IN THE NEWS: On SEP 4, 2019
WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT: This is the shocking moment baby goats are shot in the head in a mass cull and dumped into a bin just days after they are born.
The footage was shot on a Victorian dairy farm last Sunday and obtained by Yahoo News Australia amid an inquiry into the impact of animal activists on Victorian farms.
It shows a farmer on a quad bike, towing a trailer load full of white baby goats.
He parks his vehicle next to a large metal bin and, while sucking on a cigarette, walks over to the animals.
He casually picks up a goat and shoots it in the head with a captive bolt gun.
One by one, 10 goats are systematically shot and flung into the corner of the straw-filled trailer.
As the surviving goats watch on, the farmer returns to the pile, removes a living goat and shoots another.
The farmer walks back into frame and tosses the dead goats over his shoulder into the bin.
'No transparency in these industries'
An inquiry into the legality of animal activists getting onto farms and sharing video they obtain is due to continue in Victorian Parliament on Wednesday when animal activists present their case.
The inquiry, championed by the Liberal and National Parties and supported by the Victorian Labor Government, will examine whether current laws are effectively deterring activists.
The Impact of Animal Rights Activism on Victorian Agriculture inquiry is being carried out by the Economy and Infrastructure Committee, and examines potential harm of animal activist activity on Victorian farms.
The terms of reference include examining penalties for those who promote or organise participation of unauthorised animal activism activities.
However, activists want the focus turned back on the rights of whistle blowers to expose issues in the public interest.
Chris Delforce, the director of activist group Aussie Farms, told Yahoo News Australia he was anonymously provided the footage of the goat slaughter to highlight what he says is common practice within the dairy industry.
Mr Delforce said he would be giving evidence and intended to present the footage of the goat slaughter.
"In the context of the current inquiry, we thought it was really important to show that this is why activists are needed," he said.
"Without activists going in and capturing this kind of footage, the public would have no way of knowing what is going on inside of farms.
"There is just no transparency in these industries."
'Thin edge of the wedge'
Victorian Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick said he was concerned that the inquiry could result in laws that would "undermine whistle blowers" and stop undercover footage being captured.
"It is the thin edge of the wedge - once we prevent whistle blowers coming forward in the farming sector, you prevent them coming forward in other sectors," he said.
"We wouldn't have had the royal commission into aged care or the banking sector if we didn't have people willing to blow the whistle on these things.
"When we make draconian changes to trespass laws, we begin to go down that very rocky path of preventing exposure."
Addressing the footage of the baby goats, Mr Meddick said he won't stand by as baby animals are given a bolt to the head.
"This footage is only days old and cannot be ignored," he said.
"The cruelty is absolutely appalling, but it is also completely legal.
"It is a clear example of why we must change our farm animal protection laws in Victoria.
"Currently they allow animals to be treated like trash, in this case, quite literally."
'They keep it secret'
Mr Delforce said activists have been aware the practice of killing baby goats has been going on for years.
"The baby males are considered a waste product – this is the dark side of the dairy industry that the industry doesn't want to acknowledge.
"They keep it secret from consumers."
Mr Delforce explained female goats needed to be impregnated regularly so they produced milk.
"Like humans they don't lactate without first giving birth," he said.
"The babies are taken away from the mothers.
"If they're males they're useless and killed, if they're females they'll be put into the cycle to replace the milkers."