Posted: Thu May 07, 2009 4:07 pm Post subject: Police Raid Animal Liberation Over Kangaroo Meat Protest
NSW and Queensland police have raided the offices of the animal welfare group, Animal Liberation, seizing documents and computer files in the latest development in a prolonged war over the slaughter of kangaroos and their export for human consumption.
The chief executive of Animal Liberation, Mark Pearson, said the warrant specified allegations that members of the group had wilfully contaminated carcasses for the purposes of causing "public alarm or loss", and of breaking into a house for the purposes of committing a serious indictable offence.
The allegations, which the group denied, were that group members had set about entering kangaroo chillers - containers in which carcasses were dumped after killing and kept cool before being moved to processing centres - and in the chillers they had put contaminated material to produce adverse quality test results.
Mr Pearson said that had not happened, but that there was no need to anyway, because tests commissioned by Animal Liberation and contained in a report by an Israeli-born ecologist and biologist, Dror Ben-Ami, showed high contamination in some samples.
Dr Ben-Ami's research, funded by another animal rights organisation, Voiceless, provided a damning report on the industry. He said: "This report exposes the realities of the kangaroo industry, which include extensive and alarmingly unhygienic practices, unacceptable suffering of young kangaroos and the manufacture of false hope that kangaroo harvesting will alleviate environmental degradation … "
The paper, just published, was seized by police last Wednesday. Lynda Stoner, communications officer for Animal Liberation, said nine police, led by a NSW detective senior constable and a Queensland detective-sergeant, spent five hours at the York Street premises.
Mr Pearson said Animal Liberation had gone into chillers in the killing areas of western Queensland, but the chillers were unlocked, and all the group had done was take swabs for analysis.
The campaign had been effective. Last year the Russian Federation had stopped 70% of kangaroo meat imports, because some of the meat had been found to be contaminated by chloroform. "There were carcasses with E. Coli and salmonella, there was some rotting and antibiotic spray," he said.
Mr Pearson said his initial concern was the cruelty of the shooting, which often did not result in clean kills and the slaughter of joeys. Dr Ben-Ami had taken that up in his report, saying that "every year some 440,000 dependent young kangaroos are either clubbed to death or left to starve after their mothers have been killed".
Mr Pearson said the Federal Government was trying to promote the export of kangaroo meat to China. The Herald asked for a response from the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke. His media adviser said the matter had been referred to the department.
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