By Nick and Katie
Katie’s bit – the personalised, passionate part
For anyone assuming I would vote for the Animal “Justice” Party because I believe in animal rights and social justice, you’re wrong. This is the party that preferences the Liberal party. Their candidate attacked me and destroyed the animal rights group I was with, leaving me in a deep depression. One of their people said they would support homophobic legislation if it meant passing their animal welfare Bill. The worst kind of vegans are those who only care about animals and not any other social justice causes.
Nick’s bit – the impersonal, boring part
Preferencing the Liberal Party
The Animal Justice Party ‘supporting the re-election of Jason Wood [from the Liberal party] in the seat of La Trobe’ is a good example of their single issue, “it’s all about the animals” approach. They argue that they have done this because he supports a ban on the import of hunting trophies from hunting in Africa (hardly a controversial position in the West) and because he supported legislation to stop animal testing of cosmetics in Australia. This is despite the fact that Labor and the Greens also support this legislation along with the Liberal and National Coalition – it is going to get through anyway. Nevertheless, they ‘will preference him over his rivals’. This is because they argue that: ‘Any politician that supports decent treatment of animals, regardless of party, deserves our support’ (my italics).
This support is despite his atrocious voting record on human rights and social justice issues, which you’d expect from a Liberal party politician:
- Voted very strongly against increasing scrutiny of asylum seeker management.
- Voted very strongly against implementing refugee and protection conventions.
- Voted very strongly against increasing protection of Australia’s fresh water.
- Voted very strongly for privatising government assets.
- Voted very strongly against increasing funding for university education.
- Voted very strongly against extending government benefits to same-sex couples.
- Voted very strongly for decreasing availability of welfare payments.
I guess all of this is beside the point for a party that solely focuses on (non-human) animals – humans are animals too! These issues are not even raised as concerns for the Animal Justice Party, who focus solely on his attitudes towards non-human animals. Interestingly, Wood’s voting record also shows a complete disregard for the environment:
- Voted very strongly against a carbon price.
- Voted very strongly against increasing marine conservation.
- Voted very strongly for unconventional gas mining.
Crossovers between Different Issues
Wood’s voting record on these policies affects not just the environment as a whole but non-human animals specifically, who are harmed and killed as a result of environmental impacts such as climate change and loss of habitat. This demonstrates the crossover between environmental and animal rights issues. Indeed, there are strong links between all social justice issues, including human rights issues as well.
We care deeply about non-human animals but unlike the Animal Justice Party, that is not our single focus. We also see how the oppression of non-human animals shares similarities with and intersects with other forms of oppression, which we also view as important issues in their own right. For more on why we support an intersectional approach to animal advocacy, which views other issues such as human rights and environmental issues as also important, you can hear our talk ‘Intersectionality in Practice’ or listen to episode 93 of our podcast, which includes this talk and further discussion on intersectionality:
Policies Towards Non-Human Animals
Any party’s policies towards non-human animals are going to be limited within the current animal welfare framework, including the Animal Justice Party. They focus on ‘the phase out of factory farming’ and ‘the rapid phase out of live export and the slaughter of animals without pre-stunning for any reason; including religious beliefs’. So basically we’re left with the “humane” slaughter of animals, which we think is nowhere near enough to take the interests of non-human animals seriously – cutting their life short is a harm in itself. Their position on this is understandable, as no party will gain any traction calling for a complete end to animal slaughter. However, despite some important exceptions such as mentioning plant-based diets and opposing the kangaroo cull, their current policy for the vast majority of non-human animals who are killed by humans, which is for food, is the same as parties like the Greens – more “humane” slaughter.
The Animal Justice Party has (very slightly) better policies towards non-human animals than progressive parties like the Greens. However, it would only make sense for us to vote them if non-human animals were our singular focus. That is why we will be voting for progressive parties whose current policies towards non-human animals are inadequate (as are the Animal Justice Party’s), but who, unlike the Animal Justice Party, have strong positions on a wide range of other issues we care about, such as opposing the horrible treatment of refugees, addressing economic inequality and protecting the environment.
How We’re Voting This Election
1. Socialist Alliance
2. Australian Progressives
3. The Greens
4. Australian Sex Party
5. Pirate Party
6. Drug Law Reform
House of Representatives:
1. HODGINS-MAY Steph – The Greens
2. McKENZIE-KIRKBRIGHT Levi – Drug Law Reform
3. VON DOUSSA Henry – Marriage Equality
4. DANBY Michael – Australian Labor Party
5. SMYTH Robert Millen – Animal Justice Party
6. HOLLAND Peter – Independent
7. GUEST Owen – Liberal
8. MYERS John B – Independent
Why We’re Voting This Way
We discuss why we’ve ordered the parties in this way on episode 138 of our podcast: