Walking and living the talk
IF there’s one thing you can’t accuse this political candidate of, it’s hypocrisy.
Angela Pollard, a candidate for the Animal Justice Party in the seat of Richmond on Saturday, is the living embodiment of a person who stands by her beliefs.
The former CEO of the Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre, an organisation she helped found, Ms Pollard gave up her legal work to become a full-time staffer in the office of NSW Upper House MP Mark Pearson when he won his seat for the AJP at the last State election.
She is one of 54 candidates standing for the party in the upcoming Federal Election, with the AJP targeting marginal seats around the country, as well as the Senate.
“My focus has always been on social justice,” Ms Pollard said.
“I have always been passionate about workers rights, Indigenous rights, making sure we do something about domestic violence for women, child sexual abuse; that has always been my focus.
“And then I went to a conference about eight years ago now and they ran a session on why animals should have a social justice focus as well and I realised they were absolutely right.
“I had been a vegetarian since my 20s, but realised I had to do better than that.
“I established a volunteer group, with animal carers, farmers, law students and others about basically about how we need to get the word out about how we need to improve our animal welfare laws.”
Ms Pollard’s top concern is banning the export of live animals.
“This is a really serious issue, we need to do something about it, we are failing our animals in this country,” she said.
“(Live export) comprises 3% of our agricultural exports and less than 1% of our overall exports and it has been calculated that it is worth $1.70 a week per Australian, so that is the basis in which we are engaging in one the world’s worst cruelties.”
Growing up as an English migrant in Geelong, Ms Pollard moved to the Northern Rivers some 25 years ago, after falling in love with the place on holiday.
She now lives with her partner of 22 years on their Dorroughby property, just outside of Bangalow, and is a strong advocate for equal love and same sex marriage.
Ms Pollard joined the AJP after the Four Corners exposure of live animal trade a few years ago.
But her vocal work has come at a price, receiving death threats while two of her dogs have been poisoned.
“I thought ‘I’m getting death threats because I’m saying it’s terrible to be cruel to animals?’,” she said incredulously.
“It strikes a chord with people. I think we are all born with a natural empathy for our fellow beings and our society teaches children to ignore those feelings of empathy so that we can consume and use animals. When someone like me comes out... it challenges them and they don’t cope with it.”
In her spare time, Ms Pollard enjoys reading, gardening, vegan cooking and looking after her animals: “I want to live the talk, I don’t know how to do it any other way”.