Multi-millionaire Jan Cameron has been a mysterious, reclusive figure since she founded the outdoor equipment company Kathmandu in the 1970s. She has a long record of using her millions to fund generous, but sometimes secretive, philanthropy. A resident of Tasmania, she is a sponsor of the Brightside Farm Sanctuary in Tasmania, and has also sponsored RSPCA projects.
Cameron has now launched the Animal Justice Fund (AJF) to help end cruelty in animal farming. The fund will be administered by animal rights organisation Animals Australia. The following excerpt is from the AJF site:
The Animal Justice Fund (AJF) is a multi-million dollar fund established to promote the cause of animal welfare through strategic litigation, public awareness campaigns and the prosecution of persons or businesses who commit offences against animals used in intensive farming or through commercial and/or recreational practices.
The AJF’s aims will be achieved, in part, by the payment of rewards (maximum of $30,000) for information relating to animal cruelty – with a primary focus on animals raised in factory farms who have been exempted from the full protection of animal cruelty laws.
In an article about the launch, the Herald Sun says “Ms Cameron hopes the $5 million will change the way Australians accept animal husbandry to force farmers to adopt kinder care practices for caged animals.”
The Weekend Australian interviewed the fund manager, Lyn White, and reports that “the cash would reward those with evidence leading to a “significant welfare outcome”.”
That could either be a successful prosecution or a high-profile shaming of an intensive-farming operation guilty of animal cruelty.
It was hoped the fund would make Australians aware that acts of cruelty, which if perpetrated against a family pet would lead to a prosecution, were legally permitted against factory farm animals. “Few Australians are aware that 500 million production animals each year in Australia are being denied the legal protection from acts of cruelty that is afforded to dogs and cats,” she said.
Most states exempt factory-farmed animals from laws against severe confinement and against surgical procedures being performed without anaesthetic.
“All would be cruelty offences if those same acts were inflicted on cats or dogs, as they cause pain and suffering,” Ms White said.