This week The Australian, a Murdoch-owned media outlet, published an article attempting to discredit evidence of cruelty in the crocodile industry, brought to light by Kindness Project with footage provided by Farm Transparency Project.
In the article, quotes (virtually copied and pasted directly from the crocodile industry’s codes of practice) are attributed to Littleproud:

“I would like to reiterate Australia’s management of the commercial crocodile industry is firmly based on principles of sound science, animal welfare and environmental sustainability and the confidence I have in our framework and its regulation.”

It is important to note: this is not the first time Murdoch media has been used as a tool to minimise instances of animal cruelty in this country.

Despite Littleproud’s insistence that no cruelty is occurring in the footage released by Farm Transparency Project, the vision speaks for itself, and the Australian public – the people he supposedly represents – certainly disagrees with his claims.

On Australian factory farms, crocodiles are forced to live in tiny, barren concrete pens and wire cages that resemble nothing of their natural habitat. The codes of practice do not even require crocodiles to be afforded the length of their own body to move around in, denying them the ability to express any behaviours that come naturally to them.
At 2-3 years old crocodiles are stunned in their pens, dragged out as their bodies convulse, a bolt gun is shot through the top of their heads, a knife is then used to sever their spinal cord, before a rod is forced into the incision to scramble their brains.

Let’s dispel a myth

“I want to be clear that the Australian government and the Australian community take the welfare of all animals in this country seriously” -David Littleproud

It would certainly be wonderful to have confidence that instances of animal cruelty, and the welfare of animals is taken seriously in this country, but as the old saying goes: ‘actions speak louder than words’.

Australia has a long history of not only ignoring instances of animal cruelty brought to light by animal protection groups, but relentlessly targetting the individuals risking their lives and freedoms to expose said cruelty in an attempt to silence and intimidate them.

Here are just some of the many times animal cruelty has gone ignored in this country…

2012: Wally’s piggery/illegal slaughterhouse exposed for sledgehammering pigs in the head to stun them. 53 charges laid, but all later dropped due to pressure from the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

2013: Evidence of workers kicking, punching, throwing and beating turkeys inside Ingham’s NSW slaughterhouse. No charges laid.

2018 & 2020: Luv-a-duck (2018) and Numurkah turkey slaughterhouse (2020) exposed for improper stunning of ducks/turkeys, slaughtering them whilst fully conscious. No charges laid.

2019 & 2020: Illegal slaughterhouse exposed in 2019 for killing sheep without prior stunning. No charges laid. The same faciltiy was re-exposed in 2020. No charges laid.

2021: A Victorian rabbit farm and abattoir was exposed for keeping rabbits in horrifying conditions, illnesses left untreated, some even missing limbs with bone exposed on wire cages. No charges laid.

The list goes on, but we would be here all month if we were to list them all...

To add insult to injury

In addition to Littleproud’s futile attempts to erase the indisputable cruelty occurring on Australian crocodile farms, the co-owner of a Cairns crocodile farm told The Australian:

“The bottom line with crocodile farming is to have a successful farm, you have to have happy crocodiles. To successfully produce a premium crocodile skin, your crocodiles simply must have excellent hygiene, high quality food, and premium welfare. And if you don’t, you are completely wasting your time and shouldn’t be in the industry. It’s as simple as that.”

This is despite the industry’s historical insistence that crocodiles are not capable of complex emotions – that they are mindless killing machines, unable to experience suffering due to their lack of emotional capabilities.

So which is it? Are crocodiles now being considered emotional beings by the industry, and if so – what are they doing to make the crocodiles on their farms happy, and how are they measuring this happiness?

Some advice, take it or leave it…

Sorry David, but there is Little-to-be-proud of when it comes to Australia’s farming of saltwater crocodiles, and we won’t stop till these companies #DropCroc.

We suggest that instead of trying to normalise the cruelty going on in this industry, you take a look at our Northern Territory Crocodile Industry Transition Plan & start safeguarding the incomes of the people employed in this dying industry. You are responsible for them, and it is your job to ensure that when these brands eventually cut ties with the crocodile industry, no one is left behind. The fact is, we won’t stop till they #dropcroc.

Our first Global Day of Action for 2022 is set for February 5th, let’s come together and start the year off strong for crocodiles and make 2022 the year Hermès Drops Croc!

Author:
Alix Livingstone

Alix Livingstone is the Campaign Director of Kindness Project. Working in animal rights for the last four years, she has spent this time investigating, researching, writing, speaking, and educating on the different ways in which animals are exploited, particularly in our food system. Alix has a particular passion for advocating in the space where wildlife and farmed animals intersect and her work focuses closely on this area. Alix holds a Bachelor in Education and worked with children for a number of years whilst volunteering for animal protection groups, before having the privilege of working in animal rights full-time. Alix believes that the only way to dismantle the animal industrial complex is through advocating for all who are harmed by it; humans, non-human animals, and the planet alike. Alix trusts that through building community, empowering its members, and forging systemic solutions, a better world for all can be discovered.

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