sheep eat happy in safe field

Independent Office of Animal Welfare will help give Australian animals better lives


World Animal Protection today welcomes the bill to establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare tabled in the Senate by the Greens.

Animal welfare is growing in importance as a national public policy concern, and leadership and coordination from the national government on the issue is needed. An Independent Office of Animal Welfare (IOAW) would see Australia resume a leadership position for animal welfare on the international stage, bringing benefits to animals as well as reputational benefits for Australian producers.

Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection, said:

“This is about the future of animal welfare in Australia.

“Australian animals need leadership at the highest level to coordinate the development of improved and enforceable standards for animal welfare. An Independent Office of Animal Welfare will help give those animals currently suffering under poor welfare practices a chance at a better future.”

Leadership for animals at a national level

World Animal Protection has been calling for a well-structured and properly-resourced Independent Office that 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 through its independent and removal of conflicts of interest.
  • Provide a channel for community and expert involvement.
  • Ensure public funds are used efficiently and effectively.
  • Reduce risk, by taking a proactive instead of reactive approach to animal welfare problems.
  • Ensure animal welfare policy is based on independent reputable science.

Filling the gap

In 2013 the government dismantled the national framework for animal welfare, defunded the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS), and disbanded the advisory body for consultation on animal welfare policy.

Currently there is no dedicated branch for animal welfare in the Department of Agriculture. An IOAW would fill the void and help to resume a leadership position on animal welfare.

Last year World Animal Protection published the first edition of the Animal Protection Index (API) which is a ranking of the animal welfare laws and policies of the world’s 50 biggest livestock producing countries. Australia ranked C, falling short of A-ranked countries such as Austria, Switzerland, New Zealand and the UK. A lack of frameworks for national leadership and coordination for animal welfare let Australia down in the overall scoring, as this was seen as a significant barrier for improvement for many of the indicators.

Take action

Add your voice to the call for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare: sign our petition today.

“This is about the future of animal welfare in Australia.

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