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Animal welfare remains top priority for students

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Words
Sharlene King
Published
10 June 2011
Strong campaigning by the Southern Cross University Animal Law Club has seen it secure the most signatures in a national competition to end live animal exports.

The Animal Law Club has taken out the Humane Campus Challenge organised by the World Society for the Protection of Animals. The closing days of the five week competition coincided with the release of footage showing the brutal mistreatment of cattle in Indonesian slaughterhouses.

SCU Animal Law Club president and founder Anna Ludvik said community support across the University’s three campuses had been overwhelming.

“The majority of our signatures were collected before the Four Corners report, indicating that people were already thinking about this issue,” said Anna. “We started campaigning mostly by talking about the live sheep export to the Middle East. That’s another ongoing and cruel trade that hasn’t been discussed too much in the media lately.”

She greeted the federal government’s six month suspension of cattle going to Indonesia with caution.

“I am pleased but cautious because it’s just long enough to take the issue out of the spotlight,” she said. “There are just so many issues in live exporting, including what’s happening with sheep and cattle exports to other countries. It’s definitely a step in the right direction in the short term but I think there’s a long way to go yet.

“Winning this competition is not the end of the campaign and the suspension is not the end of the issue.”

Eight universities across the country took part in the challenge that saw students garner the support of their peers and community members in writing to local MPs calling for an end to the export of livestock.

Southern Cross University pipped its nearest rival by more than 100 signatures.

“It was a tight race in the end but ultimately we were able to collect more signatures than Sydney University to take out first place,” said Anna, a graduate Bachelor of Laws student.

The $1000 worth of prize money will be used for future campaigns.

Anna and SCU Animal Law Club vice president Emily Williams, a law and social science student, are planning a trip to Darwin later this year to meet with farmers and see the set-up of the industry.

“I am unbelievably excited about winning because it shows there is huge support in regional universities and in the community,” said Emily.
Photo: SCU Animal Law Club president and founder Anna Ludvik and vice president Emily Williams with some of the letters sent to federal MPs calling for a halt to Australia’s live animal exports.

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