The systematic and pervasive mistreatment of animals should be understood with reference to capitalist exploitation. Our society turns everything into a commodity – a thing stripped of its intrinsic qualities and valued primarily for its exchangeability for profit. The commodification and exploitation of all living things is the main cause of suffering and alienation in our society, and results in people becoming desensitised to cruelty and brutality, both towards humans and towards animals. Victorian Socialists want a society in which humans live in harmony with animals and nature and not in a state of war against it.
What we think
- Animals communicate, form relationships and experience pain and distress.
- Humans are distinct from other animals, but we share in common with them many needs and capacities that are essential to our relationship with ourselves and nature.
- Capitalism systematically degrades both animals and humans by subordinating our natural wellbeing to the profit motive.
- While individual acts of cruelty are reprehensible, the far greater cause of suffering to animals is capitalist industry – both directly (in the case of the dairy, poultry, meat and fur industries, for example) and indirectly (as the result of systematic environmental degradation).
- Capitalist expansion – in particular mining, gas extraction, aquaculture, logging and agriculture – is the greatest threat to native animals and their habitats due to its exploitative, unplanned and unsustainable nature.
What we'll fight for
- Establish an animal welfare regulatory and enforcement body with offices and staff across the state, including prosecutors, rangers, veterinarians and educators.
- Criminally penalise cruelty towards animals, confiscate animals from perpetrators and introduce bans (for both individuals and companies) on future ownership or custodianship of animals.
- Introduce specific criminal penalties for the industrial or commercial abuse of animals.
- Create a system of well-funded, publicly owned and run shelters and sanctuaries for rescued animals and a rescued animal adoption register.
- End the export of live animals for slaughter, consumption or profit.
- End intensive and/or cruel farming and aquaculture practices and unsustainable fishing practices.
- Safeguard, preserve and rehabilitate the natural environment and native animal habitats to the greatest extent.
- End the cruel or unnecessary use of animals for product testing, teaching and/or research purposes.
- Introduce stricter regulations on recreational hunting and fishing to protect endangered species, to ensure that hunting and fishing permit holders are adequately trained to minimise the impact of their activities, and to ban methods of hunting or capture that are unsustainable, cruel or that inflict undue pain on animals and fish.
- Introduce limits on the use of animals by Victoria Police, including an end to the training of animals to attack humans and a prohibition on putting animals in situations in which they could reasonably be expected to come into physical conflict with humans. For example, the mounted branch must be disbanded and the use of dogs for crowd or threat control prohibited.
- Provide subsidies for the de-sexing of cats and dogs to control stray animal numbers, and subsidies to support a requirement for safe confinement of pet cats and dogs to owners’ properties.
- Create strict and comprehensive regulation of the horse racing industry to ensure it is cruelty-free, and to impose harsh penalties, including fines, bans and jail time on racing animal trainers and owners found guilty of cruelty.