Submissions now open for the Green Paper on Australia’s Agricultural Competitiveness

08 December 2014

The federal government is currently producing a White Paper on agricultural competitiveness. It will be a key policy document and will cover a range of issues it considers important to Australian agricultural productivity and profitability. As part of the process the government has issued a Green Paper, essentially a discussion paper, that will act as a basis for the White Paper.

Promoting animal welfare doesn’t mean a reduction in productivity and profits. Big businesses are recognising the importance of animal welfare around the world.

Just last week, World Animal Protection announced our new partnership with Brasil Foods (7th largest agro-food business in the world) who has made a first commitment to phase out sow stalls in favour of group housing. This follows a partnership reached with Nestle earlier in the year.

In Australia there have been advances by a number of retailers. For example, Coles is leading the way in transitioning to cage free eggs and sow stall free pork in its own brands.

It’s clear animal welfare is important to our community and to achieve this we need to let the government know we expect them to show leadership and grow Australia’s performance and reputation in this area.

The Green Paper recognises community support for animal welfare practices and that no-one supports animal cruelty. It states that each state and territory government is responsible for implementing and enforcing domestic animal welfare legislation, and that it is important that states and territories drive reform in this area to achieve good animal welfare outcomes.

Within our submission on the Green Paper we state that the White Paper should go further. Pointedly, that the government should commit to re-engage with domestic animal welfare in a leadership and coordinating role to promote a progressive and harmonised approach to animal welfare across Australia. This year we saw the Federal Government retreat from this role.

You can help put animal welfare at the top of the agenda by either endorsing World Animal Protection’s submission, or by writing one of your own which would have even more impact.

You can make a submission either through the online form or in written submissions to agricultural.competitiveness@pmc.gov.au. In both cases they need to be submitted no later than 12 December.

Points we’d like you to consider including are:

  • Animal welfare should be a core consideration in Australia’s Agriculture competitiveness policy platform.
  • The Federal Government should play a leadership and coordinating role in promoting progressive and harmonised approach to animal welfare across Australia and resource the Department of Agriculture accordingly.
  • That the live export of animals has no place in an agricultural sector that is serious about animal welfare.
  • Instead of continuing to support an inherently cruel live export trade, efforts should be put towards working with industry to phase out the practice, alongside intergovernmental collaboration and the investment in infrastructure needed to successfully transition to chilled and frozen meat exports.
  • From an economic perspective, by continuing to support and focus on trying to grow live export markets, the Government deals Australia out of the economic and employment benefits (known as value-adding) to be gained by processing animals here (thereby avoiding long cruel sea journeys and poor practices overseas).
  • Competition between exporters and domestic processors does nothing to grow the Australian economy. All it will do is bump up the price of meat in Australian supermarkets.
  • Lastly the government’s current pre-occupation in ‘ag gag’ style measures, to clamp down on exposes of animal cruelty, is going to inhibit further advancement of animal welfare within the agricultural industry. It would be far better to focus efforts into making the agricultural sector more transparent and accountable to animal welfare laws and in doing so, grow confidence in the sector amongst consumers.