Geo-park plan rings alarm bells for North Qld graziers
A plan to declare the entire Etheridge Shire in Far North Queensland as a ‘global geo-park’ is ringing alarm bells for local graziers, AgForce said today.
AgForce Northern President Russell Lethbridge, who lives in the Etheridge Shire, said cattle production was the predominant industry in the shire and graziers wanted to know how a geo-park declaration would impact on their businesses.
“The Etheridge Shire Council has announced they will seek a geo-park registration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), but haven’t properly explained what it all means and how it will affect development opportunities,” he said.
“Graziers have seen how the Queensland Government have used UNESCO as a justification for tougher vegetation management restrictions, so are understandably suspicious about a plan to declare a UNESCO ‘Global Geopark’ over an area of some 40,000 square kilometres.
“AgForce has been inundated with calls from Far North graziers who want to know how a geo-park registration would impact on what they can and can’t do on their land, while there are also concerns about how this will affect the Gilbert River irrigated agricultural precinct.
“This issue is generating a lot of heat and has united graziers in the Etheridge Shire like no other issue I’ve seen before, so it is important the council and proponents of the geopark explain the motivation behind the proposal.
” Mr Lethbridge said AgForce had responded to the groundswell of concern by organising a meeting at the Georgetown Town Hall from 2pm on Friday 16th June to discuss the geo-park proposal.
“All landholders in the Etheridge Shire are invited to attend to tell us their views about the geo-park proposal, and to ask questions of council representatives,” he said.
“Graziers currently have more questions than answers and the meeting is an opportunity for everyone to learn more about the proposal and for proponents to outline their case.
“AgForce is committed to getting all the information to landholders so they can better understand the issue and make an informed decision based on all the facts.”
Will Billy Gordon protect his indigenous constituents from the lunatic fringe of the ALP and Greens closing down development?
Cape York development uncertainty must be removed
15 April 2016
AgForce has welcomed the State Government’s commitment to develop large-scale business and tourism ventures in remote indigenous communities, but said planned changes to vegetation management laws must be scrapped if the Government is serious about job creation in Cape York.
Representatives from the Queensland Investment Corporation, Treasury officials, Queensland Resources Council and Indigenous groups from Cape York, Palm Island and the state’s north-west discussed the plans at an investment forum this week in Cairns.
Queensland’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Curtis Pitt was reported as saying there was a lot of untapped potential in northern Australia.
“We’re hoping to draw out some of the needs and aspirations of people not only in the Cape but right across the state,” Mr Pitt said. (Source: ABC News Online, 14 April 2016)
AgForce President Grant Maudsley said the Queensland Government could start by removing the uncertainty over future agricultural development in places like Cape York by scrapping its planned changes to the State’s vegetation management laws.
“It’s clear both indigenous & non-indigenous graziers on the Cape will be prevented from developing their properties and growing more of their own hay to feed cattle,” he said.
“Traditional owners and long-time cattle producers are telling us that this issue has united them in a way that hasn’t happened for many years.
“They are angry that there has been little or no consultation by the Government about the proposed changes and this is creating frustration and confusion.
“If Curtis Pitt and his Government are fair dinkum about talking to Cape York communities about developing jobs, and a meaningful future, then they should start with existing businesses like the beef industry.
“It has traditionally been a significant employer and income-earner for indigenous communities and should be allowed to develop to its full potential. But that can’t happen if the tough new vegetation management rules apply.”
Wik Mukan tribal elder and cattleman Willie Lawrence told an AgForce Queensland workshop in Coen this week that he wanted the local State MP Billy Gordon to meet with traditional owners and understand what is at stake if the changes go ahead.
“If Billy Gordon came up here I can talk to him, he can get ideas from me about these new tree laws and the other things like National Parks locking us out of our traditional country,” he said.
“We can have a good yarn and he can understand me and I can understand him.” (Photos of Willie Lawrence at the AgForce workshop are available upon request)
AgForce has been holding workshops throughout Cape York this week and the workshops continue today in Laura and then in Cooktown on Monday.
The Queensland Government says new laws identifying key farming areas will help resolve conflicts with the mining industry.
The Regional Planning Interests Act sets out a new process for approving mining and gas developments.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says it empowers farmers by preventing mining companies from taking some access disputes directly to the Land Court.
“There has been a very dire need for some sort of a planning process to not ban the industry but to control the industry,” he said.
Mr Seeney says it will lead to better relationships between farmers and miners.
“This is the sort of planning process that should have been in place before the resources industry expanded to the extent that it did,” he said.
Queensland Resources Council spokesman Michael Roche says it was rare for a dispute to go to court and in practice the impact of the new laws will be small.
“But it will provide even more encouragement for resource companies to reach that agreement with landowners,” he said.
Mr Roche says while it is not intended to slow the process, there may be some early “wrinkles”.
“The people administering the Act will be learning as they go, just as landholders and resource companies will be learning,” he said.
‘Won’t solve every issue’
Farm lobby group AgForce says while priority agriculture areas have been identified, all of the state’s cropping and grazing areas should have been included in the process.
AgForce spokesman Dale Miller says the group will watch closely to see if the new regime delivers on its promise of equity.
“It won’t solve every issue,” he said.
“There are steps by which landowners can have their grievances heard if they don’t believe that the process has been effective.
“We’ll certainly be monitoring the progress on this framework and working with the State Government to make sure that it is actually effective in providing landholders with a more equitable say, as well as protecting those high value agricultural areas.”
Mr Miller says there are large areas of agricultural land that have been left out of the new process and the Government could have gone further.
“We’ve maintained all along that an effective coexistence is really about having a relationship where both parties have a more equal say in terms of what’s being proposed and can reach agreement on the way an activity is structured and undertaken,” he said.
“We’d like to see that more equal say extended to all the cropping areas as well as grazing areas within the state as well because we just see that as an equitable outcome.”
By Ruby Hamad
Posted 4 hours 37 minutes ago
It is impossible to reconcile the abhorrent images of exported livestock being abused in Gaza with the concept of halal slaughter as proscribed in the Qur’an, writes Ruby Hamad.
It resembled nothing so much as the Running of the Bulls. Large, terrified animals bucking as excited youths shouted in a showdown between “man” and “beast”. But this time the tradition was taking place not in the name of sport, but of religion, as yet another egregious example of animal abuse in the live export trade was uncovered by Animals Australia (AA).
This time it was Gaza during Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice), where heartbreaking images included steers shot in the kneecaps, kicked, stabbed in the eye, and having their throats repeatedly hacked with blunt knives.
But before cultural superiority has us crowing about “those” countries abusing “our” cattle, Australians must acknowledge that those animals suffered immensely long before they arrived in Gaza.
AA, for all the good work they do, is often guilty of glossing over the abuses suffered by animals on the cargo ships in favour of the graphic images of their slaughter upon destination. As Australians, we need to examine our own relationship to animals and the role we play in exporting cruelty to the world.
But as someone who was raised to believe in a compassionate Islam, I am also dismayed at the unwillingness of Muslims to reconsider their religious obligations towards animals. That the people of Gaza are also subject to daily trauma in what the UN has described as a “humanitarian crisis” probably has much to reveal about the cyclical nature of violence.
Nonetheless, it is impossible to reconcile the images coming out of Gaza – and indeed, all the live export destinations – with the concept of halal slaughter as proscribed in the Qur’an.
While the Qur’an is neutral on the subject of meat eating, in that it neither encourages nor forbids it, it is anything but silent on how animals are to be treated.
Most people would be aware that Islam mandates animals be conscious at slaughter. Less known is that it also sets a detailed and rigid set of rules regarding animal handling, the violations of which renders the meat haram, or forbidden.
These include: not tying or bounding the animal as it is slaughtered, not killing an animal within sight of another animal, not kicking or beating the animal, and using a sharp knife to minimise suffering.
Anyone who saw AA’s “Gaza Files” would see that all these conditions were flagrantly ignored, meaning that Muslims have an obligation not to eat meat from those animals. Al-Hafiz BA Masri, a leading Muslim scholar on animal welfare writes:
If animals have been subjected to cruelties in their breeding, transport, slaughter, or in their general welfare, meat from them is considered impure and unlawful to eat (Haram)…Even if these animals have been slaughtered in the strictest Islamic manner, if cruelties were inflicted on them otherwise, their flesh is still forbidden (Haram) food.
Some scholars, such as Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, have gone further, arguing that the rules of ritual slaughter were so designed to encourage a gradual shift towards vegetarianism. A slaughterman is required to “look into the animal’s eyes, he has to watch the tears of the animal, and he has to watch (its) eyes until it dies,” he wrote. “Hopefully, his heart will change.”
While most Muslims would disagree with this interpretation, there is no doubt that the condition of conscious slaughter continues at the expense of those rules designed to minimise animal distress.
Mohammed himself, who ate a mostly (but not completely) vegetarian diet, is known to have abhorred cruelty to animals. “Fear God in regards to these animals who cannot speak their will,” he warned his early followers.
One tradition or hadith has it that upon seeing a slaughterman sharpening his knife before a sheep, Mohammed admonished him, “Do you intend to inflict death on this animal twice? Once by sharpening your tools in front of it and once by slitting its throat?”
In another, the prophet, getting ready for his prayers, found a cat sleeping on his robe. Rather than disturb the animal, he cut the sleeve off the garment.
Regardless of whether you believe these stories to be true, that they (and many others) exist indicates that early Islam was greatly concerned with animals, holding them in far higher esteem than Muslims do today. The Qur’an even promises a reward for those who treat animals kindly: “He who takes pity even on a sparrow and spares its life, God will be merciful to him on the Day of Judgement.”
Here’s something many people might find surprising; there are more Qur’anic suras or verses advocating kindness to animals than there are calling for female “modesty”.
As someone who firmly believes there is a co-relation between how humans treat animals and how we treat each other, I often fantasise about what modern Islam would look like if Muslims were half as concerned about animals as they are about what women wear.
And as science reveals more facts about the “hidden” lives of animals, surely it is time for Muslims to reclaim that part of our heritage that recognised the inherent value of all life. We now know that dolphins and whales suffer terribly in captivity, that elephants mourn their dead, and that wild parrots name their young. Science has taught us that chickens feel empathy, that cows form maternal and social bonds, and rats – for no reward – will free each other from a trap.
Animals in their emotions and their will do not differ from us as much as we’d like to think. On this matter too, the Qur’an was a revelation:
There is not a creature that lives on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings but forms part of communities like you.
Ruby Hamad is a writer and film maker. View her full profile here.
Comments from a NQ cattle breeder:
Like the extortionists of Animals Aust, you have depicted an isolated case of on-board cattle cruelty. This is not the norm. However most of us cattle producers take the view that positive animal welfare up to the ship departing Australian waters is an integral facet of commercial reality and practice. What happens after the ship berths at its destination is out of our control. And so it should be. I must also correct your assumptions that 40,000 processing sector jobs are lost to the Aust industry. This assertion seems like a normal trade union myth, something we would expect from the mouth of an intellectual pigmy like Paul Howes. Northern Australia, which produces the greater majority of brahman cross export cattle cannot produce cattle in sufficient condition and numbers suitable for processing. That is why northern store cattle are largely exported, essentially to Indonesia and other Asian destinations. Unless the huge areas of northern Australia have another five Ord River type water storages built, and sufficient arable irrigation land to grow enough forage crops to graze some 50,000 ha per dam from Kimberley to the the Lower Gulf, then we cannot produce slaughter cattle. Feedlotting situations are out of the question due to numerous factors , one being the wet season and another the high cost of labour thanks to industry anarchists such as Mr Howes. Taking the cattle out of the north will result in its depopulation. Indonesia or China will be only too willing to move into the void, without paying us one cent and whether we like it or not. These are the realities, and really man has dominion over animals!
Katter warns Minister to tread carefully on cattle issue
4 December 2013: KAP Federal Leader and Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has met with the Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop in Canberra to discuss the live cattle industry, prior to the Minister’s trip to Indonesia tomorrow.
“We said to the Minister that in light of the precarious situation with our beef trade, the Cattle Crisis Council, myself and the Indonesian Ambassador have worked almost all year getting the restoration of the market and building the beef highway to Indonesia and this all could be in jeopardy,” Mr Katter said.
Cattle welfare and minimising the costs of transporting cattle for graziers was also on the agenda.
“Currently the centre of gravity in the beef industry is the gulf. The idea of sending the cattle east-south-east, in the opposite direction to Indonesian, means an extra three days in a boat and an extra $100 in a truck – is completely ludicrous.
“I’ve asked the Minister to reallocate a portion of the $50M allocated from the former Rudd Government to Indonesia for beef research into upgrading the Karumba Port so that it has the capacity for larger live export vessels.
“We are tenaciously opposed to any sale of Australian land and we feel there are ways around this with agistment, particularly, with our First Australians in Northern Australia, who are getting no money from their land.
“We want First Australians to work the properties themselves. If we can develop areas currently empty of cattle then the Karumba Port upgrade becomes an absolute necessity.”
Mr Katter said there has been arguably a seven per cent increase in the total beef market that was secured by the efforts of many in re-establishing the cattle trade with Indonesia.
“If that seven per cent vanishes then even five per cent over production will drive the price of beef through the floor, on the other hand five per cent under production will drive the price through the roof.”
Mr Katter said a five per cent increase in demand should have a great upward pressure on beef prices for next year and he wanted the Minister to understand the importance of the visit tomorrow for the future of Australian graziers and the beef industry.
“It is my duty to make the Minister well aware of the dangers of blowing us back to where we were at the beginning of the year, in terms of access to the Indonesian market.
“These discussions will be integral to Australia and north Queensland and I came away from the meeting a little tiny bit reassured.
“We have put our point of view very clearly to the Minister,” Mr Katter said.
For information on Bob Katter’s role in the 43rd Parliament click here: http://www.bobkatter.com.au/your-member/43rd-parliament-a-retrospective.html
These poor silly buggers, the board members of Animal Health Australia, want to stop cattle dogs from biting the hocks of cattle.
They recommend jail sentences for those hard-pressed producers who cannot afford to hire labour, should their dogs bite a beast. From their appearances their is not one cattleman amongst ’em. People like these are destroying our primary industries.
They are professional social climbers among the burgeoning, useless, unrepresentative agri-political brigade infesting our industries at the behest of the ratbag animal rights groups like the vegan PETA and the silly ex-policewoman who runs Animal Rights Australia.
We must get rid of them or there will be more disasters just like the Indo live export debacle. This has all but ruined our cattle industry and exacerbated the dislike for us held by the Indonesians.
There are 17 properties in receivership in the Northern Territory, representing nearly a third of its land mass. Thanks to Animal Rights Australia, ABC Four Corners and PETA these pastoralists have been gunned down by now-proven dodgy animal cruelty footage shown by the Bolshevik ALP TV show Four Corners.
Cairns News suggests readers contact their federal representatives and instruct them to sack the board and disband the body.
This mob of professional bludgers should do something useful such as recommending a federal bounty of $150 for wild dogs and dingoes which have all but destroyed the cattle and sheep industries.