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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (18 November) . . Page.. 5747..

No longer having sow stalls is a small step in the overall battle to undo all the cruel and inhumane factory farming systems we have set up over the last 50 years or so. It is a small step, but it is an important one.

What is most interesting about the move today by pig farmers is that it shows how positive action by a single jurisdiction can then have positive repercussions throughout Australia. In June this year Tasmania became the first state to legislate a phase out of sow stalls. Restrictions will begin in 2014, with a full ban by 2017. Tasmania acted alone, even though no other states were on board. But now others are following suit. The whole industry are working together to improve animal welfare.

I would draw this specifically to the attention of the government, who refuse to phase out battery hen farming in the ACT. One of the primary reasons for this, they say, is that it will not make any difference; it will not work if the ACT goes it alone. However, the Tasmanian sow stall example is evidence that that is just wrong.

Members may also have heard that Coles supermarkets have also agreed to phase out pork from farms that use sow stalls. They made this announcement in July. It looks like Coles too were inspired by Tasmania's solo move to phase out these stalls. Today Coles have gone a step further and joined Woolworths in agreeing to cease selling their own brand of cage eggs. This is the result of a growing awareness in the public of the need, and consumer pressure, for more ethical food production. Probably the only sad thing about this is that every step forward by these retailers actually leaves the ACT further and further behind.

As members would know, I feel strongly that there is much more that should happen in terms of the way we use animals for food production. It is a terrible system that sees millions of animals suffer, and that is kept largely hidden away from society.

But today I would like to offer my congratulations to the retailers and industry that are taking some steps forward. And at the same time I would like to urge the government to take a good look at what is happening. It needs to reconsider its persistent but outdated refusal to make changes to the factory farming operations in our own city.


MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (6.00): I am pleased to be speaking this afternoon on the result of a motion that was passed in this Assembly in the last sitting week. It was a motion that I put up to recognise the terrible past practices of forcible removal of babies from unwed mothers, particularly between the 1940s and the 1980s. This happened right across Australia.

Over the last so many years there has been a gathering movement of people to say that we do need to inquire into this particular issue and to then look at issuing an apology. An apology was issued by the Western Australian parliament last month and it obviously has been picked up by other jurisdictions that are looking carefully at this issue.

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