Canberra needs a champion for Australian animals
Now the federal election has been called, World Animal Protection is campaigning for strong animal welfare commitments from all the major political parties.
The Australian Government dropped the ball when the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) was defunded in 2013 and responsibility for coordinating domestic animal welfare was devolved to the states and territories.
World Animal Protection is calling on politicians to redress the lack of national leadership and support an Independent Office of Animal Welfare (IOAW).
More than ever the animals in our care need a champion in Canberra to drive progress, facilitate collaboration, and ensure community expectations for animal welfare are met.
A statutory body to champion animal welfare at the federal level would:
· Safeguard Australia’s reputation and investment opportunities, by ensuring international benchmarks for animal welfare are met.
· Facilitate inclusive consultation between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and all relevant stakeholders on animal welfare policy and standard setting.
· Build trust amongst the public and consumers in animal welfare standards - removing conflicts of interest.
Provide a channel for community and expert involvement, ensuring animal welfare policy is based on independent reputable science.
· Ensure public funds are used efficiently and effectively.
Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns Australia for World Animal Protection said:
“Australians care about animals but our laws, standards and practices are failing Australian animals and community values, as well as creating reputational risk for industry.”
Politicians need to heed community concerns as a galaxy survey recently commissioned by World Animal Protection found:
· More than half (55%) of people are more likely to vote for a candidate that supports the establishment of an independent body to improve animal welfare standards.
· Those living in regional and rural areas (70%) are just as likely as capital city residents (73%) to think the treatment of farm animals could be improved.
· The majority, 75% of people supporting the re-instatement of a national body focused on improving animal welfare by the federal government
The federal election presents a big opportunity to turn things around and put animal welfare back on the national agenda.
Earlier this year, more than 41,000 Australians signed a petition calling for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare and hundreds continue to write to their local MP to let them know Australian animal welfare is a priority for them this election.