Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1928 ..
MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, I would like to address a question to Mr Humphries as Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning. Is the Minister aware of the action by certain members of Animal Liberation last week in which they targeted Parkwood Eggs, which incidentally employs a number of my constituents, as part of a protest against battery hen farming? Can the Minister tell the parliament how the Government has responded to this action?
MR HUMPHRIES: I thank the member for his question, and I am pleased that I am appropriately attired to answer it, Mr Speaker. Last Friday activists from Animal Liberation raided Parkwood Eggs in West Belconnen. Members will be aware that 14 of them chained themselves to cages. Four were arrested for trespass and 10 left the premises after being directed to do so by the police. This is the second childish and immature stunt performed by Animal Liberation in recent weeks.
On 15 September they released a video claiming that it was taken inside Parkwood Eggs. An investigation by the Australian Federal Police and animal welfare inspectors from my department could not substantiate that allegation. Indeed, Parkwood themselves firmly denied that that footage had been taken inside their premises. On that day inspectors visited Parkwood Eggs and reported to me that Parkwood were complying with the conditions set out in the Code of Practice for Domestic Poultry under the Animal Welfare Act. That code, as members would be aware, is an adoption of the National Code of Practice for the Welfare of Domestic Poultry. That comes in the context of the animal welfare legislation which, as members would be well aware, is the toughest legislation of its kind in the country. Last Friday, 20 October, inspectors visited Parkwood Eggs as a result of the raid and found again that the facilities complied with the code of practice in every respect. This time they were accompanied by veterinary inspectors from the RSPCA who conducted their own inspection and agreed with the conclusions reached by government inspectors.
Mr Speaker, I am in some confusion as to what point Animal Liberation are trying to make. Originally, at the time of the 15 September raid, members of Animal Liberation made the point to the media that it was not the case that Parkwood Eggs were breaching legislation; that they were, in fact, complying with the legislation, but the legislation itself was not tough enough, or the code under which it operated was not tough enough. Last Friday activists on behalf of Animal Liberation claimed that the code was not being complied with and the legislation was being breached. I am not really sure what point they are trying to make about this. On both scores, Mr Speaker, I have to say that I think they are wrong. I want to table the reports of 15 September and 20 October which make it very clear that Parkwood is amongst the best performers in this country when it comes to complying with animal welfare legislation, particularly codes of practice that deal with the care of domestic poultry. I table those two reports.