You would have to be living under a rock to not be aware of the furore surrounding the export of live cattle since the Four Corners program aired in late May (http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2011/s3228880.htm). I didn’t watch it, and it turns out, I didn’t need to as it has been repeated and talked about so much since.
It is abhorrent that this is going on and we are right as Australians to stand up and be counted as saying we want it stopped. People power saw the Government take action (which, not surprisingly, has upset a whole other set of Australians). I am proud to live in a democracy where we as citizens actually can be heard and listened to.
As disgusting as what is being done to the cattle is, it is by no means an isolated case. Innocent dolphins are being slaughtered to the tune of 23 000 a year in Japan alone (http://nicolemclachlan.wordpress.com/the-taiji-dolphin-slaughter/). Over 70 million animals are killed each year in the USA in cosmetics laboratories (http://www.animalcruelty.com/acfastfacts.html). If you are feeling brave, just do a quick surf on the net and you will be astounded at the level to which we are harming all kinds of animals.
As disgusting as what is being done to animals is, we are doing far worse things to fellow humans and a fair chunk of them are children. Every 26 seconds a child is sold into the sex slave industry, often by their parent or guardian (http://www.destinyrescue.org/aus/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=24&Itemid=38). Human trafficking is increasing, not decreasing in our ‘enlightened’ modern times (http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/about/slavery/). Do I need to go on? Frankly, I don’t think I have the stomach to list any more atrocities.
Why are we not incensed by these issues of human cruelty? Why do we rise up when we see the cattle torture on TV, yet chat and sip our coffee when the World Vision ads are on and happily go back to watching our favourite TV show after seeing starving children on our screen?
Do we feel helpless in the face of the overwhelming number of people in need? Surely, we felt helpless when watching the Four Corners program, yet there was enough of a groundswell to make ourselves heard. Why do we collectively do nothing about the abuse of innocent children and the flagrant disregard for their lives?
I am angry, sad and frustrated. What do we need to see as a society to galvanise us into action? There is no cheery ending to this post, no happy upside to the issues raised. We need to realise that we can make a difference…after all, haven’t we just proved that with the live export issue?