13 October, 2016

Premier Baird fails his own test on animal cruelty with shark net and greyhound backflips

Premier Mike Baird’s record on animal welfare and the environment is in tatters after a week of backflips that will significantly increase animal suffering and environmental harm.

“If Mike Baird is opposed to animal cruelty as a personal moral conviction, as he has often claimed, he would have stood firm on greyhounds and shark nets,” Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said.

“While shark nets might make politicians feel safer in the face of fear, the scientific evidence shows shark nets do not make our beaches safer for people.

“Instead, shark nets are death traps for all manner of harmless marine life and will not provide the protection Mr Baird is promising.

“We condemn Mr Baird’s latest backflip as costly, ineffective and cruel.”

Ms Smolski said if the Premier was serious about reducing animal suffering, he would also backflip on his plans to introduce new laws to accelerate land clearing.

“Land clearing kills more than 200,000 mammals each year in NSW [1], many times the number of animals dying each year in the greyhound racing industry,” she said. “These proposed biodiversity laws will significantly increase animal suffering.

“Many of these animals die horrible deaths, fatally injured when their habitat trees are torn down, or starved to death because their food supplies have been destroyed.

“We are already losing about 10,000ha of bushland every year to land clearing under the existing laws. Loosening controls further would be catastrophic for our wildlife.

“Mr Baird says he has back-flipped on shark nets and greyhounds after ‘listening to the people’. Well if this is his guiding principle, he should listen to the 85% of people who made submissions opposing his proposed land clearing laws, including many farmers and leading science organisations.

“His so-called biodiversity laws have been designed to appease the National Party and big agribusiness. They have little to do with biodiversity conservation and everything to do with fast-tracking land clearing and property development.

“They further the short-term interests of property developers and big agribusiness, not the interests of communities and wildlife that depend on healthy soils, waterways and bushland for their long-term survival.”

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Forests and wildlifeMarine Conservation

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