It would come as no surprise to most that during the pandemic, pet ownership in Australia grew significantly.
Examination of spending on these pets reveals some alarming trends that have consequences beyond the backyard. An alarming number of these new pets are on antidepressant medication. They have rapidly become "one of the family".
Beware, as there is now a 30-billion-dollar industry that is constantly reinforcing the humanisation of animals.
Emotionally manipulating animal owners to maximise the spend per pet creates dollars for corporates, but will cause collateral damage to animal agriculture.
Over the last 20 years, animal rights organisations have cleverly pivoted to the tactic of using the humanisation of pets to advance their agenda of closing down animal agriculture, even though the concept of pet ownership is an anathema for them.
The new inner-city pet owners are their unwitting allies. The risks for animal agriculture are pretty obvious.
One of the points of difference in the upcoming state election is that state Labor wants to replicate the federal party and institute a state-based independent office of animal welfare.
The coalition is comfortable with animal welfare staying in the Department of Primary lndustries (where it should be).
The idea of an independent office is based on the premise that animal owners, especially animal agriculture, are fatally conflicted when dealing with welfare. This premise flies in the face of overwhelming evidence that productivity, profitability and welfare are inextricably linked. There is no disconnect.
The reality of the politics of the independent office is that it is a policy inspired by animal liberationists that are more interested in closing down animal agriculture than achieving best practice welfare outcomes for animals.
We have to keep regulators focused on welfare, not animal rights, and not be distracted by anthropomorphic bias reinforced by corporates pushing this pram.
A great case study is meat grading. The red meat industry has developed a brilliant grading system that, amongst a number of features, objectively measures dark cutting.
Dark cutting is essentially caused by stress the animal endured pre-slaughter. This objective measure has meant livestock producers and the entire supply chain have invested in minimising pre-slaughter stress.
Quality benefits result in more money in the product of supply chains that hit the specifications. I have enjoyed explaining, in detail, the win-win of this grading system to animal rights groups masquerading as welfare advocates.
I think a great test for any independent office is whether it is more interested in dark cutter rates or giving chickens the vote.
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