UPDATE FROM CAMILLE MARINO: A debate has arisen about this article because the activists involved are welfarist. Here are my thoughts on the subject:
This was an effective action in that it was intended to raise awareness about the inherent cruelty of live exports — not veganism.
I stand behind this story. We do not need to be ideologically-aligned with a given group to support an isolated action that has merit. And we are really limiting ourselves if we summarily reject a tactic because we disagree with the motivation driving it.
I had a fairly in-depth private discussion last night with someone in Australia about this situation. She describes the welfarist nature of this group as highly problematic and falling somewhere between PeTA and HSUS. This deeply disturbs me.
But I find it far more disturbing that the welfarists are the only ones out there taking action against live exports.
Courtesy of ABC News
Police have arrested animal rights protesters who boarded a live export ship at the port of Fremantle in Western Australia.
Around a dozen activists boarded the ship, Al Shuwaikh, under the cover of darkness to film what they say is animal cruelty.
Three protesters were locked onto the ship while another two attached themselves to the front gate of the port.
The Police Tactical Response Group worked to detach the activists.
One of the protesters, Cameron Johnson, says they are calling for the live sheep export trade to be halted.
“The damage that’s been done, the cruelty that’s been perpetrated overseas starts here,” he said.
“What we are trying to highlight and raise awareness about is that it’s not just overseas that these animals are being mistreated, as is evidenced by the videos we’re seeing coming out of the ports that they’re destined to go to, it’s actually the cruelty starting here in Australia.
“We’re complicit in what’s going on with these animals and we need to take greater responsibility for their welfare.”
Police have arrested nine protesters; six people were charged with trespass and three were charged with offenses relating to unathorised access.
One of the men attempted to escape by jumping overboard into the harbour but he was caught and charged.
The Western Australian Farmers Federation’s Jeff Murray has condemned their actions, saying measures are in place to protect animal welfare.
“To be disrupted by these radicals is very disappointing,” he said.
“We all rely heavily on the live export trade in Western Australia and the Federal Government has put in place all the hoops to jump through.
“At the end of the day, we’re on the other side of the water, we’re a long way away from where all the action is taking place but, I think, with the monitoring that’s in place I’m sure we’ve got as good a thing in place as we can get.”
Mr Johnson says, however, they are highlighting the cruelty of the live sheep trade.
“What we’re trying to do is point out that these animals could be slaughtered in Australia, creating jobs in Australia, for Australians rather than sending them overseas and dealing with all the unpleasantness that happens to these animals; cruelty, basically,” he said.
Mr Johnson claimed to be acting on behalf of Animals Australia but the animal welfare organisation has denied any connection to the group and says the protest was not organised by them.
Police have set up a barricade to allow the loading of sheep to continue.
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