Questions for candidates in the 2019 Federal Election

25 Apr 2019

In the lead up to the 2019 Federal Election, Vegan Australia, in association with Vegan NSW, put together a list of questions to send to political parties and candidates to help us understand how they rate on issues such as the well-being of animals, caring for our environment and our health and the protection of equal rights.

The questions and statements are below. You can find out how the parties and candidates rank on issues important to vegans on our election page.

Questions for candidates

About veganism

Vegans seek to live in a way which respects animals and avoids unnecessary harm to them. Vegans choose non-animal foods, clothing, and entertainment. Veganism has significant environmental benefits and a well-planned vegan diet is healthy. The growth of veganism shows how important caring for animals, the environment and health is to many people.

Vegan Australia and Vegan NSW are canvassing candidates in the 2019 Federal Election in relation to the issues below. Please also let us know your party name as well as your name, email and phone number.

Issue 1: Animal well-being

The public is increasingly concerned about the harm caused to animals in agriculture, research, sport, entertainment and other sectors. The suffering and death of animals for the purpose of human entertainment is particularly abhorrent to many, and the efforts of governments to protect the animal agriculture industry from public scrutiny is equally concerning. Testing pharmaceuticals and cosmetics on animals is increasingly being recognised as misleading and ineffective. The next Australian government can lead the way in protecting animals from these abuses.

How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

  1. Animal agriculture practices should be transparent and open to public scrutiny.
  2. Organisations empowered to monitor animal welfare should be independent of government departments whose role is to support agriculture.
  3. Animals should no longer be used in circuses.
  4. All entertainment and sports involving animals should be strongly scrutinised for animal well-being.
  5. Animals should not be used in entertainment or sport.
  6. Animal testing of cleaning, cosmetics and personal hygiene products should be replaced by animal-free techniques.
  7. Animals are capable of feeling pain.
  8. Animals should not be treated as commodities.
  9. Live animal export should be banned.
  10. Animal agriculture should be phased out.

Do you have any further comments on animal well-being?

Issue 2: Animals and environment

Animal agriculture contributes significantly to today's most serious environmental problems, including climate change, loss of fresh water, land clearing, air and water pollution, soil erosion and loss of habitat. The evidence for this is widely accepted, including by key organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the UN Environment Programme, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and even the Australian Department of Agriculture. As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable. Dairy incurs an especially high water and greenhouse gas emission cost. The next Australian government can take significant steps to address these environmental problems.

How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

  1. Animal agriculture contributes significantly to adverse environmental outcomes, including climate change.
  2. Animal agriculture should be included in greenhouse gas emissions measurements.
  3. The industries using the most water in the Murray Darling Basin should be made public.
  4. The total government support for animal agriculture, including subsidies, taxation relief, grants and other payments should be made public.
  5. Sustainable plant-based agriculture should be promoted through education, subsidies and support for animal farmers to convert to plant farming or other uses of the land.
  6. The government should support investment in research into plant-based alternatives.
  7. Environmental labelling of food should be introduced showing the environmental damage of products, such as greenhouse gas and water use, similar to energy efficiency labels.

Do you have any further comments on animal agriculture, climate change and sustainability?

Issue 3: Animal products and health

The evidence is now clear and widely accepted that a balanced plant-based diet is healthy in all stages of the human lifecycle. Evidence is increasingly clear that diets high in animal-based foods are harmful to human health. Some products are particularly harmful, with the World Health Organisation declaring that processed meat causes bowel cancer and removing dairy as an essential food group. The next Australian government has the opportunity to influence people towards healthy food choices.

How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

  1. A balanced vegan diet can be healthy during all stages of the lifecycle.
  2. Diets high in animal-based foods increase the risk of heart disease, bowel cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
  3. Health warnings should be mandatory on foods that are known to be carcinogenic, such as processed meats.
  4. Advertising of harmful animal products, such as processed meats, especially to children, should be banned.
  5. Healthy vegan foods should be promoted in hospitals, aged care and disability services, schools, prisons, the defence forces and government funded events.
  6. To improve the health of Australians there should be more public education of the benefits of plant-based diets.

Do you have any further comments on diet and health?

Issue 4: Vegan rights and education

Most vegans in Australia have sufficient access to suitable food, clothing and entertainment. However, some experience significant barriers to living according to their ethical beliefs. Examples include: misleading advertising of products that harm animals, lack of availability of healthy balanced plant-based foods in a range of environments, work-based rules requiring use of non-vegan products, and out-of-date health workers who perpetrate disproven nutrition myths.

How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

  1. The government should act to ensure all Australians, irrespective of location, ability, status or income, have access to affordable and balanced healthy vegan food.
  2. The government should act to ensure a healthy vegan diet is an option in all hospitals, aged care and disability services, schools, prisons, the defence forces and government funded events.
  3. The government should act to ensure vegans can maintain their ethical beliefs in their school or workplace, such as the freedom to choose vegan foods, clothing, footwear, etc.
  4. The International Standards Organisation should be supported in their efforts to develop a definition for vegan products.
  5. There should be mandatory labelling of all products that incur harm to animals in their production.
  6. Better instruction on healthy nutrition should be mandatory for doctors and other health workers.
  7. Vegan products should continue to have the freedom to be labelled with names such as milk, cheese, sausage, mince, etc.
  8. Restaurants should be encouraged to clearly identify vegan items on menus.

Do you have any further comments on consumer information and access to vegan products?

Vegan Australia is an animal rights organisation that campaigns nationally for veganism. 
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