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Liberty, Cruelty, and Animals

By Steven Bailey 7 August 2014 34

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“There’s a poor animal with blood on its head and tears running down its face. Who did that to it? It’s lying in the dust and its wings are broken. Who broke its wings? Who cut off his hands so that it can’t shake the bars?” Edward Bond, Lear.

We live in a cruel world. Whether or not our lives are filled with the social justice and comforts of the First World, the world is nonetheless a very cruel place. Politically, cruelty is not the domain of the left wing or the right wing – both wings were clipped a long time ago. Our wings were clipped by a corporate establishment that broke the social fabric so yearned for by the world after World War II. I do believe that there is another war emerging. Unlike the Cold War, it won’t be between two broken wings – it will be between us and the one percent.  Whoever wins the war will determine the survival of humanity.

I enjoyed a healthy childhood in rural Australia, and for what I lacked from material wealth I gained with the richness that comes with an unrestricted and happy upbringing. Once, as a teenager, I ran away from home. I left on Friday afternoon, hopped on my motorbike, and camped out in an East Gippsland forest. I packed everything I needed including food and fuel; I also stole a rifle from my neighbour. On the Saturday night, I shot a wallaby in the head, attempted to cut out a tenderloin, cooked it on the fire, and thought about what I had just done. It died instantly – I knew that.

I returned on the Sunday afternoon. I was a little offended to learn that my parents did not realise that I had ‘ran away’, but forever comforted that I was always treated as an adult. Self-determination was something that developed in me naturally and not unconsciously. I knew that the world was a cruel place from an early age, and that cruelty is so often necessary for survival. But what I hate is the cruelty that is unnecessary, and I am scared by it.

At the tender age of seven I was handed a rifle to go on my first fox hunt. Etched in my mind is the image a poor cub dragging its head along the freshly ploughed earth with half of its snout blown off. I remember when it was my turn to cut the throat of a sheep but the knife was too blunt and I was too weak to make the kill quick – it died eventually. When an animal dies, you see its eyes, and its eyes see you. I didn’t want to do it, but I was a child and I was made to do it.

The were no tears in my eyes. Rather, I chose to keep the tears behind my eyes, perhaps so that one day I could make the world a better place with my vision clear and not blurred with hate or sadness.

If our wounds don’t kill us, our scars can thicken the skin.

I know many kind farmers – in fact the most influential and extraordinary person of my life was the farmer and sculptor, Rix Wright. But Canberra needs to know that animal cruelty is endemic in Australia. Children learn to bludgeon animals for fun; the rapid corporatisation of rural Australia has seen the torture and killing of our animals with the mechanical efficiency of Nazi concentration camps. It is for the progressive side of politics to end this madness.  

I had an enlightening conversation with Animal Liberation Spokesperson Carolyn Drew yesterday. There was certainly more that united us than divided us. We agreed that a time must come when humans afford to the lives of our fellow animals the dignity inherent in all life.

Drew believes that through economic pressure we can make the world a better place for animals, and I agree – but I would like to go a step further. We must fight for the dignity of animals through the power of legislative authority, and that will only occur when the Progressive side of politics earns that authority. We need new politicians!

Today’s politicians can no longer write their own speeches or books; it is abundantly clear that they definitely can’t read them either. An example of this was Bill Shorten asking Keating to assist in the composition of his reply to the budget – the words were far wiser than the speaker.

Progressive politics must break through the barrier of accepting the established paradigm within which our regressive opponents are trapped – trapped like animals. There are millions of Progressives in Australia; they just don’t know for whom to vote.  But in 2016 they will. I hope.

Orwell wrote Animal Farm with the conviction ‘to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole’. It is this very idea that I embrace, and, in order to succeed, all Progressives must embrace too. If we are to imagine new political realities we must first stop voting for vapid politicians whose imaginations have been destroyed by their conditioning well before preselection.

Where America failed in its quest for liberty, Australia may still succeed. There are millions of Progressives in Australia, but because democracy is pure illusion without choice, they just don’t know for whom to vote. In 2016, for the ACT and federally, there will be a choice, and they will know for whom to vote.

The Progressive movement in Australia is growing, and I plan to contribute to it with all my brain and brawn. But I say to my Progressive friends – we are fighting a political machine so entrenched in the established order, that to break it will require a political literacy that we don’t yet have. We need to be cunning; we need to be kind; and we need to be cruel. Know for whom you vote.

Steven Bailey is the First Officer and Election Team Leader of The Australian Sex Party – Canberra. Through the arts, education and politics, Steven believes we can make stronger communities and a better world.

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Liberty, Cruelty, and Animals
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watto23 11:17 am 19 Aug 14

HenryBG said :

bonniejean said :

So no matter how much the majority of the population denies it happens, it is still there and the reason for it is a perception of nature as a separate entity to us, and treating it as an object.

We must respect all that the natural world has to offer for us and only take what we need.

Have you ever seen the effects of rabbit population explosions? The “natural world” is nothing like the anthropomorphised concept you make it out to be. The environment we see around us is the end result (up to this point in time) of billions of years of lifeforms exterminating other lifeforms through carelessness, competition and savagery.
99.9% of the species ever to have inhabited this planet are extinct.
The environment is something we have to manage. We have to make decisions and implement our changes for our own benefit. We have to do this because we are here, and because we can.

And culling members of a common species that are over-breeding as a direct result of our changes to the environment is one of those rational actions that we must choose to carry out. People whose out-of-control emotions prevent them from accepting rational decisions need to be prevented from having the ability to interfere with proper, rational environmental management.

I tend to agree with you here. Some people think animal cruelty is killing any animal, but humans have changed the planet. Even climate change deniers would have to admit we have introduced species where they are no longer warranted, changed ecosystems by cutting down trees etc. Some species actually thrive because of humans, but the majority don’t. We should be doing our best to keep all sepcies alive as a species. If that means culling a few roos, or killing off pest species then I believe that is the right thing to do.

To me cruelty is harming any animal for fun or pleasure by that i don’t mean hunting for fun (although one should make sure any animal is killed quickly and not in a cruel manner) but people who think setting an animal alight or kicking and beating an animal.
The problem is the vegans get onboard the animal cruelty cause and it turns more people away from it, because their definition of animal cruelty is very different to what the majority of people see as cruel.

Steven Bailey 10:02 am 19 Aug 14

TFarquahar said :

Bonniejean, you have hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately our intrepid writer Steven Bailey has missed it completely by identifying with Animal Liberation’s Carolyn Drew. Animal Liberation is an organisation that stands for the following:

Animal Liberation is an Australian animal rights organisation dedicated to ending all human activity that harms nonhuman animals and all anthropocentric and speciesist attitudes. As such, we act as a voice for the most exploited and vulnerable creatures on earth. Animal Liberation was founded in 1976 and now has branches in all states of Australia and many thousands of supporters.

Animal Liberation ACT is an incorporated association, managed by a committee elected each year by voting members of the association.

Animal Liberation ACT aims:

To end the exploitation of and to protect the interests of all animals, both introduced and native, whether living in a wild or captive state, used in agricultural or commercial production, kept as companion animals, used for recreation, sport, entertainment, exhibition, research or education, or any other purpose, or any combination of the above;
To abolish all human activity that harms the environment and/or individual animals and species who depend on it for their survival and wellbeing;
To abolish anthropocentric and speciesist attitudes;
To raise awareness of the impact of human activities on animals and the environment and to encourage a cruelty-free lifestyle;
To promote and support veganism.

Yes, that’s right – promote and support veganism, protect all animals whether introduced or native. Oh my hat! Let’s all eat lentils, tofu and mung beans and our lives can reflect the pictures in the Seventh Day Adventist magazines where families prance in fields of sunshine with tigers and lions!

Mr Bailey if you want to paint yourself as being part of the extreme loony left (If that equates in your view to progressive politics) you have succeeded admirably. I suspect though that you might already be part of that cult with your belief that arts, education and politics can make stronger communities and a better world. No denying that but what about the basics such as food, water, healthcare and housing that is lacking in many countries? I can’t see a performance of interpretive dance followed by a class in Native American dreamcatcher making followed by a hearty political discussion on the increase in university fees really cutting the mustard with our most disadvantaged.

Goodness gracious; a truly insightful comment. It is obviously my plan to, with one hand, fill the world with music and art whilst, with the other, ripping with gay abandon food, water, healthcare and housing from people. How cunning you early morning comment is.
I know what Animal Liberation is and what they stand for. Understanding them through the Left/Right lens is myopic. In fact, I can think of a few Right Wing fascists of the twentieth century who were vegetarians.
As I have said, quite a few times now, I am not against the humane management of animals, I’m against animal cruelty. If your reading of politics was as keen and as adroit as your early morning comments would suggest, you would understand that I support the kangaroo cull, that I have a dog, and I even think there is a youtube clip of me somewhere out there eating a meat laden sandwich with wicked intemperance in my eyes.
I attempt to understand those who are different to me. Understanding those who are different to you does not mean that you inherently advocate their positions; it means that you take the responsibility of good citizenship seriously. Identifying with those who are different to you is the responsibility of humanity, not an indictment of your own beliefs. So, I’ll say it again, just one more time, so everyone is very clear, and I don’t have to say it again, to avoid any more midnight misinterpreting, misconstruing, misapprehending, mistaking or miscalculating… I support the humane management of animals, I don’t support animal cruelty. It really is that simple.

Steven Bailey 9:29 am 19 Aug 14

HenryBG said :

bonniejean said :

So no matter how much the majority of the population denies it happens, it is still there and the reason for it is a perception of nature as a separate entity to us, and treating it as an object.

We must respect all that the natural world has to offer for us and only take what we need.

Have you ever seen the effects of rabbit population explosions? The “natural world” is nothing like the anthropomorphised concept you make it out to be. The environment we see around us is the end result (up to this point in time) of billions of years of lifeforms exterminating other lifeforms through carelessness, competition and savagery.
99.9% of the species ever to have inhabited this planet are extinct.
The environment is something we have to manage. We have to make decisions and implement our changes for our own benefit. We have to do this because we are here, and because we can.

And culling members of a common species that are over-breeding as a direct result of our changes to the environment is one of those rational actions that we must choose to carry out. People whose out-of-control emotions prevent them from accepting rational decisions need to be prevented from having the ability to interfere with proper, rational environmental management.

What a silly comment. Nobody in this conversation, including the article, is suggesting that animals should not be managed, or even killed. What the article and the comments refer to is animal cruelty… which you, in your extensive understanding of biology and ancient history, seem to be advocating for. Why are you an advocate for savagery and cruelty? What motivates your regressive morality? And do you realise that a great majority of the world has departed from misunderstanding of what it is to be a good person? Loneliness, and stupidity is also a form of cruelty – in your case, it’s self-inflicted.

TFarquahar 4:42 am 19 Aug 14

Bonniejean, you have hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately our intrepid writer Steven Bailey has missed it completely by identifying with Animal Liberation’s Carolyn Drew. Animal Liberation is an organisation that stands for the following:

Animal Liberation is an Australian animal rights organisation dedicated to ending all human activity that harms nonhuman animals and all anthropocentric and speciesist attitudes. As such, we act as a voice for the most exploited and vulnerable creatures on earth. Animal Liberation was founded in 1976 and now has branches in all states of Australia and many thousands of supporters.

Animal Liberation ACT is an incorporated association, managed by a committee elected each year by voting members of the association.

Animal Liberation ACT aims:

To end the exploitation of and to protect the interests of all animals, both introduced and native, whether living in a wild or captive state, used in agricultural or commercial production, kept as companion animals, used for recreation, sport, entertainment, exhibition, research or education, or any other purpose, or any combination of the above;
To abolish all human activity that harms the environment and/or individual animals and species who depend on it for their survival and wellbeing;
To abolish anthropocentric and speciesist attitudes;
To raise awareness of the impact of human activities on animals and the environment and to encourage a cruelty-free lifestyle;
To promote and support veganism.

Yes, that’s right – promote and support veganism, protect all animals whether introduced or native. Oh my hat! Let’s all eat lentils, tofu and mung beans and our lives can reflect the pictures in the Seventh Day Adventist magazines where families prance in fields of sunshine with tigers and lions!

Mr Bailey if you want to paint yourself as being part of the extreme loony left (If that equates in your view to progressive politics) you have succeeded admirably. I suspect though that you might already be part of that cult with your belief that arts, education and politics can make stronger communities and a better world. No denying that but what about the basics such as food, water, healthcare and housing that is lacking in many countries? I can’t see a performance of interpretive dance followed by a class in Native American dreamcatcher making followed by a hearty political discussion on the increase in university fees really cutting the mustard with our most disadvantaged.

HenryBG 11:54 pm 18 Aug 14

Incidentally, is there a Steiner school down in Bombala, Bendoc, Delegate, Ando, Bonang, Cathcart, etc…?
I’m guessing there must be one not too far from Candelo.

HenryBG 11:52 pm 18 Aug 14

bonniejean said :

So no matter how much the majority of the population denies it happens, it is still there and the reason for it is a perception of nature as a separate entity to us, and treating it as an object.

We must respect all that the natural world has to offer for us and only take what we need.

Have you ever seen the effects of rabbit population explosions? The “natural world” is nothing like the anthropomorphised concept you make it out to be. The environment we see around us is the end result (up to this point in time) of billions of years of lifeforms exterminating other lifeforms through carelessness, competition and savagery.
99.9% of the species ever to have inhabited this planet are extinct.
The environment is something we have to manage. We have to make decisions and implement our changes for our own benefit. We have to do this because we are here, and because we can.

And culling members of a common species that are over-breeding as a direct result of our changes to the environment is one of those rational actions that we must choose to carry out. People whose out-of-control emotions prevent them from accepting rational decisions need to be prevented from having the ability to interfere with proper, rational environmental management.

bonniejean 8:45 pm 18 Aug 14

Steven I agree and can relate to this article.

I believe animal cruelty doesn’t lie in the act of killing an animal, it lies in the disrespect one has toward that animal.

This treatment of animals and attitude towards killing that is referred to in the statement “children learn to bludgeon children from a young age” is rarely evident in the cities, suburbs and more modern farming communities, but more so in the tiny forgotten rural townships consisting mainly of the same families and farms that were residing there up to a hundred years ago. Its rarely spoken about by adults ( from my experience growing up in a rural community) and chances are that if a stranger were to ask any of the locals if this is an occurring thing, their claim would be bluntly denied. But the truth lies in what these peers are teaching their children, this is where ones true values show through.

I spent the vast majority of my childhood an outsider among a small collection of farm kids, and I’ll never forget spending day in and day out on the school bus, in the classroom and courtyard hearing kids competing with their hunting skills, number of kills and tales of un-necessary slaughter, these animals were rarely killed for food,kids would arrange camping/hunting trips;to me it seemed it was viewed as a sport. I often heard that the animal (most often a kangaroo, emu, fox, rabbit or wombat) was not killed but only wounded and left to die. almost all of my schoolmates went hunting, many that were friends of mine were humane and respectful of nature, but the vast majority of the community was not, and I believe from that I made up my mind on where I stood in terms of animal cruelty.

Perhaps these small communities of Bombala, Bendoc, Delegate, Ando, Bonang, Cathcart (and the list goes on….) have been forgotten, or they have removed themselves from the rest of the world, and perhaps the stories told at school by children had been exaggerated by their excited, competitive and playful minds, but the point is the disrespect lies in the attitude towards killing they had and the joyfulness they received from the topic; and that for generations it has continued to be recycled.

So no matter how much the majority of the population denies it happens, it is still there and the reason for it is a perception of nature as a separate entity to us, and treating it as an object.

We must respect all that the natural world has to offer for us and only take what we need.

Masquara 11:48 am 10 Aug 14

HenryBG said :

Moving on to a completely unrelated question, as Steven has provided an extensive narrative covering the animal world’s influence in his life – perhaps he can provide another covering the vegetable world of his experience?

Yes please! Next sherbert-sodden firelight talk on this topic please, Uncle Steven! (btw I love that he’s keeping his old Katter hat on. This melding of an appeal to urban sex sophisticate and rural hillbillies is a fascinating political ploy – but adding in the vegan lobby might test Steven’s oleagenous abilities!

Ben_Dover 11:11 am 10 Aug 14

Pragmatix said :

I’m sorry, no one can deny that Steven writes extremely well.

I can, Steven writes extremely badly.

His use of sophism, disguised by the sort of flowery rhetoric which may appeal to a certain section of society, but is seen though as clearly as glass by anyone looking deeper, is rather banal. He also uses unsubstantiated emotionality instead of fact, and insults his reader by his pretence to a moral high ground based on anecdote.

Steven, by his self-absorbed, pseudo-intellectual, falderal, produces the worse sort of advert for the very causes he seeks to promote.

justin heywood 9:45 am 10 Aug 14

Pragmatix said :

I’m sorry, no one can deny that Steven writes extremely well. If you are going to comment on his writing, perhaps you should all put in a little more effort into actually understanding what he is saying. I know it might be a little difficult for you all, but he is a libertarian for god’s sake. He’s talking about animal cruelty (which you all agree is bad… right?). He’s not even attacking hunters, and I assume the most of the commenters are hunters. Granted, the essay is trying to do a lot of things, but perhaps you should acknowledge that you can’t box this political thinker quite yet. Stop defending yourself and start learning how to read intelligent political writing.

But Pragmatix, you yourself were giving Steven advice in post #13, (“…stop arguing with idiots”). A couple of points on that:

– As Churchill said, the best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with the average voter. Steven is going to have to argue with a lot of idiots like us if he wants to be a successful politician. I reckon this blog is a pretty good place to get some practice (which I suspect is exactly what he is doing).

– For me, good writing is more than inserting the occasional rhetorical flourish. I think that a politician trying to establish himself needs to speak clearly about what he plans to do – to make a splash with well articulated radical plans and ideas, not to give us a history lesson on how he comes to hold his current views.

Since we’re dishing advice, mine would be to forget about the ‘I have a dream’ style of speechmaking until you have some political runs on the board. Unless we know how that dream is going to be achieved, we don’t have a lot of reason to care.

qbngeek 9:16 am 10 Aug 14

Pragmatix said :

I’m sorry, no one can deny that Steven writes extremely well. If you are going to comment on his writing, perhaps you should all put in a little more effort into actually understanding what he is saying. I know it might be a little difficult for you all, but he is a libertarian for god’s sake. He’s talking about animal cruelty (which you all agree is bad… right?). He’s not even attacking hunters, and I assume the most of the commenters are hunters. Granted, the essay is trying to do a lot of things, but perhaps you should acknowledge that you can’t box this political thinker quite yet. Stop defending yourself and start learning how to read intelligent political writing.

True. he is a good writer and I vote sex party. However I live in the country and take offence to the fact that he claims that children in country towns are the ones who partake in animal cruelty.

My kids, all their friends and the kids I have spoken to on visits to schools in country towns have much more respect for animals and the environment than almost any child I have spoken to in an ACT school. Many of them live on farms and are taught about animals. Many of them learn to shoot at 12-14 years old.

I get more kids coming to the door to tell me about an injured animal than anyone else. They have an innate attraction to protecting cute fluffy things. They also understand where the meat they eat comes from. I was amazed when a teen boy was telling me about the pig his father shot and he helped prepare it to be used as food for the family. on the other hand a class of year 9 students were horrified when one of them asked what I did with rabbits that had been shot and I told them that they went in the pot for my family.

I work closely with animal rescue organisations, as I am what they call a shooter (I jump in the car and drive up the highway when a kangaroo is hit and put the poor thing out of its misery then check pouches and make sure we take care of any babies in the most humane manner possible), and the feedback that I hear is that most animal cruelty seems to be centered around urban environments.

Before making a statement about what the students in the country do, try going out there and speaking to the kids.

Pragmatix 5:50 am 10 Aug 14

I’m sorry, no one can deny that Steven writes extremely well. If you are going to comment on his writing, perhaps you should all put in a little more effort into actually understanding what he is saying. I know it might be a little difficult for you all, but he is a libertarian for god’s sake. He’s talking about animal cruelty (which you all agree is bad… right?). He’s not even attacking hunters, and I assume the most of the commenters are hunters. Granted, the essay is trying to do a lot of things, but perhaps you should acknowledge that you can’t box this political thinker quite yet. Stop defending yourself and start learning how to read intelligent political writing.

bigfeet 8:54 pm 09 Aug 14

Steven Bailey said :

I appreciate your comment – I think it’s thoughtful and informed. I obviously don’t agree with everything that you’ve said, but that’s fine. I’m not slandering children; I’m reflecting on my personal experience, not my imagination. I know what I experienced in my childhood and adolescence; you can take it or leave it. If, as you say, I may make a difference one day, it won’t be because I pandered to smug inner-city people. It will be because I was myself. I rarely get people to edit my articles. Incidentally, just this once, I did ask a friend to have a quick edit. He is a Professor in English, PHD Cambridge. When it comes to the content of my articles, I’ll just stay true to myself and keep things the way they are. Thanks for taking the time to contribute. Cheers.

Might I just add that if you think you can say what you want, without any justification or evidence, and then refuse to answer questions about those statements, then perhaps you should be looking for another area of employment. rather than politics?

Actually…no…what you are doing is typical of a politician.

It seems as though you are in the correct field after all.

Steven Bailey 7:45 pm 09 Aug 14

justin heywood said :

Steven Bailey said :

…Sit on the school buses of Bombala, Delegate, Cooma, Bendoc, Ando, Bibbenluke, and you will understand. Listen to the conversations at recess and lunch in these schools. If you have lived in these communities you would understand. Watch the great Australian film ‘Wake in Fright’. It depicts a reality, not a fantasy.

And THAT ‘S your evidence that ‘children learn to bludgeon animals for fun’? Imaginary conversations on a country bus, and a terrible movie from 1971? ( and that movie was made well before you were born, yet you somehow know that ‘it’s the reality’?)

Some people imagine that country life really is like it is in the movies. I think that in trying to conjure an enemy, you’ve gone to some distant place that you imagine must be bad, but it is based mainly on your imagination.

I spent more than 25 years around hick towns in outback Queensland, where sometimes the banjos can indeed be heard. There is cruelty out there, but it is rare and probably at about the same as anywhere. Some kids just enjoy cruelty, and I doubt that it matters whether you’re from Bibbenluke or Braddon. It’s interesting that to make your point you’re quite happy to casually slander kids from the bush, no doubt reflecting the smug inner-city views of your hoped-for constituents.

I agree that our political system is rotten, and that new and better politicians are needed. And I think that maybe one day you will make a difference. But for God’s sake get someone to edit your posts.

I appreciate your comment – I think it’s thoughtful and informed. I obviously don’t agree with everything that you’ve said, but that’s fine. I’m not slandering children; I’m reflecting on my personal experience, not my imagination. I know what I experienced in my childhood and adolescence; you can take it or leave it. If, as you say, I may make a difference one day, it won’t be because I pandered to smug inner-city people. It will be because I was myself. I rarely get people to edit my articles. Incidentally, just this once, I did ask a friend to have a quick edit. He is a Professor in English, PHD Cambridge. When it comes to the content of my articles, I’ll just stay true to myself and keep things the way they are. Thanks for taking the time to contribute. Cheers.

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