Vote for Australian animal welfare this election

29 April 2016

World Animal Protection is calling on all the major political parties to make animal welfare a priority this election.

The current outdated animal welfare laws, standards and practices are failing Australian animals and community values, as well as creating reputational risk for industry.

The Australian Government dropped the ball when the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) was defunded in 2013. And currently there is no dedicated section for animal welfare within the federal Department of Agriculture.

The prevalence of serious animal welfare scandals including live baiting in the greyhound racing industry highlight the failure of the current system to protect Australian animals and drive progress.

Officially launching their election campaign, Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns in Australia for World Animal Protection, said:

“On behalf of a community who expects better, and the millions of Australian animals who deserve better, we are asking politicians to put animal welfare back on the national agenda.”

“With an election around the corner, we are calling for renewed leadership and the establishment of new national frameworks to drive progress in animal welfare practices across the country.”

Recent research commissioned by World Animal Protection found three quarters of Australians surveyed supported the re-instatement of a national body focused on improving animal welfare by the federal government.

World Animal Protection is calling on politicians to heed community concerns and support an Independent Office of Animal Welfare (IOAW) – a statutory body to champion animal welfare at the federal level.

An Independent Office of Animal Welfare would redress the lack of national leadership, facilitate collaboration, and ensure community expectations for animal welfare are met. It would provide a forum for robust debate between all stakeholders (producers, retailers, consumers, animal welfare experts and advocates) – ensuring the responsible ministers receive balanced, well informed advice.

“The lack of national leadership from the Federal Government is in direct contrast to Australian community values. With many retailers responding to the rise of the conscious consumer and starting to market higher welfare produce, a trend that needs national regulatory support,” Ms. Beynon said.

“Despite this, cruel animal production practices that are being outlawed in other countries continue to be common practice in Australia. These cruel practices include keeping hens in battery cages, using sow stalls, de-beaking chickens without pain relief and puppy farming. Nine in 10 Australians consider these common animal production practices unacceptable.”

 Australian politicians need to take notice. Earlier this year more than 40,000 Australians signed a petition calling for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare to be established and hundreds have since written to their local MP.

“The lack of national leadership from the Federal Government is in direct contrast to Australian community values. With many retailers responding to the rise of the conscious consumer and starting to market higher welfare produce, a trend that needs national regulatory support,”
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