No showtime for animal activists at Perth Royal

Zach Relph and Cally DupeCountryman
An animal activist protest did not disrupt the opening day of this year’s Perth Royal Show.
Camera IconAn animal activist protest did not disrupt the opening day of this year’s Perth Royal Show. Credit: Iain Gillespie

The Perth Royal Show has avoided any major animal activism demonstration, despite reports of a planned pro-vegan protest at the State’s premier agriculture event.

Ahead of this year’s show at the Claremont Showgrounds, Nationals WA agriculture spokesman Colin de Grussa sounded the alarm and warned of planned animal activism activity.

Mr de Grussa had learnt that a protest, reportedly scheduled to take place on the opening weekend, would be held by the Perth branch of animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere.

Instead, James Warden and Arkadiusz Swiebodzinski were among group members stationed at one of the event’s main entrances to “outreach” their pro-vegan message on Saturday.

In a live video posted on a DxE social media page, which only had 265 views when Countryman went to print on Tuesday, Mr Swiebodzinski detailed the members’ reasoning for attending the show.

“People claim to love animals, which is very true, they do love animals, but they only consider a couple of species,” he said.

“They don’t really consider the animals which are ending up on their plates.

“So we are here to ask them to start considering farmed animals and their love for them.”

Royal Agricultural Society of WA president Paul Carter confirmed show organisers had been in consultation with WA Police regarding a possible animal activism demonstration.

However, Mr Carter acknowledged people have the right to protest peacefully.

“If they want to respectfully and peacefully state a message outside Gate 1, everybody has a right to do that,” he said.

“It is only where anybody, and I don’t care who that is, would look to aggressively create a disturbance inside the grounds that we would be taking action.

“It is WA’s biggest community event and it is a responsibility of ours to make sure we deal with all of WA’s emergency services to make sure this event is a safe one.”

Mr Carter said it was “absolutely critical” to maintain the show’s essence — agriculture.

“This is a showcase of agriculture and it’s a family event, and I think ... they have recognised that,” he said.

“We haven’t seen too much action and we hope not to see too much action.

“It is more and more about agriculture on show, because we know city-based kids are not travelling into the country like they were 30-40 years ago to have a direct exposure to and engagement with farm animals.”

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