How did you come to be living with your current family?
The nice man who picked me up from the side of the road took me to a nice lady who looked after me for a couple weeks but she didn't have any grass for me to eat. So she took me to another nice lady (human-mum) who has a lot of grass. At first she fed me milk and let me sleep in the bed with her but now I am all grown up and I really like all the grass.
Do you have many friends to spend the day with?
Oh yeah I have loads of friends. The three dogs are my BFF's, the horses are alright, the pig is cool as long as you are on her good side (don't mention her waist line and you should be right). The cats are a bit strange, there are chickens and other sheep like me but I'm a real people person, I like my humans the most.
I know for a fact that you're determined to help your fellow sheep. Tell us what you've been up to and who you've met?
Human-mum raised me right, it's important to help those less fortunate, you know! I've had photo shoots; I'm on the Stop Live Export website and signs; and I've been on the news and in newspapers. I enjoy helping at stalls and protests and I have been lucky enough to meet a lot of nice people who are doing some super awesome things to help animals. I've even met politicians like Lisa Baker, Lynn MacLaren and Melissa Parke.
What's one interesting fact that people may not know about sheep like you? Just one?! Hmm, ok ... I can remember 50 different faces for about two years. So that means if you get on my bad side I have two years to come after you! Mwah-ha-haaaa!
Can you give us three words to describe yourself?
Handsome, loving and cheeky.
Is there a final message you want to pass on to all the young people reading today?
Young 'uns! You are our hope for a better future. Every cruelty-free choice you make, every person you inform and every time you help an organisation in any way, it gets us closer to ending the abuse of my mates. Don't let people pull the wool over your eyes ... we don't want to go on trucks and ships, we don't want our babies stolen from us, we don't want to spend our lives in tiny cages, we want to be happy and live!
Thanks for telling us your story today, Levy! (And thanks to your human-mum Rachael for her help in translating, too).
Levy escaped the fate facing countless numbers of animals around Australia, who are either killed in Australia for meat, or live exported to other countries. Once they leave Australian shores they face voyages across oceans, and many die at sea. In the countries they are exported to, they are slaughtered in ways that most Australians would object to.
Levy now has a girlfriend!! This is just very recent news, so details are sketchy at the moment. I can tell you though that Levy is very much in love, and wants to do nothing but spend all day with his new lady-lamby friend.
Unconfirmed reports state that Levy and his girlfriend have been "sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G." But seeing as how they are sheep, and sheep are not known for their awesome tree-climbing skills ... I find these reports to be highly doubtful.
There has been only one photo so far of the lovely couple. Judging by how close they're standing though, I would say that Levy is probably at second base. You go, Levy!!
In the calm waters of Eilat Bay in Israel, an unusual white figure was seen bobbing in the cold water. Was it a boat? A pelican? No. It was an Australian sheep, swimming for his life.
Sahar, as he became known, had jumped or fallen from the nearby pier where a live export ship was unloading. He was beyond exhausted, and struggling to stay afloat. His fleece was waterlogged, and his thin legs, ever intended for swimming, were paddling fast but failing to keep his head above water.
Were it not for the decisive actions of a 14 year old boy who jumped into the water and raised the alarm, Sahar's life may have ended then and there. But instead, a remarkable rescue operation ensued. The pictures say it all...
The image of a 50 kilogram sheep swimming off the coast of Israel might seem like an odd sight. But in reality, thousands of Australian sheep pass these waters every year. Sahar was just one of tens of thousands of stressed and confused sheep packed onto a live export ship in Australia, bound for slaughter in the Middle East.
Not all of Sahar's companions even survived the boat trip. Some died of starvation onboard as they couldn't get used to eating the unfamiliar pellet feed given on the ship. The sheep that did make it to Israel faced an even more horrible fate: a knife cut to the throat while fully conscious, before bleeding to death on the floor of an Israeli slaughterhouse.
This brutal death is not a one-off or some accident. This practice is accepted by Australia's live export industry without question. Yet it was clear to the people who helped Sahar that he deserved better. "Our thought was that the sheep deserved freedom, that it would be unfair to lead him to slaughter." said one of Sahar's rescuers.
The rescue team was forced to fight for Sahar's life a second time when the sheep importer learned of the rescue and demanded that Sahar be slaughtered along with his shipmates. Fortunately Sahar's rescuers were able to persuade the importer to surrender the sheep into their care.
After veterinary checks and a lot of TLC, Sahar regained his strength and was given sanctuary at a nearby Kibbutz (like a community-run farm). His gentle nature and amazing story made him a favourite with local kids who affectionately describe him as a "celebrity"!
Sahar's extraordinary story is one in a million. Yet he was no more deserving of compassion than the thousands of individual animals who began his journey with him. While we cannot save animals who have already met a cruel fate, we can save others from similar suffering.
Proving that real men are kind to animals, Norwegian mates Erik and Torvald put their own lives at risk to rescue a lamb that was close to drowning. Check out these amazing pics of the rescue!
Erik (20) and Torvald (19) were out and about with a mate taking photos with a new camera when Erik saw the lamb struggling in the waves. Immediately the guys leapt into action and ... well, the photos tell the story. The lamb was reunited with his flock, while Erik and Torvald probably spent the rest of the day rescuing babies from burning buildings and stopping supervillains from taking over the world.
If you reckon this kind of story is inspiring (it gave me goosebumps!) then bear in mind that your decisions every day can have the same impact on an animal's life as these two guys have. Decisions like going meat-free, pledging to not wear leather, or encouraging your oldies to not buy cage eggs (or better yet, try egg replacers!) all make a world of difference to the lives of countless animals.
By making compassionate decisions, you can be a hero for animals, too.
What are some other ways you can think of that Unleashed members can do to help animals?
I just heard that a high school in Pennsylvania has banned students from wearing UGG boots to class. Apparently the kids have been hiding all sorts of things in them, from mobile phones to chocolate bars!
But not many people realise that the boots themselves hide an even UGGlier truth. They are made from the skin of Australian sheep -- not just the wool -- the skin.
At least 20% of lambs born each year die shortly after birth, from exposure during freezing cold spring nights, infections or fox attacks. That's millions of babies referred to as 'wastage' annually. And those that survive could hardly be called lucky. Lambs are often castrated and have their tails cut off without any pain relief -- wait, that isn't even the worst of it.
Over many generations Aussie farmers have bred Merino sheep to have so much skin (more skin=more wool!) that the wrinkles around the sheep's bum can lead to deadly flystrike. The farmers' solution? Cut off the wrinkles. That's right, no miracle cream here, just cut them off!
And that's exactly what happens. The lambs are restrained on their backs with their little legs tied together while slices of skin are cut away from around their bottoms. This is often done with NO pain relief and always leaves gaping bloody wounds - these are baby animals!
This horror procedure is called mulesing. It's so painfully gruesome that when Pamela Anderson learned of it, she stopped wearing her trademark UGGS straight away and began campaigning against the cruelty and the company.
How is this even legal? I mean if that happened to a kitten or a puppy, the abuser would be charged with animal cruelty. But here in Australia, farm animals just don't get the same legal protection as our pets do, even though they too feel fear and pain. Sheep have even been shown to remember individual faces of their flock mates and people they see regularly. Can you imagine the terror they feel as adults when the person that mutilated their backside upends them again at shearing time?
Gosh, what a year it's been! Animal rights hit the mainstream in a big way in 2011. Check out this inspiring vid by Unleashed's big sister, Animals Australia for some of the highlights:
We just want to say a big 'thank you' to you for everything you've done to support our campaigns this year. If you attended a rally, wrote emails or letters, took action on our website, or did anythign else to support our work, then thank you for helping us have such a big impact for animals in 2011.
On the wharves of Port Adelaide, an animal welfare crisis has been unfolding.
A run down live export ship (actually a 28 year old converted car carrier) hit mechanical trouble when it set out for the Middle East with 67,000 sheep on board and was forced to return to Adelaide after just one day at sea. Trapped on the ship and crammed into tiny pens for over a week, 300 sheep died on board.
After a last-minute protest last Wednesday by Animals Australia, Unleashed members and around 70 locals, the sheep were finally offloaded and sent to a feedlot north of Adelaide.
Then on Saturday, as sheep were still being offloaded, more than 300 people gathered again at the docks to demand these sheep be shown some mercy. They've been through so much already! It's unthinkable that the live exporters still want to ship them back to the Middle East where they will have their throats cut while fully conscious!
Adelaide really stepped up on ultra short notice and I'm pretty proud of my hometown right now. But we still don't know yet what the fate of these poor confused sheep will be. We will be keeping our voices loud for them and I hope you will too.
Make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook page for any new protests that will be coming up, and sign up to the Action Team here so we can alert you to any last minute rallies quick as a flash!
Were you one of the thousands who came out to voice their opposition to live exports at the Ban Live Export National Rally on Sunday? What an amazing turn out and what an amazing atmosphere!
Thank you to everyone who helped send a strong message to politicians that Australians want this cruel trade stopped. If you made it along to the rally, leave a comment below. We'd love to hear about your experience of the day!
And I know there's heaps of people everywhere that were horrified by the footage out of Indonesia that might not be able to make it to a rally but still want to get involved, and you can help too! Here's how:
Spread the word on Facebook. Post this rally page to your wall. Make sure you RSVP there and to your city's Facebook event page (click on your city above). Then invite everyone on your friend list!
Get crafty and make some banners! Click here for some ideas on slogans and pictures to use. Be as creative as you want! (Just keep in mind that kids will be there, and that the focus of the rallies needs to stay on banning live export ;) Here are some our of faves:
Last (but absolutely not least), know where to go! Click here for all the rally deets to make sure you've sussed out the location and how you're going to get there in time for all the action to start. (Parking might be limited so you may need to take a bus, train, tram, helicopter :-P)
Oh! And just to get you in the mood (or maybe this is just my excuse to rock out) check out this clip by The Black Spurs. All about the live export trade, I reckon "It Ain't Right" will be #1 before we know it. First person to learn all the words gets ... um, massive Unleashed cred!
Every now and then you see a clip that really makes you stop and think. This is undoubtedly one of them:
It's not every day that you'd get such a short vid that manages to get in so many shocking elements in such an effective way.
From the bacon slices to the roast chicken, the eggs, the milk and even the mayonnaise, this talented film maker has provided a voice for pigs, broiler chickens, laying hens and dairy cows in just 30 seconds. All the while flickering this important line "You may be blind to this but you're the only voice they've got".
And the final sound of an innocent sheep crying really brings home the point that we must use our voices to help end the suffering of these exploited animals.
Thanks so much to Brett Ludeman from Storybottle for creating such a haunting vid for Unleashed, and for showing others the reality of their dinner or their cup of milky coffee.
What do you think of this ultra short film? Do you know anyone who would be blind to this? You could share the video and help them open up their eyes and their ears and use their voice to help animals.
Tonight the campaign train visits the Australian Parliament with Independents Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon and Greens' Adam Bandt introducing bills that, if passed, would finally see an end to live export.
We'll keep you posted on that news. In the meantime - Lights. Camera. Action to ban live export! We can't wait to see your video :)
This morning the campaign to Ban Live Export scored a massive win for the animals! The Gillard Government announced they have suspended the entire live trade to Indonesia.
For the moment, this means cattle like Bill, Dudley, Brian, Arthur and Tommy are safe from being shipped to brutal slaughterhouses in Indonesia,Â but this campaign ain't over yet!
Despite evidence of cruel treatment to Australian animals in other countries, such as throughout the Middle East, Julia Gillard's government has done nothing to prevent Australian animals from being sent to these destinations. The only solution to protect Australian animals from the cruelty of live export, is a total ban on the trade. And on 20th June, Tassie MP, Andrew Wilkie, and SA Senator, Nick Xenophon, will be submitting a bill that, if passed, will do just that -- ban live animal export!
Writer Margaret Mead once said "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Unleashed members and Animals Australia supporters have certainly proved this true in the last week!
Over 235,000 people have signed a petition to Ban Live Export, and Julia Gillard has received more than 100,000 emails in her inbox from shocked Aussies urging her to end the cruelty. People are continuing to donate to get television and radio ads to air. And the Animals Australia and Unleashed Facebook and Twitter pages have been running hot all week with posts, comments and tweets from caring people who have simply refused to let the government to turn a blind eye to animal cruelty.
Perhaps the most surprising result of the campaign so far, has been that the Meat Industry Council has reported a 10-15% DROP IN MEAT! Not only is the government rethinking it's support of this terrible industry, but the Australian public is questioning whether they can trust an industry that knew about the abuse in Indonesia more than a decade ago and yet was still willing to send animals to that terrible fate.
Thank you to everyone who has spoken out and been a part of this campaign so far!
With just over a week to go until the bill to ban live export is tabled in Parliament, it's time to ramp up the campaign! Don't let Julia Gillard and your local MP off the hook until they Ban Live Export for good!
Mark this date in your diary, because you won't want to miss this! Everyone is talking about the story that will air on Monday night (30th May) on Four Corners! The program will feature never-before seen footage from Animals Australia's recent investigation into the treatment of Aussie cattle exported live to Indonesia.
Every year, millions of animals born into Australian care are exported live, to be killed in countries where there are no laws to protect their welfare.
Over the past seven years, Animals Australia has carried out investigations into the treatment of animals exported live to the Middle East. Footage from past investigations has repeatedly shown the live export industry is happy to export animals to countries regardless of how badly they will be treated. When exposed on national TV, evidence provided by Animals Australia led to a ban on live sheep exports to Egypt, and created massive public opposition to the cruel trade.
This coming Monday night, ABC1's Four Corners will air exclusive footage of exported Australian cattle filmed by Animals Australia investigators in Indonesia.
So tune in and tell all your friends and family to watch this groundbreaking story! Four Corners airs at 8:30PM, Monday 30th May on ABC1.
So by now you've probably heard the good news: Last week Japan called an early end to their whaling season. Woot! Here's hoping this is the end to Japan's whaling program for good! (btw you can sign the petition to call for a permanent end to Japanese whaling here)
I'm glad to see Aussies so passionate about whales. They're amazing animals and harpooning them is just plain awful.. but also, it seems to me that people caring about whales is a sign of hope for other animals. I mean, if people can feel such a strong connection to whales then surely they could feel that same compassion for other animals, right? Sure not all animals weigh 40 tons, live in the ocean and eat krill, but really they're not so different. For example...
They say whales are smarter than your average bear (sorry, for the Yogi reference, I couldn't help myself)... not unlike pigs, who have proven themselves to be quite the clever creatures. In fact, pigs have even been trained to play computer games! Yup... with specially designed joysticks pigs can pick up on how to play intelligence testing games just as quickly as chimpanzees!
Whales are also well known for their strong bonds between mother and calf. Mother and calf... hmm... sounds just like another familiar furry, doesn't it? Mother cows also form a strong bond with their calf within hours of being born, and this bond only strengthens over time.
As for their songs...? Scientists suspect that some species of whales sing to their young - something mother pigs are also known for (not to mention hens clucking to their eggs). But perhaps even more surprisingly, the author Jeffrey Masson tells the story of a pig who liked to sing to the full moon. Now that's something I'd like to see!
But the thing that I think really captures people's imaginations with whales is their playfulness - the way they leap out of the water, often for what seems like the sheer joy of it. I'd like to think that if more people saw footage like this playful kid goat, then the Aussie public would be as concerned about the treatment of farm animals as they are about the hunting of whales. wdyt?
2. Masses of native vegetation have been cleared to graze sheep, irreversibly changing the Australian landscape.
3. Countless native Australian animals are extinct or endangered because of habitat loss through land clearing (livestock production being one of the main causes of this land clearing). In fact Australasia leads the entire world in species extinction :(
4. Sheep produce methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which is affecting the whole planet (which btw includes Australia).
5. Sheep have wonderful personalities and are just as smart and deserving as the beloved dogs and cats in the homes of countless Australians.
And finally, this:
Would anyone seriously want that adorably cute and bouncy critter to have to die for their dinner?
These undisputed facts only point to one conclusion – Sam's got it backwards: it's eating lamb that is un-Australian!
Take that Kekovich!
I wanna know how you'll be spending Australia Day? Leave a comment!
Welcome to the first of our exciting "Spot the Difference" series! We find that animal abusers are continually suffering from absurd delusions that animals like being locked in tiny cages… that they like being mutilated, and that skinning them alive is not such a bad thing… You just have to take one look at their advertising to realise this. In short, we think they're a bit out of touch with reality. So we thought we'd give them a helping-hand and point out what a normal, sane person (who doesn't make money from animal cruelty) can clearly see.
That brings us to our first Spot the Difference candidate. You could almost forgive the live export industry for suggesting that Australia has the 'world's best practice' when you see what they think a live export ship looks like. The sticker below was sent out by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to try and convince people that shipping animals half way round the world only to be killed is much like sending them on a luxury cruise (…or is it their depiction of Noah's Ark?).
And here's what cramming tens of thousands of frightened animals into a live export ship actually looks like.
Sadly that's not the worst of it. Thousands of Australian animals die on these old ships every year, and those who survive the long journeys have their throats cut whilst fully conscious at the other end – which makes live export one of the cruellest industries on the planet.
So over to you – what tips would you have for MLA to help make their live export stickers a little less laughable? Can you spot the difference?
We’re supposed to let you know that the ideas expressed here are the views of the individual authors, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Animals Australia or Animals Australia Unleashed. So now you know.