The case that wasn't: why Australian law and codes on the use of animals in the media need to be strengthened

Floyd, Louise (2011) The case that wasn't: why Australian law and codes on the use of animals in the media need to be strengthened. Australian Business Law Review, 39 (3). pp. 200-204.

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Abstract

[Extract] On 12 June 2009, two Gold Coast radio hosts attached 200 helium balloons to a live piglet for the purpose of seeing whether a pig could fly. The broadcast stunt was a play on words at the time of the swine flu (flew?) outbreak. Despite the constant squeals of the piglet and what one may think is the questionable logic of bothering with such an endeavour, this stunt was found not to breach Australian law.

The investigation into the piglet broadcast did not lead to a decided case in Australian law courts. Rather, the details of the investigation are administrative and found in a report of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

That investigation examined the complaint of this author under cll 1.3(a) and 1.5(a) of the Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice and Guidelines 2004 , namely that the broadcast would incite, encourage or present violence or brutality for its own sake and offend contemporary standards of decency. Significantly, from a legal perspective, the use of the words "violence" and "brutality" were said to have set a high legal standard, such that the broadcast did not offend the Code of Practice . This is despite the fact that evidence from the RSPCA stated that: "if the stunt had continued for any further length of time I am sure a breach (of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 ) would have occurred".

This case note argues that there needs to be a reform and strengthening of Animal law in Australia. In particular, there needs to be a redrafting of the Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice and Guidelines to include prohibition of treatment of animals which is cruel or inappropriate as well as that which incites violence and brutality. Further, the case raises the issue of whether there should be an independent ethical committee to adjudge the use of animals in the media. In the view of the author, there should be.

Item ID: 17824
Item Type: Article (Short Note)
Keywords: animal welfare, media, telecommunications, animal ethics
ISSN: 0310-1053
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2011 01:53
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180118 Labour Law @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9405 Work and Institutional Development > 940599 Work and Institutional Development not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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