Help us stop ag-gag in SA

The Surveillance Devices Bill 2015 will be debated in the South Australian Legislative Council over the next couple of weeks.

Now is the time to tell South Australian MPs that further amendments to the Bill are necessary to ensure animal abuse isn’t swept under the carpet.

You can do this by contacting key Liberal MPs Andrew McLachlan and Stephen Wade to support amendments to the Bill, using the template below as a guide. Please tailor the letter to have a greater impact:

To:   [email protected]
[email protected]
Subject: Surveillance Devices Bill 2015

To the Hon. Andrew McLachlan MLC and the Hon. Stephen Wade MLC,

I am writing to express my concern about the proposed Surveillance Devices Bill 2015 (SA).

Currently, matters of genuine public interest – including issues relevant to animal welfare – may be published by any interested party. Under the proposed amendments, however, the media and the RSPCA would be the only bodies who would not require a court order to publish such material. This significantly limits free speech, and will place an undue financial burden on individuals and organisations that may be unable to afford the necessary court and legal costs.

Further, the Bill does not explicitly make clear that animal abuse is within the public interest, and criminalises most individuals and organisations who publicise evidence of animal abuse. The Bill also does not make clear that individuals and organisations are able to use materials obtained from surveillance devices that have already been published and are in the public domain.

Recent exposés into the greyhound racing industry would not have been possible without the publication of undercover footage by animal protection groups other than the RSPCA. My concern is that, under this Bill, systemic animal cruelty in animal use industries will escape detection.

Instead of targeting the messengers, legislators need to focus on ways to strengthen the monitoring and enforcement of existing animal protection laws.

For these reasons, I respectfully urge you to support amendments to this Bill that address these issues.

Yours sincerely,

[insert your name]