Farming, Animal Welfare and Fisheries

Farming, Animal Welfare and Fisheries Policy

 

For the good health of all Australians, and as a matter of national pride, security and sovereignty, it is critically important that we have a secure, vibrant and healthy farming industry capable of supplying all our nation’s food needs.

It is a failure of policy and planning that we have allowed ourselves to be placed into a position where we have become reliant upon importation of substandard food goods.  It is completely unacceptable, and may well be tantamount to treason! Under the ASP debit tax policy, all existing taxation will be abolished except for import duties and tariffs.  This will have many positive benefits that will help rapidly restore local food production capacity, and therefore re-establish our national food security interests.

We make no apologies for our protectionist policies, which in this instance includes greatly increasing duties on imported food goods (especially on fresh/frozen produce and meat) such that it provides great stimulus and incentive for Australian farmers to fill the gap and meet the local market needs. 

Further stimulus to farming will come about as a result of the provisions in our private property policy, the abolition of council rates, land taxes and levies, and the provision of better infrastructure to rural farming areas, including better roads and rail, and a national drought proofing infrastructure project that will bring greater water security to farmers.

The ASP will go to no ends to support our farmers, however we expect that by implementing our tax, monetary, infrastructure and private property policies, and increasing import duties on food goods, there will be little need for any direct intervention into the farming sector in order to promote food security.

Beyond these general positions, we do have some specific policy points regarding agriculture, animal welfare and fisheries as defined below:

AGRICULTURE

As per ASP health and environment policies, we will be rapidly phasing out GMO’s, and heavily restricting the use of harmful toxic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Over a transitional period, we will require and assist farmers to switch to biological organic production methods as a minimum, but bio-dynamic and permaculture based farming as an ideal.  

The ASP will make every effort to ensure Aussie farmers are equipped with the right education, tools and finance to transition to these more holistic and environmentally friendly farming methods. These days there are a range of highly effective, safe and natural alternatives to deal with weeds and pests that farmers can take advantage of, so it is critical we move away from the use of carcinogenic (cancer causing) glyphosates and other toxic substances that have no place being used on our food supply.  

We do understand that it can at times represent a greater labour cost to be farming in these more eco-friendly ways, but we expect that the extra labour costs associated with it will be more than offset by virtue of our eliminating all existing taxation, rates and levies. Moreover, farmers can feel more at peace knowing that they are providing Australians with health enhancing products.

Even if the overall cost of food goods to the consumer are slightly increased, the average person will be so much better off financially under our economic policies that it won’t be a burden to them, and the extra cost will be worth it, because a public that eats organic and bio-dynamic produce will in fact become healthier, and therefore the dependence on the public health system will be reduced, as people live longer and healthier.

Ensuring that Australian agriculture transitions to biological farming, organic/biodynamic right across the board is in fact a fundamental aspect of our health policy, and how we intend on improving the health of the nation.  In this effort, we want to see the widespread use of natural and sustainable fertilisers (such as that created from vermiculture), natural weed killers, combined with adding a more broad spectrum mineral composition, and enzymes to improve the health of the soil, therefore improving the health of the plants, and therefore the health of the people who eat those plants.

Other points to note:

  • Farmers will have far more liberty to remove wooded areas to develop food production. Any necessary removal of trees by farmers will be more than offset by our massive tree planting campaign undertaken by the Environment Corps, and our plan to green the deserts.
  • Farmers will have more liberty to build dams, and may collect and have reasonable use to rainwater, with no charge or levies applied.  We will actively work with farmers to ensure a holistic approach to rain and ground water use is upheld that ensures the rights of neighbouring farms and properties are upheld, and the wider environment isn't harmed.
  • Farmers who require seasonal workers for picking / collection of produce, may apply to, and reimburse the Environment Corps for labour assistance as required.  A few weeks a year will be required of the Environment Corps volunteers to assist farmers with production, so that a ready labour force will always be available to help bring in the nation’s food supply.

 

ANIMAL WELFARE

The ASP genuinely believes in the need to ensure animals are treated humanely.  The most important reason for animals to be treated well, is ultimately because we believe people need to be treated well.  How a society chooses to treat its animals can often be a reflection upon how we treat each other as human beings, and so we must help to instil an attitude of kindness and respect toward animals, just as we need to treat each other with kindness and respect.

To help improve society’s attitude towards animals, where possible we will encourage schools to keep some smaller farm animals on school grounds, and have the students learn to tend to them, in as much as we will encourage schools to have the students participate in growing organic produce on school grounds. 

As an organisation that places the sanctity of human life above everything else, along with our right to be free, healthy and long lived, we must develop a culture of doing our utmost to protect our natural environment, and the living creatures that inhabit that environment, not for the sake of the environment itself, or even for the sake of animals, but for our sake, for the sake of humanity.  A healthy clean environment, with healthy fauna, leads to a great benefit for humanity.  It is for humans’ sake we wish to see animals well treated.

Another very important reason we need to treat our animals well, particularly animals that are destined to end up on our plate, is because we who eat the meat should have the best quality meat for the sake of our good health.  Animals that are poorly treated, sick, undernourished and stressed, will provide us with poor quality meat. 

Moreover, animals that are slaughtered in an inhumane and traumatic manner often have stress hormones pumping throughout their blood at point of death, which can then saturate the meat and lead to it becoming somewhat toxic and unfit for human consumption. We must ensure animals are slaughtered in the most humane manner possible, so that ultimately people, humanity, can benefit from healthier better quality meat. This is about humanity “reaping what we sow”. If we sow into keeping healthy happy animals, we will reap the benefits health wise when we eat of the meat provided.

Therefore, apart from developing and fostering a more caring attitude towards nature and all living creatures, to ensure we uphold animal welfare the ASP will do the following:

  • We must transition away from the widespread use of anti-biotics and growth hormones in livestock and fowl.  Just like people, animals need good nutrition to stay healthy, they do not need to be pumped full of chemicals that cause harm to the animals, and ultimately harm to people who eat the meat.  Therefore, the ASP will seek to prohibit the use of growth hormones, and ensure anti-biotics are only used as a last resort if animals are known to be sick, but even then most ailments in animals can be treated through quarantine and mineral feeds.
  • We will undertake research into determining the most humane slaughtering methods. It is important that emotion be put aside in pursuit of the truth in this respect, because there are perhaps some slaughtering methods that outwardly appear humane, but are not, and vice versa.  Additionally, the ways in which animals are treated leading up to the point of slaughter should be done in as stress free an environment as possible to reduce the trauma associated with the process.  Where relevant, we will work with religious certifiers to ensure humane slaughter methods are upheld.  There should be no exemptions, the same standards should apply across the board.
  • Working in conjunction with livestock exporters, we will work to ensure that best practice humane treatment of animals is upheld, both in transit, and at the final destination.  With respect to the requirements of our international neighbours for Australian meat, where possible we will try and reduce the need for live export, preferring to humanely process the meat here in Australia, supporting Australian jobs, whilst investing in the appropriate transport and infrastructure to bring the processed meats to our neighbours at an agreeable price, so that we can remain competitive in this market.
  • We will not arbitrarily prohibit grazing on public lands, state and national parks, but we will work holistically with famers to uphold their grazing rights.  In this effort, we will closely monitor the conditions and health of public lands, to ensure an appropriate balance is met that supports the both local ecology, and permits farmers appropriate access to these areas.
  • We will seek to completely phase out cage and barn chicken egg farms.  Over a transitional period, we will assist chicken farmers to transition to free ranging, both for chicken eggs and meat. 
  • We will regulate puppy farms. Any company engaging in the business of mass canine breeding will need to demonstrate that it is being done in the most humane way possible, allowing for larger open spaces (free ranging), providing for more comfortable and natural surroundings without constantly being locked up in barren cages, and allowing breeding dogs appropriate respite ie; not keeping them in a state of constant and endless cycles of gestation.

 

FISHERIES

Australia has one of the largest exclusive economic zones EEZ (maritime boarders) in the world, being 10.2 million square kilometres. We have exclusive access to huge ocean areas that could provide us with an abundance of fish, so we should not be relying on the importation of such large volumes of fish as we presently do.

We consider the Australian EEZ as public commons, that the bounty of fish stocks provided to us by nature should rightfully belong to all Australians, much in the same way as other Australian natural resources do.  Therefore, we will uphold a revised system of licensing for commercial fishing operators, whereby they will bid for fishing quotas. 

A portion of the funds generated by the license fees will be paid out to all Australian citizens in combination to the natural resource wealth dividends they will receive every year on their birthday. A portion of the funds will be set aside for research and study into sustainable management of our fisheries, to ensure Australia can extract the highest volume of fish without leading to overfishing and unsustainable loss of fish stocks.

We do however believe there is evidence that Australia could open up to a larger total annual fishing quota than we currently allow, there should be no reason why a nation of 24 million should rely on importation of such large quantities of fish when we have one of the largest EEZ’s in the world.  In bringing in the fish quota, we will not permit the use of super trawlers, since they cause needless environmental harm and often capture protected species.

As per the ASP defence policy, the capacity of our navy and air force will be greatly expanded, and will be tasked to allocate sufficient resources to ensure the integrity of our EEZ and maritime boarders are maintained, to ensure foreign fishing vessels are not accessing our waters, or people smugglers are attempting to reach the shore.  

Special Note:  Fishing licenses will cover "commercial" fishing.  The ASP will not require fishing licenses for individuals seeking to do some recreational fishing, especially if the fish caught is for their own sustenance.  However, this freedom should not be abused.  If private fishers are gaining a regular financial benefit from their fishing activities, they would need to seek some basic fishing permit.

 

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Comment by Phyllus on July 27, 2016 at 6:11

NZ and Canada have abolished live export. Canada was previously one of our main competitors, so was the main nation keeping Australia in fear of abolishing live export in the sense that if we abolished it, then they'd buy the animals from Canada instead. As it turned out, when the deal is "here's meat, not animals - take it or leave it" they chose to take it. Even back in the 1970's there were feasibility studies being run as to whether or not the live export trade could end. As it turned out, the lack of refrigeration in the consumer nations meant it was not feasible. That has changed since then.

Comment by Phyllus on April 9, 2016 at 11:02

no, in-vitro testing isn't embryonic testing. It simply means testing in a petri dish or test tube. In-vivo tests refer to testing in a body, be it animal or willing human test subject (hopefully voluntary). So yes, while I see that there could be issues with obtaining human blood or human body parts other than from people who donate their bodies to science post-mortem, generally it shouldn't be a huge issue. It mostly uses bacteria and microbes, as well as testing chemical reactions. But agree, we definitely shouldn't be forcing prisoners or anyone else to donate blood. Computer modelling is actually quite stunning in what they can do now, and it keeps getting better and better as our understanding of the human body gets more and more detailed and intimate. 

Comment by Daniel Huppert - ASP Founder on April 8, 2016 at 22:26
Good point Phyllus. Not too sure if in-vitro testing is something an enlightened humanity should be engaging in though.
Comment by Phyllus on April 8, 2016 at 19:37

I lied. I thought of something else about animal welfare, but not to do with farming or anything else. Can we ban animal testing for cosmetic/beauty products like Europe has, and look at other testing for medical testing? Like in-vitro tests, computer models (now are highly effective) etc? Animal testing isn't really as good as they say it is, other than for vet medicines for animals. Vioxx killed over 600,000 people because it was optimized for animal testing which made it unsafe for people. We have different bodies, different biochemistry and immune systems to animals. 

Comment by Phyllus on April 5, 2016 at 15:54

Just one thing to add: In QLD, I've seen that 70% of total landmass has been allocated as being able to be released for agriculture. What? I get that food is important, but really? That's insane. The way I see it is that if an area is sensitive from a conservation perspective, then it should not have been released for farming. It just creates headaches for everyone. And yes, that goes for all States. I mean, why sell land in good faith that it is farming land, and then turn around and say farmers can't actually farm it? I think as an interim policy, perhaps buying back land at proper prices for environmentally sensitive areas may need to be implemented prior to actually having clear boundaries set. 

Comment by Phyllus on March 29, 2016 at 1:33

people seem to forget that as organic farming and permaculture is becoming more popular, it's progressing and improving. Even the biggest detractors of organic farming know that it does have a lot of benefits, like reducing soil erosion. If it's possible to farm fertilizers that will help a lot with making organic far more viable on a mainstream scale, even in dry areas. In all honesty, while I worry about the right to clear could be a disaster, at the moment when farmers work with advisors and have a choice, they tend to not clear if they're advised not to, but now it's all bound in regulation a lot of farming seems to be happening in the Courts. And anything to decorporatize farms and return to family farming and smaller scale farming can only be a good thing. They tend to care about the land more. Taking off the financial pressure to overfarm, overclear and overstock head of livestock should really help a lot. 

Comment by Greg Abel on March 28, 2016 at 11:50

It would also be an idea to find out if the recipients at the other end of the live export trade would be willing to receive refrigerated/frozen meat instead of live. If not, they would probably look to other countries for live trade. If this were the case, a possible solution would be to become more price competitive by creating an interim subsidy to keep the end consumer price down. Once the wholesalers, retailers and consumers get used to the change from the live trade, the subsidy could be reduced and then withdrawn completely.
Just brainstorming out loud at the moment, not sure if my ideas are viable....just putting them out there.

Comment by Greg Abel on March 27, 2016 at 22:16

Wow. This is huge. A lot to take in. I'm pretty sure I agree with the majority of this policy. I'll have to re-read it a couple of times. I cringe at how my farming mates would react to this. We need these sorts of changes, but I fear a lot of resistance from the farming sector mainly due to reluctance to accept change. For example, herbicide use is like an addiction, any threat to take it away will result in a reaction of fear and anger. Maybe introducing a range of interim permits to use chems such as Glyphosate, Gluphosinate, Metsulphuron, 2,4-D etc might be advantageous during a transition phase. A detailed information campaign would be needed with credible, peer reviewed studies showing the irrefutable adverse health effects of each individual herbicide. (Farmers need evidence) A damn good, legally sound strategy would need to be created to counter the inevitable backlash from the big companies such as Bayer and Monsanto.
Like I said, a lot to take in. A lot of work to do. Finding ways to educate and get information out to the farming communities will be key. We need to find a good way to sell it.

Great draft policy, exciting stuff!

Comment by Phyllus on March 21, 2016 at 9:21

Dave, I think we all would.

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