Where would we be without DNA testing? Otherwise who knows what might be lurking under your tomato sauce. Possibly dead cow, mad cow, lame horse or pickled panda. God forbid, it might even be tofu, tempeh or gluten.
Back in the early 1980s, long before cheap and easy DNA testing, Australia resorted to a Royal Commission into the meat industry to try and resolve the scandalous pollution of dead cattle with dead horse and dead kangaroo in domestic and export meat.
The US recently had its “downer cattle” scandal and now Europe has had headline stories for a week over horse meat. Undercover cruelty footage in slaughterhouses and factory farms is pretty common everywhere and seems to disappear like sketches on a beach at low tide, but mislabel carcinogenic horse as carcinogenic beef and all hell breaks loose.
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There was a time not long ago when fur was dead and sexy young women went naked rather than wear fur. It was cool to care, and the beautiful people did.
So what happened? Why is fur sneaking back into shops?
Certainly not because the industry has become less violent and bloody. If anything it has become worse since China became a major exporter. China has no animal protection laws and anything goes.
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If this looks like someone’s been colouring in baby chicks with highlighters, then you’re not far from the truth.
Animal rights activists in the States are furious at an Easter trend where baby chicks are being coloured by either injecting colourant into an egg or being sprayed after hatching. They say it’s cruel, farmers say the birds don’t experience that much distress. More here.
It’s Wednesday. What’s on your mind?
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“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” So goes a rather weary old dog of a proverb attributed to Paul McCartney.
Admittedly, his sentiment makes me as misty-eyed as the next idealist softie. But in light of the latest abattoir cruelty scandal, I need to have a quiet word with Paul.
“Glass walls” don’t come much clearer than the hidden footage uncovered by the ABC and subsequently splattered across our news last week. You don’t exactly need Windex to see inside the pure barbarism of NSW’s Hawkesbury Valley Meat Processors.
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Puns abounded after a PR stunt involving goldfish went totally belly up this week. Advantage SA sent 55 live goldfish to clients around the country, urging them to “test the water and be the big fish in a small pond” in Adelaide. But, Mumbrella reported, at least some of the fish were DOA.
It’s the sort of story that will probably end up in marketing textbooks. Someone probably got their arse kicked. CEO Karen Raffen sounded genuinely apologetic on radio. No one was insensitive enough to crack jokes about Adelaide as the murder capital of the world, but that’s just a matter of time.
Advantage SA’s mea culpa included the promise of donations to the Animal Welfare League and the RSPCA to make amends for any distress caused to the fish. Begging the question: Since when did we, as a society, care about fish?
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Animal rights activists get a bad rap. Reactions to those who dare to speak out against animal abuse reveal a level of vitriol rarely aimed at any other group of social justice campaigners.
They are assumed to be a bunch of unwashed, dope-smoking, dole-bludging criminals.
‘Extremist’, ‘terrorist’ and ‘militant’ are the stock standard descriptors churned out whenever animal advocates engage in various forms of activism that challenge us to shake up our thinking.
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After a maelstrom of mainstream media coverage and social media activism, the federal government has temporarily suspended the export of live cattle to Indonesia. The move follows the ABC’s documentary program Four Corners’ recent exposé of the live export trade in which shocking video footage obtained by Lyn White, director of Animals Australia, revealed cows being tortured to death in a slow and agonising manner.
The distressing images, which depicted barbaric practices that included whipping the cattle, gouging their eyes and slashing their tendons, raised the ire of so many people across the country that Animals Australia’s website collapsed from the sheer volume of traffic on the night the program screened.
Social media networks Facebook and Twitter quickly became campaign tools utilised by meat-eaters and vegans alike who united in protesting the horrendous cruelty inflicted on Australian cattle: within a week, more than 200,000 people had signed lobby group GetUp’s petition calling on the Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig to ban the export of live cattle to Indonesia and phase out the live export trade all together within three years, and independent MPs and the Greens introduced private members bills to ban all live exports to the country.
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It’s been a weird year for weather. Irrigators who haven’t been careful with what they wished for have had their biggest watery dreams overflow. “We need the rain” quickly morphed into “... but not that f..king much!”.
Still, there is one tiny group of Australians that has risked drowning not in floodwaters but in its own salivations as each new wave of rain fuels mounting excitement: the nation’s duck shooters.
Ducks love water and rain acts like an aphrodisiac to shooters. They are probably hard at it right now on a small patch of water near you. For people with a modicum of compassion, this brings the joy of ducklings, but duck shooters have other plans.
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We like to think of ourselves as a nation of animal lovers.
We bay for blood when a woman throws a cat in a bin in the UK, or a team of huskies is massacred in Canada, and are brought to tears when a Queensland hero risks his life in the floods to save a kangaroo from drowning.
Yet every single day there are stories in the shadows we miss.
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An event the size of a World Cup will always have surprises but a few weeks ago it must have been impossible odds that at the end of the tournament it would be a cephalopod, not a player, that everyone would be talking about.
Paul the octopus is a bigger global star than Andres Iniesta, the man who scored the winning goal deep in extra time to win Spain their first World Cup.
And Paul should now be allowed to stay in his tank. Since his predictions started making headlines last month the world’s most media-savvy animal rights campaigners PETA have been arguing Paul should be set free. What a bunch of killjoys.
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