Dear Minister Dutton,
As someone who is active in migrant aid operations in France, I’m writing to you with grave concerns about the treatment of refugees and their animal companions at the Australian government’s Manus Island detention centre.
The prolonged detainment of these people is appalling, but recent reporting from the camps indicates a new level of violence and suffering. I want to share with you information about a particular incident, drawn to my attention by my friends at PETA.
While refugee were being transferred between camps recently, a dog named Foxy, who was traveling with her refugee companion, was reportedly thrown from a moving bus by one of the guards.
Animal feel pain, stress, and fear just as we do, and such callous abuse is unacceptable and threatens everyone in your care on Manus. Psychology experts and law-enforcement officials agree that cruelty to animals is an important predictor of violence towards humans, and it appears regularly in the records of society’s most vicious criminals.
Just as we all love the cats and dogs who share our homes, members of the Manus Island refugee community care deeply for their animal companions and share with them the precious few resources that they have. Foxy’s primary caregiver is understandably distraught by the guard’s actions. Displaced people often form close bonds with animals, who provide unconditional love and hope. Of all the things that refugees endure, emotional trauma is often the hardest to bear.
May I hear from you soon that you’ll launch an investigation into this incident and give Foxy and her guardians the justice they deserve?