Nothing as it seems at the Royal Easter Show
The Sydney Royal Easter Show will do its best to deceive the children and even adults who attend. It will present an idyllic but inaccurate portrait of the ways in which farmed animals are confined, tormented, and killed. A handful of prize-winning animals will be put on display who will temporarily receive a respite from the routine cruelty experienced by factory-farmed animals. For millions of others – and many of the ones on show, once they are returned to the farm – human greed is the only concern governing their lives.
People attending the show usually have no idea that, in NSW, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 specifically excludes "stock" animals from most of its provisions. Yet the show presents children with the fantasy that all animals are treated with kindness and respect. Then they are encouraged to eat these animals in their hot dogs, hamburgers, and steak sandwiches.
When children are invited to "pat a chick", they are not told that it is standard procedure for millions of male chicks to be discarded by being minced alive or suffocated because they don't lay eggs. Nor are they told that both pigs and chickens are confined to tiny cages before slaughter. Cows are devoted mothers, but their babies are torn away from them within hours of birth so that humans can steal their milk. Lambs may be "mulesed" (that is, the skin is cut from their hindquarters), and later, they are often savagely beaten during shearing. Animals bred for their meat are slaughtered while still little more than babies.
Of course, none of this will be shown at the Easter show. If the show really aims to educate the public about agriculture, it should reveal the living nightmare that animals endure before ending up on humans' plates.
Aussies can’t ignore the South Sudan famine
Right now 26 million people in East Africa are at risk of starvation.
This is the equivalent of every woman, child and man in Australia regularly going hungry.
Famine is very serious.
It is only declared when four out of every 10,000 children die each day and one in three people are so malnourished they are too weak to go to school or work.
If famine were declared in Australia, 1700 children would die from starvation every single day.
This is a crisis that cannot be ignored. Over time, we’ve become almost immune to hearing about food in Africa. It’s easy to scroll by images of hardship in your Facebook feed to something that makes you smile instead. But this time, we can’t scroll past.
If you’re old enough to remember the 1984 famine and Live Aid, then you must understand that this is teetering on the edge of chaos on a larger, more profound scale.
Right now, conflict is making it very hard to gain access to the famine declared region in South Sudan, Unity State. But once the door opens, and the TV crews arrive, we will begin to see just how horrific this is. We already have reports of children eating weeds and water lilies to survive.
The good news is that Plan is working in South Sudan, right now, handing out food and protecting girls and women from being abused, doing all we can to keep children at school as food becomes harder to come by and children are forced to forage.
The UN estimates that it requires $4.4 billion is needed to stop famine spreading to other countries in Eastern Africa. Plan International intends to raise $40 million to help do our part.
We can avert this crisis from becoming worse, but the time to act is now.
www.plan.org.au/give/appeals/south-sudan-famine or call 13 75 26.