24th September 2010
Almost all of those commenting on the Advertiser website regarding the bludgeoning of a kangaroo have expressed outrage at the cruelty - and rightly so. The brutal killing of an inoffensive animal by Torquay College students was totally inexcusable and unjustifiable.
But how many of us brutally kill other inoffensive animals - albeit unthinkingly - on a regular basis? How many of us buy eggs?
If we buy eggs we routinely grind up day old male chicks by dropping them live into giant mincing machines.
Alternatively we gas or suffocate them - less gruesome but still cruel and terrifying.
We allow the females to have a longer life but it is certainly not a happy life.
We start by burning off the end of their beaks with red hot blades or lasers. As well as being an agonizing procedure this can result in chronic pain.
When the birds are old enough to lay eggs we force them to live in wire cages which are so small they can't even stretch their wings. Some become virtually "soldered" to the floor as their feet grow around the wire.
With up to 80,00 birds in a shed the air soon becomes laden with ammonia that constantly burns their eyes and lungs.
They suffer from runny sores, tumours, eye and ear infections and prolapses. Calcium depletion from continual egg laying, causes their bones to snap and they are feather pecked and cannibalized by their half crazed "cell mates". On top of all this we deprive them of all the things that chickens love to do such as scratching in the dirt, dust bathing and enjoying the sunshine.
At the tender age of eighteen months we kill them. Clamped by their ankles to a conveyor belt, they scream and struggle to no avail.
Those who succeed in avoiding the stunning bath and automated throat cutter die agonizingly from being simultaneously scalded and drowned.
Can any of us honestly say that our treatment of these birds is any less brutal than the treatment of the kangaroo?
How many of us buy milk? Those of us who do are responsible for slaughtering one million new born calves each year in Australia.
These beautiful babies are deliberately brought into the world - then killed - just so we can steal their baby milk. But our callousness doesn't stop here. After years of faithful "service" and repeatedly enduring the anguish of losing their calves, the mother cows meets the same cruel and terrifying fate as their babies.
Obviously if we buy meat we are responsible for inflicting immense suffering on animals too. Castration, tail docking, branding and dehorning are all carried out without pain relief. We transport animals for days without food and water in extreme heat and cold. And, of course, we subject them all to a violent and terrifying death.
The bludgeoning of a kangaroo at Anglesea was definitely a cruel and unjustifiable act, but isn't the way many of us treat these other animals every bit as cruel? Birds eggs, cows milk and animal flesh are not required for a healthy diet so there is certainly no justification for this cruel abuse. On the contrary, a diet of fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains and legumes is far better for our health.
If we regard ourselves as animal lovers - shouldn't we extend this love to all animals?