NSW government on a microscope – all the good news in one day

3 Jul

According to the Daily Telegraph, ‘Animal testing experiments kill one animal every hour’, one animal is killed in NSW every hour for laboratory testing. For a period of 12 months, 8813 animals, including endangered ones have perished this way.

Based on a report by the state government’s Animal Research Review Panel report, another 16,000 animals are kept in moderately or largely distressed or painful conditions. Despite the availability of alternatives such as computer simulation and use of tissue samples, the tests had not only continued but also caused an increase in deaths conducted through lethal tests by 1087 cases within 2006-7.

Endangered species killed included marsupials and 8 native stripe faced dunnarts while those subjected to category 7 testing (most painful) consists of 14 horses, almost 3000 fish, almost 1000 chickens, 379 sheep and 59 cows.

In the same day, Sydney Morning Herald also reported the Rees government’s decision to make it voluntary for big business to implement energy-saving plans. This reversal is disgraceful since it shows the backing down to intensive lobbying efforts by the climate change deniers and sceptics group, Australian Industry Greenhouse Network (made up of heavy greenhouse industry polluters). This is despite the promise of renewables being more efficient and less costly, not to mention better for the environment. A recent study featuring collaborations by Sydney universities and CSIRO reveal that renewables can actually reduce electricity costs:

The study has found that, ‘reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy savings and generating power close to where it is used could cut total power bills in New South Wales by about $600 million per year by 2020 – equivalent to about $60 per household per year’.

This could be achieved by building an intelligent grid, which means building small generators such as wind turbines, solar panels, micro turbines, fuel cells and cogeneration (combined heat and power) which are closer to users and therefore more efficient.

And the next time you purchase your fruits and vegetables, think about this. The NSW government does not care whether to determine the level of toxicity in your greens for four years even though other states such as Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia have conducted such independent tests.

FreshTest, an industry group which do such tests, has said ‘about 2.5 per cent of the produce it tests either exceeds the maximum residue levels set for more than 100 dangerous pesticides and herbicides, or is found to contain traces of chemicals not approved for use on the relevant crop’.

And to cap off the streaming good news, the Rees government has also announced that it would buy 1962 taser guns for the state police at a cost of 10 million. This is despite the NSW Ombudsman calls for a two year freeze on such weapons given issues on safety and training. A recent review in Queensland also shows that the state is halting the use of such guns as most police officers are prone to become ‘trigger-happy’. When the guns were on trial use between 2007 July and June 2008, it was discovered that they were used 170 times. 75% of those being fired were unarmed when it was used against them. According to an Amnesty International report published earlier this year, more than 330 and 25 people have been killed by Tasers in the US and Canada since June 2001.

What can we infer from the NSW government by reading these news (which are all published within one day/ 24 hours)?

This is a state government that is contented to allow the culling of animals for laboratory tests despite the alternative and less cruel options; a government that is happy to pander to climate change skeptics and deniers despite mounting evidence that renewables are more efficient and sustainable; a government that does not care whether its residents are buying greens that are safe for consumption; a government that is happy to arm the state police with questionable weapons that could cause deaths and trauma to people.

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