Bad news for vegans who stopped ambos

 

The vegan group behind protests that stopped traffic in Melbourne in April - including ambulances en route to emergencies - has had its charity status revoked following an investigation by Australia's charities regulator.

Vegan Rising protesters crowded into the middle of the intersection at Flinders and Swanston streets on April 8 this year carrying placards and chanting slogans.

Trams, cars and buses were stopped from passing through during peak hour, and ambulances had to be rerouted as the group refused to move.

Dozens of protesters were arrested - many went limp and forced officers to carry them into the back of waiting police vans.

Kristin Leigh with her chicken Sunshine. Ms Leigh’s organisation Vegan Rising has been stripped of its charity status. Picture: David Geraghty/The Australian
Kristin Leigh with her chicken Sunshine. Ms Leigh’s organisation Vegan Rising has been stripped of its charity status. Picture: David Geraghty/The Australian

On Tuesday, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission - Australia's charities regulator - announced Vegan Rising could no longer be considered a charity.

The decision means Vegan Rising is no longer able to access charity tax concessions.

"Following an investigation, the ACNC has revoked the charity registration of  Vegan Rising," the regulator said in a statement.

"Vegan Rising was registered by the ACNC effective 10 September 2017, with the purpose of preventing or relieving the suffering of animals.

"The investigation into the charity was completed on 17 December 2019, with the decision to revoke charity registration effective from that date."

Police move in on animal rights protesters who blockaded a busy Melbourne intersection in April. Picture: Ellen Smith/AAP
Police move in on animal rights protesters who blockaded a busy Melbourne intersection in April. Picture: Ellen Smith/AAP

ACNC commissioner Dr Gary Johns said revocation of a charity's registration was reserved for the most serious of cases.

"Our approach to regulation focuses on education and guidance first. However, when charities are unwilling to comply with their obligations, or fail to demonstrate commitment to their governance, then we will take stronger action," he said.

"Revocation of charity registration is the most serious action the ACNC can take."

Vegan Rising describes itself as a "new animal rights direct action organisation with one objective - to help create a vegan world".

Ambulances had to be rerouted during the protests. Picture: Ellen Smith/AAP
Ambulances had to be rerouted during the protests. Picture: Ellen Smith/AAP

"We aim to challenge the systems of oppression and cruelty that have been normalised and legalised by society and demonstrate there is a much simpler, kinder, ethical and sustainable way to live that is right at our fingertips," the group's website reads.

"We will expose the humane washing of the so-called 'ethicurean' food movement and reclaim what it means to be truly ethical and sustainable in a time where these terms have been hijacked by violent industries who romanticise exploitation and killing.

"Veganism is on the rise. It is no longer a niche movement."

Vegan Rising's campaign director Kristin Leigh could not be reached for comment.

rohan.smith1@news.com.au | @ro_smith


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