Rich in natural resources, Australia is a major exporter of agricultural products, particularly wheat and wool, minerals such as iron-ore and gold, and energy in the forms of liquefied natural gas and coal. Protection of the environment however is still a major political issue, and despite the Governments ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 2007, Australia's carbon dioxide emissions per capita are among the highest in the world, lower than those of only a handful other industrialised nations. A ‘carbon tax’ was introduced in 2012 and helped to reduce Australia's emissions but was scrapped in 2014. Since the carbon tax was repealed, emissions have again continued to rise.
Despite being known as ‘the lucky country’, rural areas of this great nation still experience similar challenges to that of developing nations. Precious resources like water are scarce and infrastructure for delivery of utilities such as electricity are limited or non-existent. Shockingly, when it comes to animal welfare and environmental protection though, Australia is not so lucky, and shares the same issues facing many developing nations. These include:
- Ineffective laws regarding protection of habitat and the environment (logging, mining, commercial fishing, seaside ports, ocean dredging)
- Ineffective or unenforced laws protecting wildlife
- Sluggish action with regards to closing down factories and intensive farming facilities where cruelty occurs
- Limited financial support from State and Federal Governments to conservation and protection agencies
- Cruel practices condoned by State and Federal Governments (Live export trade, sow stalls, caged battery hens, killing of male calves in dairy farming, killing of roosters in egg farming, hormone fed chickens and other cruel farming practices)
- Legal culling of many species (camels, wild horses, koalas, pigs, feral cats, wild dogs, rabbits, cane toads and kangaroos)
- Governments refusal to pass bills in Parliament necessary to protect native flora and fauna
- Deliberate cruelty towards animals
- Keeping wildlife as illegal pets
- Indifference about animals resulting in harm
Thankfully social media is playing a major role in exposing inhumane practices towards animals in Australia, and changing attitudes are slowly bringing about change. Unfortunately, the current Government refuses to acknowledge that climate change is occurring and openly states that current practices regarding animal welfare are satisfactory.
Thus, despite being one of the wealthiest economies in the world, there is still much work to be done in the protection and conservation fields, and Love Volunteers is committed to supporting our wonderful partners in this courageous endeavour.