More than 200 people from across the country attended the annual Animal Activist Forum, which was held this year at Melbourne Town Hall over October 19-20.
Participants included independent activists (many attending the event for the first time) and representatives from the Animal Justice Party, Animals Australia, Aussie Farms, Coalition against Duck Shooting, Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, Collectively Free, Dominion Movement, Humane Research Australia, Outback Minds, Palestinian Animal League, Save Animals in Laboratories, Vegan Rising, Vegans Australia and Voiceless.
About 35 workshops were held on topics such as animal ethics and philosophy, the truth about experiments on animals, what a vegan Australian economy could look like and the effectiveness of direct action.
Animal Justice Party state MPs Emma Hurst (NSW) and Andy Meddick (Victoria) described how their work in parliament was contributing to positive changes and helping build new alliances.
Among the achievements they listed were: obtaining $500,000 in funding for Wildlife Victoria (which had previously never received state funding); changing guardianship laws so that guardians must now take pet owners’ wishes about pets into account; mandatory pain relief for sheep undergoing mulesing; a ban on netting that injures and kills fruit bats, removing Red Kangaroo meat from the pet food market; and initiating public discussions on issues such as banning carcinogenic processed meats in hospitals and ag-gag anti-whistleblower laws.
They stressed the need for activists to provide grassroots support to help achieve more.
Speakers also examined how to build the vegan movement, including through alliance building and addressing issues of sexism, racism and other barriers to participation in the movement.