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Driven activists no longer behind the welfare wheel
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WITH the current un- precedented tidal wave of animal activists de- scending on farms across Australia, it’s time to be wary, watchful and calm.
Egg and chicken meat producers, whose sheds, like those of pig produc- ers, are typically unat- tended after dark while the birds and pigs do what us humans also like to do at night time, which is sleep, are vulnerable to invasions, sometimes despite sophisticated sur- veillance systems being in place.
While activists have pre- viously been motivated to expose suspect animal wel- fare, environmental neglect and lack of appropriate husbandry, they’ve recently taken a hard-right turn.
They are now very clearly and unapologeti- cally driven by uncom- promising vegan agendas where they simply want egg and chicken produc- tion houses shut down for good and for people to no longer eat meat or eggs (or drink cows’ milk for that matter).
Over many years con- sulting to many agricul- tural clients including a big focus in the meat pro- duction sector, I’ve always advised clients and indus- try bodies that “you can’t defend the indefensible”.
I stand by that advice but now acknowledge the bar has been raised, with activists now provoking meat and egg produc- ers who are doing noth- ing wrong and should not have to defend what they are doing.
It has become a philo- sophical war, waged by the provocateurs, who are well organised, seemingly well-resourced networks of increasingly bold and radicalised animal ac- tivists hell bent on cam- paigning, by fair or foul means, for a world devoid of animal protein eaters.
It is clear the issue has moved beyond welfare and into a domain where
Cant Comment by BRENDON CANT
science, industry R&D, lobbying and campaign- ing will struggle to suc- cessfully fight the good fight and suppress the op- pressors.
With a groundswell of community understand- ing, or perception at least, of the negative im- pact meat production and therefore meat consump- tion might have on the environment, climate and human health, the activ- ists have something of a free kick up-front.
Activists have, to be fair, in the past exposed some seriously shameful, cruel animal handling and welfare standards in an isolated few sheds across Australia, albeit by inva- sive, intrusive, illegal and clandestine means.
Typically, our industry bodies have usually come out on such occasions and strongly condemned any proven poor practices, albeit some mud always sticks to the vast majority of producers who do the right thing.
The activists have switched their guerrilla warfare tactics to expose and humiliate legal, cod-
ed, sanctioned industry practices they now choose to condemn based on their distorted view it is noth- ing more than animals being constrained, in the case of caged egg chick- ens, for the selfish satia- tion of egg eaters.
One way to counter this paradigm shift is to deprive the radical ani- mal activists, especially when they operate under a group name, of acknowl- edgement or recognition.
Naming and shaming simply gives them the publicity and notoriety they seek, but don’t de- serve.
In terms of how hard- working farmers should handle the threats of inva- sions and other divisive actions of these rene- gades, I like the approach taken by a group of farm- ers in Western Australia’s southwest.
Dairy farmer and in- dustry leader Michael Partridge has a simple three-word message for his farming colleagues – “calm the farm”.
“It’s about minimising risk, calming your farm and not getting stirred up by activists,” he said to The Countryman.
While not getting stirred
up is a big ask, it’s worth it.
Take a deep breath if confronted, and if your privacy and livelihood has been threatened, en- gage the police at the first available opportunity. Moore news
Meanwhile, on a posi- tive note, I can announce Michael Moore has been appointed executive of- ficer with the Australian Chicken Growers’ Coun- cil, where he’ll attempt to fill the big shoes of the late Gary Sansom, who championed numerous in- itiatives to keep Australia at the forefront of industry best practice.
Michael has been doing great work with intensive livestock development for a number of years in South Australia with PIRSA.
I’ve long dealt with him in relation to pigs and pork, always enjoying his monthly PIRSA Pork Page.
I wish Michael well in his transition to the com- mercial world, where I’m sure he’ll do very well.
I understand he’ll retain his mobile number 0401 122 096, while emails to him can be sent to aus tralian.chicken@gmail. com
The Gary Sansom Scholarship was presented to University of Adelaide PhD student Joshua Angove at the 2019 Australian Poultry Science Symposium on February 18 by Gary’s wife Julie Sansom. The scholarship is an annual award funded by the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program and supported by industry. Joshua is investigating how the nutrition and environment of the hen influences how efficiently her progeny grow.
Gary Sansom Scholar’s research a global game changer for chicken breeding
UNIVERSITY of Ad- elaide PhD student Joshua Angove has been awarded the 2019 Gary Sansom Scholar- ship, supporting lead- ership in chicken meat research.
The Gary Sansom Scholarship was award- ed to Joshua for his re- search project on the influence of the mater- nal environment on how meat chickens grow.
The Scholarship is named in honour of the late Gary Sansom.
Mr Sansom was a for- mer AgriFutures Chick- en Meat Advisory Panel Chair and was the Aus- tralian Chicken Meat Federation president.
Mr Sansom was a long-standing supporter of programs encourag- ing new people into the chicken meat industry and championed numer- ous initiatives aimed at keeping Australia at
the forefront of industry best practice.
The scholarship will allow Joshua to inves- tigate how the nutrition and environment of the hen influences how ef- ficiently her progeny grow.
The outcomes of Josh- ua’s project will have a positive impact inter- nationally because the breed of chicken used in Australia is also pro- duced around the world.
Production gains iden- tified in this project can be replicated elsewhere, which is an exciting prospect for the budding scientist.
“It’s an honour to be selected as the 2019 Gary Sansom Scholar,” Mr Angrove said.
“I’ve put a lot of ef- fort into my work over the past 12 months and it is incredibly reward- ing to have the poten- tial impact of that re-
search recognised.
“It’s a credit to the vi- sion of the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program that they see the value in supporting young researchers to become leaders in the chicken industry and it provides motivation for young researchers to keep go- ing and get through their
“For me, the oppor-
tunities this award pre- sents are worth more than the value of the scholarship itself.”
AgriFutures Australia manager, Research, Georgie Townsend said the scholarship supports future leaders to make their mark on the indus- try by undertaking novel research.
“Joshua’s project clear- ly demonstrates the Aus- tralian industry is not afraid to invest in bold research, not just for the benefit of the Australian
industry, but the chicken meat industry globally,” Ms Townsend said.
The prestigious Gary Sansom Scholarship recognises high-quality students, fosters a career pathway in the chicken meat industry and sup- ports industry relevant research.
The scholarship is an annual award funded by the AgriFutures Chick- en Meat Program and supported by industry.
Joshua was selected as the scholarship recipi- ent by the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Advisory Panel, in conjunction with industry repre- sentatives and Gary’s family.
The Gary Sansom Scholarship was pre- sented to Joshua Angove at the 2019 Australian Poultry Science Sympo- sium on Monday, Febru- ary 18, 2019 by Gary’s wife Julie Sansom.
Page 4 – National Poultry Newspaper, March 2019

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