Arguing the case for Australian animals

Arguing the case for Australian animals


Independence and integrity vital to progressing animal welfare.

On behalf of a community who expects better and millions of Australian farm animals who deserve better, World Animal Protection today responded to the Productivity Commission’s draft report on agriculture regulation.

The Productivity Commission – the government’s own advisory body – took aim at Australia’s patchwork animal welfare laws earlier this year, and called for an independent national body in its draft report.

In response to the Commission’s recommendation for an independent national body for animal welfare, World Animal Protection argued an Independent Office Animal Welfare (IOAW) would be the most appropriate model.

An IOAW would be a national, independent statutory body with a mandate to coordinate and seek improvements to animal welfare standards across Australia. It would;

  • Have a mandate to achieve excellence in animal welfare.
  • Facilitate balanced consultation between all stakeholders on nationally consistent, evidence based standards to protect animals from cruelty and promote good animal welfare.
  • Meet the expectations of the public and consumers with regard to animal welfare standards.
  • Safeguard Australia’s reputation and investment opportunities, by meeting international benchmarks for animal welfare.
  • Reduce poor animal welfare incidences by taking a proactive, instead of reactive approach to animal welfare.
  • Be staffed by policy, law and community consultation experts, and guided by a balanced advisory committee, with strong animal welfare expertise.

Nicola Beynon, head of campaigns in Australia for World Animal Protection:

“To address the current patchwork of state and territory laws, national leadership is needed to position Australia ahead of the curve for animal welfare. 

“An Independent Office of Animal Welfare would allow Australian farm animal welfare to keep pace with community expectations, independent science and international best practice.

“It is vital that any advisory body is a balanced cross section of those involved in animal welfare (government, industry, animal welfare advocates and independent scientists) and is considerate of ethical questions, community expectations and needs of industry.

“In order to ensure an IOAW remains truly independent and free from conflicts of interest, we recommend funding should come directly from government.”

In recent years, the treatment of animals has increasingly attracted local and international attention, reflecting a shift in consumers’ expectations of acceptable standards for farm animal welfare. 

Market share in higher welfare products continues to grow as the community increasingly prefers and expects animals to be treated humanely. This shift reflects the pressure and expectation from consumers for retailers to keep pace with changing attitudes on animal welfare.

Polling undertaken by World Animal Protection in 2016 found:

  • More than nine out of ten people consider some common farming practices unacceptable
  • 75% of people support the re-establishment of a national body focusing on animal welfare.
  • 84% believe the federal government should set goals for animal welfare and have a plan to achieve them.
  • A clear majority of Australian believe farm animals could be treated better, both city residents (73%) and rural and regional people (70%) alike.
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