On Sunday 15 April 2012 at 1pm an estimated two to three hundred people attended a rally outside Sydney Town Hall to protest against live animal exports.
The facebook public event page called ‘Ban Live Export – Sydney Rally’ had 222 people down as ‘Going’ with 61 people down as ‘Maybe’.
The speakers stood on a small stage in front of a sign from Sentient - The Veterinary Institute for Animal Ethics. The organisation has a vision of ‘A world where animals are treated with empathy and respect.
The speakers at the event included Luke Sullivan (Australian Artist), David Shoebridge (Politician), Emma Hurst (Animal Liberation NSW), Phillip Hall (Animal Liberation NSW) and Dr Adele Lloyd (Sentient).
The main speaker, who introduced the other speakers, was Luke Sullivan. Speaking first he talked about the cruelty involved, “…it is difficult to imagine a more evil act being perpetrated by a government. The suffering of these animals is unimaginable. But what I would like to say to you most firmly is, that when you really think about this issue, it is not about the horrendous cruelty of the Indonesians in those abattoirs. It is not about the terrible animal handling practices and culture of the Middle East. It is about us - about us as a people, us as a nation, us as Australians. What do we want to be part of? What do we want to be complicit with?”
Luke Sullivan. Ban Live Exports - Sydney Rally. Sunday 15 April 2012.
David Shoebridge, a Greens Member of the NSW Upper House was the first guest speaker. He paid respect to the aboriginal elders both past and present of the land upon which they were standing. “But I would also like to talk about the mere fact of the live animal export trade, because the way we as humans and as a human society treat those creatures who are absolutely at our mercy is the ultimate mark for how we have developed as a human society. If we come together and pass laws, allow for practices that treat our fellow creatures, our fellow sentient creatures with such gross inhumanity, utterly indifferent to the fact that they may have two months of torture on a boat to the Middle East on the way to a tortured end to their sorry, miserable lives, then what does that say for us as a people? What does that say for us as a nation? It is a mark - an indelible mark of shame on us if we don’t stand up and end this cruel and inhuman export of our fellow sentient creatures whether they are sheep or cattle or otherwise.”
David Shoebridge. Ban Live Exports - Sydney Rally.
Emma Hurst spoke about the protestors’ aims:
“Our goal is to stop these exports and to stop this cruelty right now!”
The government has failed these animals, but we, as the Australian public will not! Attempts to sweep the images of this cruel industry under the carpet are futile. We will not stop fighting; we will always be the voice for these animals, until live exports are banned!” - the protestors clapped and a dog protestor barked.”
Phillip Hall said, “As I stand amongst you today a spectrum of emotion radiates from the crowd. We are confounded as we ask: “Why are we gathered here, yet again to talk about live export?” We are distressed as footage continues to emerge of sheep and cattle, abused and slaughtered, mercilessly in Indonesia and the Middle East. We are angry that we can emanate a collective voice, so direct and so loud, yet still be ignored, frustrated that many of our local MPs can express their good conscience, but not vote with it.”