Compiled by Tracey Lofthouse

The ACT government has some explaining to do. An annual kangaroo kill takes place on the basis these animals allegedly overgraze and damage the ecosystems that support threatened species. At Gungaderra Nature Reserve, where the kangaroo cull takes place, cows have deliberately been introduced “to reduce plant material and improve habitat for threatened species”.  -Chris Doyle, Gordon
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Once again,   thousands of Australian animals have been subjected to extreme cruelty in the Middle East. Why  are exporters who are blatantly breaking export laws not being held to account?

It is a shameful society that allows such avoidable suffering to continue. Effective and permanent changes to the live export industry are needed immediately.  –  Lesley Wallington, Yarralumla

Animal cruelty
I attended the rally in Canberra on Saturday protesting against the appallingly cruel live export of animals from Australia based on dubious economic premises. Apparently, no more than 7per cent of the animals produced for meat by Australian farmers are sent for live export. Yet, the federal government insists in encouraging this trade, rather than improving the viability of the far less cruel export meat trade, where animals are killed in Australia.

However, I think the issue that astonished me most arising from the speaker’s presentations at the rally was the government’s inaction in the face of some live-export companies’ blatant disregard for our laws.

Despite the government’s assurances, it is obviously impossible to monitor treatment of all Australian animals sent overseas for slaughter. And, despite threats to do so, it appears an equally impossible step for the government is to take to court live-export companies that ship to countries that do not comply with Australia’s standards for treatment of animals. This inaction continues, even with calls by some in the industry for the government to enforce its live-animal export regulations.

As one speaker put it, minister Barnaby Joyce said no one is above the law when he challenged film star Johnny Depp bringing his dogs into Australia outside customs rules. How then is it that when it comes to the cruel live exports of Australian animals, the companies concerned that flagrantly disregard existing Australian laws are not penalised?

Turning a blind eye to this blatant law breaking seems to boil down to the major political parties’ primary motivation apparently being not to disrupt powerful interests.

What I call team LIBOR – Liberals and Labor – less and less represent the interests of ordinary community members in favour of powerful lobby groups.  –  Geoff Pryor, Kambah

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Sharks not baddies
Sharks are not the villains the media are making them. How ridiculous that people go into the water knowing there could be sharks where they are supposed to be. This is typical of the arrogance of man. If you do not want to encounter sharks, stay out of the areas where they are.  – Julie Gray, Burra, NSW

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28 Dec
Scant ham no calamity
I read with some bemusement the complaints of shoppers over the big Coles and Woolworths Christmas letdown (“Coles and Woolworths slammed for Christmas supply shortage”, December 24).

While a variety of foodstuffs were in short supply, it seems it was the lack of Christmas ham that aroused the most ire. Apparently, it isn’t Christmas without a succulent ham.

Does it not seem that Christmas cheer and goodwill are in short supply when an animal that suffers is killed for nothing more than to save someone’s Christmas lunch from the disaster of “no ham”?

About 5 million pigs are slaughtered every year in Australia, and more than 90 per cent of these pigs are factory farmed with all the horror that entails, yet the best we can do is collectively moan that more pigs weren’t killed for Christmas.

Our pork industry promotes the consumption of pigs and desensitises us to their suffering with the trite “Get some pork on your fork” advertising slogan.

I say instead, “Let your pork walk”.  – Graeme McElligott, Isabella Plains

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26 Dec
Cruel consumerism
Mike O’Shaughnessy’s letter (“The cruelties of meat”, December 20) reflects upon a remarkable schism in societal attitudes to one of the biggest issues in animal welfare in modern Australia.

While many argue that we evolved to eat meat, the truth is that our behaviour is anything but natural. Sadly, almost no one needs to eat meat in Australia today. We do it because we like it.

Eating is a major entertainment with untold millions of dollars spent pursuing gustatory pleasures. And in the process we have industrialised livestock farming and slaughter.

As a result, huge numbers of animals no different from our family pets suffer awfully for a moment’s enjoyment. As Mike observes, people will exclaim in horror at the ill treatment of a dog, yet turn not a hair at the awful fate of the pig who provided the pork on their plate. It is to our shame that in this particular part of our moral and ethical frameworks we have progressed not at all as a thoughtful and caring society.  – Graeme McElligott, Isabella Plains

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19 Dec
The cruelties of meat
It’s easy to take a narrow view of animal abuse (“Increase in animal cruelty cases a concern for the territory”, Editorial, December 13) while the majority of us continue to abuse millions of animals every year for unnecessary foods.

It’s no more cruel to dump kittens in a bin than it is to dump millions of baby male chicks in a bin to be gassed because they have no value to the egg industry. And they are possibly the lucky ones, the others are minced alive.

The burning of a dog is horrendous, as is the burning of pigs’ lungs and eyes by the CO2 bath used to stun them prior to slaughter. And as was shown recently in Victoria, some of those five million pigs killed each year for food also get tortured with electric prods on their way to slaughter.

Via the dairy industry, we separate newborn calves from their mothers so we can continue to take mum’s milk for ourselves. The calves are often slaughtered as they have little commercial value.

Our continued delusion that we need eggs, meat and dairy in our diets means that millions of animals suffer and die needlessly every year. The fact that so many animals have been seized, surrendered or rescued due to mistreatment by others is a concern, but I suggest we examine our own records first. -Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence

SMH letters November

Defending animal rights deserves applause
I agree with Paul Sheehan in his condemnation of factory farming in Australia (“Forget cancer: the worst thing about bacon is it used to be a pig”, October 29). It’s so easy to look at neatly packed meat in a supermarket and remain ignorant of the appalling conditions in which animals live and die. Our society is really only on the brink of awareness of the needs and rights of animals. I salute those brave and strong enough to fight for them. – Julie Aysom Casula

It is wonderful to see Paul Sheehan has taken up the battle for animal welfare where the venerable Sam de Brito left off. I became a vegetarian when those “ag-gag” laws were introduced. If I eat meat, I want to know it is produced humanely. The ag-gag laws are conclusive proof that the meat industry has something awful to hide.   – Nazife Bashar Marrickville

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Vegans’ options broaden after lobbying
So after intense lobbying, vegans will now be able to enjoy a Guinness (“Stout campaign gets to the guts of the matter”, November 6). They can now happily go to the football or cricket and have an ale and a pie knowing that neither have any animal content at all.  –  Peter Miniutti Ashbury

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