Collaborative advocacy: framing the interests of animals as a social justice concern
In 2006, the Sydney Morning Herald published an opinion piece by a federal Labor MP, Tanya Plibersek, called 'The Fuss Over Thai Elephants Misses The Point'. In criticising the response of animal advocates to the importation by Taronga and Melbourne zoos of 8 Asian elephants, Plibersek wrote, in part: It seems bizarre to be preoccupied with the fate of eight elephants when Thailand faces challenges such as environmental destruction on a grand scale, and a sex industry that relies at least in part on the exploitation of children_ The shocking treatment of a cargo of 55,000 live sheep stranded on the Carma Express in the Persian Gulf in 2003 prompted an outpouring of emails and letters to members of Parliament. The treatment of those sheep was disturbing and showed that Australia should preferably be exporting slaughtered and processed meat, rather than live animals. Also shocking is the contrast between the hundreds of emails about those sheep, and the mere dozens most MPs received after the sinking of the SIEV-X in October 2001 and consequent drowning of 353 people. Do we really care more about animals than people? It's good to treat animals humanely. It's more important to treat humans so
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