A Guest Post, by Emma Lawson
Considering the fact that one of the first things that pops on anyone’s mind when thinking about Australia is its exotic wildlife and that this country has one of the biggest pet ownership rates in the world (25 million pets per 25 million inhabitants), one would think that Australians would be very interested in preservation of animal life, and that person would not be too wrong. After all, one of the most influential voices in animal rights/liberation theory, and the author of the book Animal Liberation, is Australian citizen Peter Singer. So the will was always there, the only factor making Australia’s road towards the more humane treatment of animals and popularization of pet shelters rocky was this country’s constitution.
Namely, the Commonwealth of Australia is made up of six federal states, and several territories. The Constitution of Commonwealth does not specifically address animal rights, so the task of animal protection is left entirely to states and territories and their legislative bodies.
With the things as they are, taking care of stray pets is mostly in the hands of extraordinary individuals and humanitarian organizations. One of the latter ones is RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) founded in 1981. Today, RSPCA Australia is this country’s leading authority in animal care with 40 animal shelters being just one of its numerous operations. Thanks to the generous support of its benefactors this organization continues to provide sufficient amounts of necessary supplies like quality food and Nexgard flea protection for dogs, and find its residents new homes once they are taken care of. Recently, one of the regional branches, RSPCA Victoria, mounted a major investigation of the Pyramid Hill puppy farm which led to 240 charges of animal cruelty and a $205,000 fee to its owners.
Another good example that shows that pet rescue in Australia is just starting to take a full swing is the Brightside Farm Sanctuary, and one of its most interesting inhabitants, a German Sheppard Bronson. Bronson was a guard dog trained its entire life to be intimidating and frighten people away. Rescuers described him as “the saddest and the loneliest dog they had ever seen.” Still, after he was given a second chance at the Brightside Farm Sanctuary, Bronson learned to love people again and was later adopted by a retired couple.
A similar case in which humanity brought change into the lives of animals which were, up until then, full of misery, is the story of the rabbit Olivia and her 299 friends who were recently rescued from a factory farm in Tasmania where they were kept in oppressive and crowded wire cages, became subject to illness and injuries, and designated for slaughter. After escaping this outcome, Olivia and the rest of the rabbits were moved to Big Ears Sanctuary where they enjoy greater outdoor freedom and expect rehoming.
Australians are also no strangers to wide actions that sometimes even take place far beyond Australia’s boarders. For example, after the thorough investigation conducted by Animals Australia in which activists proved that Australian bred greyhounds which were exported to South East Asia were tortured, forced to race and eventually murdered or fed to predators, Qantas and other Australian airlines refused to continue to provide racing greyhound freight services to Asia. Three trainers who participated in cruel greyhound training methods such as live baiting were sentenced to prison for animal cruelty.
These examples may not seem like huge victories but they are victories, and although Australian government still needs to be more involved in solving these issues, thanks to the people who are constantly fighting for their well-being, animals like Bronson, Olivia, and all the tortured greyhounds and mill puppies, still have something to look forward to.
Guest author Emma Lawson is a teacher. Emma is constantly seeking to improve her skills both as a teacher and as a parent. She is passionate about writing and learning new things that can help to lead a quality life. You can follow her on Twitter @EmmahLawson.