There has been an uproar over the brutal killings and treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesia, as shown on ABC’s Four Corner’s program yesterday. I have to admit, I am not an animal lover but this was beyond what I could bear to see on TV. Too much blood, too gruesome and just terrible to view. I changed channels about half an hour in, couldn’t imagine seeing more of such treatment to animals.

Q and A came to my rescue soon after. It was a refreshing change to watch pollies have a go at each other and trying to chop each others heads off and the rest of the panel just enjoying the circus performance.

Most of the debate focused on the proposed carbon tax but the last question really made me think hard and deeply. Matt Graham asked, “While animals are experiencing cruelty and suffering on boats going from Australia to Indonesia, refugees sail past them in the other direction, also in unspeakable conditions. Which story is more likely to generate compassion from the average Australian?”

Now that really took the panel by surprise. The panel agreed that it is a sad fact that the animals will be looked upon more compassionately.

I was just thinking, what a strange country we are. I do not condone the treatment of Australian cattle in abattoirs in Indonesia. I am startled to see that overnight over 20, 000 people signed a petition with Get Up! to ban live exports to save those animals, whilst we treat asylum seekers in the most appalling manner.

Today the Federal Government suspended live exports to 15 Indonesian abattoirs, have you heard it suspended boat people going to detention centers? Have you ever heard the Immigration Minister say that the footage and misery those asylum seekers live in is unacceptable therefore we will look at a more humane way to deal with it?

All hell broke loose when we saw footage of animals in severe distress, but it is “politically incorrect” to speak out against inhumane treatment of “foreign” humans who seek asylum in our homeland. “Australian” cattle have our backing and we will save them if they are hurt, our fellow human comes fleeing persecution, hardships and their life is in risk and we lock them up as they “skipped the queue.”

I do not mean to undermine the treatment of those animals in any way, yet I strongly believe we should be compassionate to our neighbour seeking asylum.

The cattle were tortured for several minutes and that was too long and inhumane, but it is absolutely fine to detain a human for years in horrible detention centers,  use them for political scoring and continually toy with the idea of how to best “deter” people smugglers whilst they are suffering all kinds of distressing moments.

Just like it made no difference whether the cattle was raised on a rich pasture or a poor one, they both faced the same fate, the same applies with those who seek asylum. It doesn’t matter whether you are a child, pregnant woman, an elderly couple or a muscular man, you experience the same harrowing time in detention centers.

It is shameful we are quick to judge asylum seekers as “illegal”,  “boat smugglers” and “queue jumpers” and forget we are of the same flesh and blood, these are the people whom we should care about first, not animals. I am not saying we shouldn’t care about animals, of course we should. Our compassion and care to our fellow man should be much greater than we have for cattle.

I will finish off with a question, “If this was your family, your mum, dad and younger siblings, how would you act?” I wouldn’t think you would accuse them of skipping the line if they faced persecution and their life was at risk.