Making kind choices in your everyday life.

Campaigning

Rallying against wrong

Posted by on Aug 9, 2015 in Campaigning | 0 comments

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has – Margaret Mead

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Yesterday I went to my second ever rally. I did feel proud of myself as shouty shouty rallies are not really my thing – I do not covet public attention – and am more likely to whisper my thoughts, or write about them, rather than shout / chant them on one of the main streets of Sydney. There are issues, though, which get me so fired up in regards to their total un-justness and down right wrong-ness, that they demand a step outside of the comfort zone. The issue which brought me to this rally is one of those. So, chant (albeit softly) I did, wore some very protest worthy “gag” tape across my mouth and held a placard (Go me !!).

On a similar vein as to what brought a couple of hundred health professionals in front of Town Hall last month to protest against proposed laws to prevent them from speaking out against atrocities in detention centres to asylum seekers, the rally I attended was to protest against proposed legislation to “gag” whistle blowers from speaking out against cruelties in agribusiness. The proposed “Ag Gag” legislation would make it impossible (and, in some cases, unlawful) for people to speak out and /or gather evidence about such cruelty.  The government’s misleading title of “Criminal Code Amendment (Animal Protection) Bill” would make such revelations as the recent live baiting scandal in the greyhound industry never see the light of day and the brave souls who captured the footage / evidence would be the ones to be punished rather than the perpetrators. Wrong on so many accounts. Just when you think our government could not get anymore morally bankrupt, the likes of Barnaby Joyce, Chris Back and Niall Blair are actively pushing for this Bill. In a world where the consumer is increasingly demanding transparency about where our food comes from, they are desperately trying to keep the hideous conditions which factory farmed animals exist in hidden to protect their big business agriculture cronies. Or, as more succinctly put, a quote from the rally ‘the reason activists are a “threat” isn’t that they are breaking windows, they are making them”, says it all.

As many wonderful people in the past have stood up and said no to all the outrageous things which once existed (slavery, homosexuality being illegal, indigenous people and women being unable to vote are a few which come to mind), there is something to be said for making the time to turn up, be loud, don an aptly sloganed t-shirt and show your contempt in person. It educates the public (so many passersby took flyers or stood and listened to the speakers) and, I hope, shames the government by having educated and articulate speakers tearing to shreds their ridiculous proposals, in a very public forum.

If you want to know a little bit more about Ag Gag (and ways to voice your disdain about it) and what it could mean for Australia, here are some interesting links.

Voiceless article defining Ag Gag in Australia

Animal Australia’s petition against Ag Gag 

US Will Potter’s intriguing site detailing everything there is to know about Ag Gag (his book “Green Is the New Black” is a great, but scary, read)

Let’s hope that those wanting to implement this Bill in NSW have the same lack of success as Idaho did in recent days where Ag Gag laws were deemed unconstitutional and thrown out.

With so many worthwhile, current issues out there worth fighting for (gay marriage, coal seam gas, action on climate change, refugees, big mines in pristine areas…the list goes on) I think that attending a rally in person is a great, empowering thing to do. Plus, people power WORKS . Even if it’s something a bit offbeat which you have to attend on your own (like I did !) as none of your friends are into it (or not enough to give up their Saturday mornings for anyway), you will be surrounded by like minded people who “get” you and your cause.

Greens MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi speaking at the rally

 

 

 

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Get Writing !

Posted by on Jun 16, 2013 in Campaigning | 2 comments

“We live in a democracy and if enough people get their…campaigning up with sufficient force, then they change markets, they change economics, they change the way that people do things” – Julia Gillard (in response to a question about Live Animal Exports).

 

 

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Image from Michal A. Kessler’s facebook page

 

Letter writing, whether it be to a politician, a shop or the newspaper, is a valuable tool and we should all do much more of it. It allows you to communicate your beliefs which may influence others or expose something which makes an impact on you to somebody else. It spreads the word and, if you are an eloquent, persuasive writer, your words can influence others…even politicians who ultimately make the rules we have to live by.

Conveying a message can be done in a few ways:

1. Having a letter published in a newspaper or magazine.

2. Contacting a company via facebook. I like this option as it is quick and your comments are displayed publicly.

3. Writing an email or snail mail letter to an organisation or individual. A letter in your own words will obviously have more impact than a pre formatted letter.

4. Writing a review (eg on Tripadvisor or Eatability).

 

 If you are on Facebook, I would urge you to “like” “A Letter a week” which encourages just that……

As does, the sublimely kind philanthropist Philip Wollen as part of  his wise “list of daily dos and dont’s“, stating ” Write at least one letter to the media or a politician every week. It doesn’t have to be brickbat – a bouquet is fine too.”

Think about something which has really raised some passion in you recently and write a message accordingly. For some ideas….

– Do you feel unhappy about unsafe work conditions which recently led to the deaths of hundreds of Bangladeshi factory workers in a factory fire whilst making clothes for Westerners ? If so, why not write a letter to your favourite clothing label to see if they have signed up to “The Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord”.

– In light of yet more recent horrors being uncovered for Australian cattle in overseas abattoirs, you may wish to question Joe Ludwig, write to your MP or find out what the opposition leader’s view of Live Animal Export is (in short, it is shameful). Animals Australia provide a very easy link to enable you to write to your MP with the option to use a pre-formatted letter if you are short on time.

– My recent posts may have provided some fodder for a letter to :

* Ask Minister of Primary Industries, currently Katrina Hodgkinson, why mother sows can be immobilised for months at a time in cages or why it is legal in Australia for dairy calves to be denied any food or water for up to 30 hours.

* ask your local supermarket to stock more free range products.

* Demand CCTV in slaughterhouses by following link the here :

If your letter writing needs some fine tuning, there are some good tips here on “How to write a letter to a politician“.

My “letters of the week” this week have a taken the form of :

* A facebook message to cosmetic company Jurlique to express my dismay at their decision to sell their products in China despite the fact that ALL cosmetics in China have to be tested on animals. Basically they are selling their soul.

* A Tripadvisor review of a hotel I recently stayed at in Bali, favourably reviewing my stay but pointing out that I would like to see them install a water dispenser, as other hotels we stayed at had, to reduce the need for so many plastic bottles (30,000,000 plastic bottles are purchased each month in Bali !)

* A facebook message to Philippine Airlines to let them know that I would not consider flying with their airline whilst they continue to transport primates from Indonesia to the US for cruel animal testing. They are the only airline in the world to do so.

This week, the Australian Farmer’s Federation are on my hit list for bullying Coles and Animals Australia into ceasing the sale of the “Make It Possible” (against factory farming) bags.

What has made an impact on you this week which would inspire you to put pen to paper ?

 

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