How Australia Changed for Good in 2019

Posted on by PETA Australia

It’s truly amazing to see how far we’ve come in 2019. Public opinion is changing, companies are listening, and we’re achieving more victories than ever before for animals. Watch this video to see some of PETA’s landmark moments this year.

Challenging Speciesism

One of PETA’s goals for 2019 was to introduce the concept of speciesism to the Australian public. In January, we kicked off the year with a barbecue for Australia Day asking everyone, “If you wouldn’t eat a dog, why eat a lamb?” The dog on the grill wasn’t real, but our stunt was reported in every major news outlet in Australia as well as internationally. We got people talking about speciesism and boosted orders for our free vegan starter kit!

Following the box office hit Joker, PETA teamed up with its star, Joaquin Phoenix, to remind people that we’re all animals, deserving of equal respect. We worked with DJ Tigerlily on an important article arguing that feminists should be vegan and placed various opinion pieces in mainstream media throughout the year, making sure that the rights of animals were never outside the public consciousness for too long.

Photo of PETA's Australia Day protest in Sydney.

‘Free-Range’ Fraud Exposed

Surely, “free-range” is fine, right? Wrong. PETA exposed what happens at Baiada – Australia’s largest chicken producer – the company supplying Steggles and Lilydale Free Range. The footage aired on the prime-time national television show The Project and showed that even if the label reads “humane” or “free-range”, animals are still subjected to cruel standard industry practices, including severe crowding and a terrifying death.

We’ve since received extraordinary feedback from people who’ve seen this footage and are now making kinder choices for birds.

Vegan Food Is Everywhere!

The vegan food market grew immeasurably this year, and PETA had a hand in helping companies implement more plant-based fare. We teamed up with Domino’s, San Churro, Event Cinemas, and dozens of other companies looking to offer vegan products.

Horse Abusers Charged

Every year, Australian-born horses are exported to South Korea to race for their lives. Eyewitness footage from a first-of-its-kind investigation of South Korea’s largest horse abattoir showed that horses cast off by the racing industry were beaten in the face repeatedly as they were forced into the facility. PETA’s exposé prompted a police investigation and resulted in charges against the abattoir and three of its workers.

Thanks to extensive media coverage, the exposé showed millions of Australians that animals’ welfare is always compromised when they’re exploited for entertainment.

A photo from PETA's exposé of Korea's horse slaughter industry.

Horse Racing Hits Rock Bottom

After it was announced that Taylor Swift would perform at the Melbourne Cup, PETA wrote to the pop star urging her to cancel her appearance – which she did! In our letter, we pointed out that horse racing is rife with injuries and death, as well as being linked to the bloody horse-slaughter industry.

After Swift pulled out, DJ Tigerlily worked with us to issue a warning to other performers and organisers struggled to lure a new headline act. As more people learned about the reality of the horse-racing industry, the Melbourne Cup had its lowest attendance in more than 20 years.

A photo of Taylor Swift, who cancelled her performance at the Melbourne Cup.

Live-Export Reprieve

After all the horrific footage we’ve seen over the past 20 years from the live-export industry, it’s hard to believe this trade still exists, but for three months during 2019, boats stopped sailing to and through the Middle East after we joined with other animal activists in calling for a reprieve at least during the hottest period of the Northern Hemisphere summer.

Meanwhile, live exporter Emanuel Exports was charged with cruelty to animals, with court proceedings set to continue in 2020.

Companies Stop Cashmere Cruelty

In a landmark PETA exposé of the cashmere trade in China and Mongolia, which supply 90% of the world’s cashmere, we revealed that goats screamed in terror as workers pinned them down and pulled their hair out with sharp metal combs. Eventually, they’re barbarically slaughtered. PETA and our international affiliates have since persuaded H&M, Australian Fashion Labels, OneTeaspoon, and dozens of other brands to ban cashmere.

Exposing the Badger-Brush Industry

After releasing a horrifying exposé of the badger-brush industry, PETA successfully lobbied companies to stop selling paint, shaving, and cosmetics brushes made with badger hair. Australian retailer Priceline, e-commerce company Fishpond, and many other companies worldwide have pledged to ditch anything that comes from badgers.

A photo of a badger.

Shaping the Future of Fashion

After decades of pressure from PETA and our international affiliates, many high-end designers, including Prada and Jean Paul Gaultier announced that they’re going fur-free. Even Kim Kardashian did away with her furs in favour of cruelty-free faux-fur coats!

Victoria Beckham banned exotic skins, Burberry outlawed angora, and we helped Bardot shake cruel feathers. These are monumental victories that will prevent the suffering of countless animals who would otherwise have been trapped, electrocuted, bludgeoned, skinned alive, or tied down as their hair was yanked out by the fistful.

This year, we created an eye-catching protest in a busy Sydney mall and worked with Australian actor Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood to raise awareness of the cruelty of wool.

Meanwhile, our “PETA-Approved Vegan” logo is now proudly displayed by more than 1,000 companies worldwide!

Travel Sites Advocate for Animals

This year saw major changes for animals abused for entertainment as influential travel providers TripAdvisor and Airbnb took a stand against dolphin captivity after hearing from PETA’s international affiliates. Their decision makes a huge difference to the lives of all the animals languishing in marine abusement parks such as Sea World on the Gold Coast, moving them closer to freedom.

We released campaigns with Pamela Anderson and Charlotte Crosby calling on Sea World to empty the tanks, and the NSW Government announced an enquiry into cetaceans in captivity and wild animals in circuses, in which PETA and our supporters participated so that one day soon  there will be laws to protect them.

We protested Spanish bullfights and donkey rides on Santorini, and we’ve harnessed the power of news and social media to make people aware that the choices they make when they travel affect other animals.

54 protestors staged a “crime scene” cordoned off with yellow tape in Pamplona, Spain, to call to end the annual torture and killing of the bulls.

Ending the Experiments

In 2019, Australia finally passed legislation ending some animal tests for cosmetics. Herbal Essences stopped testing on animals and joined the “Beauty Without Bunnies” list of cruelty-free brands. And the Chinese government approved two non-animal methods for testing cosmetics, sparing countless animals the agony they endure when substances are dripped into their eyes or rubbed onto their skin.

We released a video with Beatles icon Paul McCartney to call for an end to animals suffering in laboratories and campaigned for global pharmaceutical companies to end the forced swim test – in which terrified rats and mice are dropped into inescapable beakers of water – and made great progress! AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer were among some of the big companies to ban it in 2019.

But we still have lots of work to do to get animals out of laboratories. Our campaign against the use of this experiment at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand will continue into 2020, and we won’t stop speaking up until the school stops using this cruel and useless test.

A photo of two activists protesting outside Victoria University of Wellington.

Thank You!

PETA is only able to continue our work for animals thanks to our members, who are vital in supporting our efforts, and our activists, who take a stand against animal abuse by contacting governments, companies, organisations, and individuals via our online petitions.

In 2019, the world changed because caring, determined people refused to look away, stay silent, or give up while animals were suffering. Until every cage is empty, every chain is broken, and every animal is treated with respect, PETA will not stop. Will you join us in 2020?