Reading Time: 3 minutes 'Animal agriculture should be looked at as one the main causes of climate change' (Photo: Supplied)
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Australian MP Mark Pearson says ‘we need to move to a predominantly vegan diet’.

The politician made the comment in an exclusive interview with Plant Based News, where he also discussed the cause of pandemics, climate change, and how Australia’s colinization has resulted in the demonization of kangaroos.

You can read the full Interview below:

PBN: You are the first Australian politician to be elected to parliament as a voice for the animals, what are some of your greatest achievements so far?

Firstly, being the first person in Australia elected to a parliament on the basis of animal protection, and second in world. Since then I’ve had some fantastic successes, including being involved in convincing Russia to ban the imports of kangaroo meat by exposing the horrific cruelty and hygiene practices involved in kangaroo meat harvesting.

Last year I established and chaired a committee that looked into animal cruelty laws in NSW. These laws are over 40 years old and desperately need amending to meet growing community understanding of animal sentience and expectations about animal welfare. We also raised the issue that there’s an inherent conflict of interest in having the same government department responsible for both animal welfare and the use of animals for agricultural production purposes. Because of that, and the fact two charities are currently tasked with administering and prosecuting these laws, we recommended a fully-funded specialist unit within the Police Force be established to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty offences. Recommending an Independent Office of Animal Protection sets a huge precedent, and is something the government must now address.

PBN: How do you think COVID-19 will change Australia’s perception of plant-based food/ diets?

Regarding Covid-19, about 90 percent of pandemics come from abusive interactions between humans and animals. There’s going to be a major global inquiry into coronavirus so clearly our abusive interaction with wildlife and other animals is going to be squarely on the agenda.

I think that some of the findings that come out of that inquiry, especially if they consider the treatment of animals in intensive farming, especially the use of antibiotic-like substances, is that while people are consuming these animals that are needed to be treated by a cluster of drugs to prevent sickness, there’s a lot of good reasons to move away from an animal-based diet to a plant-based diet.

PBN: What are some future policies you’d like to see in place relating to veganism/ animal-rights?

The main issues I’ll be pushing in NSW Parliament is that we need to move to a predominantly vegan diet. Last year, a report commissioned by the UN and released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, stated explicitly that to curb greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change, the world needs to drastically reduce our consumption of animal products.

Animal agriculture therefore should be looked at as one the main causes of climate change, and even if people aren’t interested in animal welfare or animal rights, I’ll be pushing for our government to send a clear message that we have to move away from animal agriculture and toward a plant-based diet to save the planet from global warming.

PBN: Why are kangaroos so persecuted in Australia and why do you think the slaughter is pretty unknown?

Kangaroos have been demonised by the agribusiness industry virtually since the colonisation of Australia. When white people invaded Australia, they considered kangaroos a threat to farming – to growing grain and therefore to feeding and breeding domestic animals for use.

That mentality of ‘kangaroos as a pest’ continues today, and now they are also exploited as a resource. Today they are ‘harvested’ for their meat and skin, which is sold domestically and internationally, and are aggressively and cruelly killed in the largest land-based slaughter of wildlife in the world. 3 million kangaroos are killed in Australia – and that’s just the commercial industry, but no one really knows about it.

There’s a great film about this issue called Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story which has just been released globally I highly encourage everyone to watch. It explores exactly why this huge, cruel industry continues in virtual secrecy.

It’s absolutely vile, and just devastating especially given how extraordinary these creatures are – gentle, herbivores. with a strong and sensitive family ‘mob’ structure. It’s a national shame Australia kills kangaroos.

You can follow Mark Pearson on Instagram here

Liam Gilliver

Liam is the Deputy Editor and Social Media Coordinator for Plant Based News. He has written for a number of top publications including Gay Times, Attitude Magazine, Oh Comely, and The Huffington Post - and is the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.