KIRBY HEADS THE ANIMAL WELFARE DEBATE
Written on the 26 November 2014
FORMER High Court Justice the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG (pictured) returned to Bond University to adjudicate The Great Animal Welfare Debate, hosted by the Bond Animal Welfare League (BAWL) and Law Student’s Association (LSA) alongside the Law Faculty.
The annual event sponsored by McLaughlins Lawyers drew an impressive crowd of spectators including esteemed guests from the Animal Welfare League of Queensland.
Trent Thorne of McCullough Robertson and Hayley Tarr of Hopgood Ganim joined students Jake Buckingham and Marryum Kahloon to debate the question ‘should covert surveillance of commercial animal facilities be criminalised?'.
Kirby delivered the unanimous result by his adjudication team including Bond University assistant professors Jo Hintz and Danielle Ireland-Piper, awarding the debate “by the narrowest of whiskers” to the negative team of Tarr and Kahloon.
“I thought it was a very balanced debate with brilliant speakers, an enjoyable occasion and once again an indication of the public spirit of Bond,” says Kirby.
“The university has this engagement with animal welfare and it isn’t a kinky or foolish issue, it’s a real live issue and is going to grow increasingly more important for Australians in the years to come.”
Kirby extolled the arguments by both teams with special emphasis on the winning point that covert surveillance should not be criminalised, because a little bit of emotion can sometimes be an important ingredient in public policy.
“The world is often improved by knowledge and information, and that is the reason why people who find things that are very upsetting, sometimes contribute to the democratic process,” he says.
“We shouldn’t be embarrassed about the fact that one way of enlivening the democratic debate in animal welfare matters is to reveal what actually happens in slaughterhouses.”
Attendees and participants echoed Kirby’s anticipation for next year’s event as he enthusiastically threw down the challenge for a rematch.
“We think this is a debate that can be revisited in the future as it is likely to be revisited in our country, and therefore we may come back for a return bout next year for the Great Animal Welfare Debate of Bond.”