The director of vegan documentary Dominion - Chris Delforce - has challenged the Australian Federal Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud MP, to join him in a public debate over the ethics of animal agriculture.
The challenge follows the release of a controversial online map detailing Australian factory farms and slaughterhouses by animal rights organization Aussie Farms - of which Delforce is Executive Director.
After the map was released, Littleproud called for Aussie Farms to take it down, appealing to their 'morality' and suggesting activists 'are not going to stop until we are all eating grass'.
National Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simson accused Aussie Farms of 'terrorist activity', adding: "Here in Australia we are about family farms... they're mums and dads and kids... so, by having their private and personal details published... I think really it is stepping over the line."
Littleproud has however conceded that the map itself is legal.
"This map is about transparency," Delforce said in a statement sent to Plant Based News. "We believe that consumers have a right to know what they’re paying for when they purchase animal products. It was remarkable to hear the minister responsible for the widespread use of gas chambers in pig slaughterhouses and the grinding-up of 'useless' male chicks in the egg industry – to name just a fraction of the horrific but entirely legal, standard practices employed by animal agriculture – speaking of morality.
"With a vast array of footage and documentaries like Dominion now freely available to the public, it’s easier than ever for people to see what these practices look like and make up their own mind. If he truly believes that what this industry is doing is humane and ethical, he should have no issue defending its routine practices in a publicly televised debate.
"It was also pretty odd to hear the minister responsible for our nation’s food system implying that after meat, dairy and eggs, the only remaining food available is grass – is he not aware of the existence of vegetables?"
According to Delforce, the challenge was issued via email to the minister's office today, encouraging a formal debate with an impartial moderator where both sides would be given equal opportunity to speak.