Where do major Queensland political parties stand on animal welfare?
In the lead up to the Queensland election, hundreds of our supporters wrote to Queensland Labor, Liberal National, Greens, Palmer United and Katter's Australian parties, to seek a commitment on several different asks aimed at improving animal welfare.
Responses from Queensland Labor, Liberal Nationals and the Greens can be viewed below. Unfortunately, we did not hear back from Palmer United or Katter’s Australian parties.
UPDATE: Response from Queensland Katter Australia Party received.
A message from Andrew Bartlett, on behalf of Queensland Greens
Thank you for your correspondence seeking the position of the Queensland Greens on seven key policy areas for animal protection. The Greens are happy to express support for each of these policy areas.
We support more focus being given to the welfare of animals caught up in natural and other disasters, including the implementation of the National Planning Principles for Animals in Disasters.
The Greens recognise the significant harm caused by ghost fishing and support the provision of further resources aimed at tackling this issue, with full consultation with relevant stakeholders about the most effective ways to remedy this situation.
The Greens support an independent office being established with a specific focus on animal welfare issues, and recognise the necessity of the Commonwealth playing a lead role in this area. We will work with our colleagues in the federal Parliament to maintain pressure on this goal.
The Queensland Greens will neither introduce nor support so-called ‘ag-gag’ laws aimed at reducing transparency in the treatment of animals in industry and entertainment.
The Greens at both state and federal level maintain our strong opposition to the live export trade and the adoption of an alternative industry.
In addition, the Greens have also committed to:
prohibit hunting native reptiles, birds and mammals for sport
promote sustainable fishing
phase out farming practices such as de-beaking, battery cages and sow stalls
end puppy farms
dedicate funds to facilitate the peaceful coexistence of the community with flying-fox camp and feeding locations.
A message from Andrew Jackson on behalf of Queensland Katter Australia Party
Committ to improving the welfare of all animals caught up in disasters, used in farming, kept as pets and in the wild.
KAP commits to the welfare of all animals However where adequate animal welfare is currently in place we do not commit to improve this already adequate welfare.
Commit to ensuring the recently National Planning Principles for Animals in diasters are implemented within state and local disaster plans
KAP will place emphasis on the care of humans during times of Disasters and animals will be a lower priority.
Publicly acknowledge ghost fishing by lost and discarded fishing gear as a significant animal welfare issue.
KAP will increase Australian Commercial fishing and does not view ghost fishing as a priority.
Promise to establish an independent Office of Animal Welfare.
KAP makes no commitment
Promise to lobby the Commonwealth to resume its leadership and coordoinating role on animal welfare accross Australia.
It is KAP’s belief that this matter is a State responsibility and that it should be left to State Governments to deal with
Promise not to introduce legislation to suppress transparancy on farms.
NO we do not give you an undertaking.
Call on the Australian government government to transition our international exports away from the inherently cruel live animal trade and to the more humane chilled meat trade.
KAP will not restrict live animal exports but supports and will actively encourage chilled meat export and canned meat export. However chilled meat and canned meat are unlikely to be a substitute for live animal exports.
A message from Tim Mulherin, Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Queensland Labor has committed as part of its agriculture policy to create a new animal welfare advisory board comprising technical, community and industry representatives to advise on issues associated with the development and promotion of codes of proactive for the humane treatment of production animals at all stages of the production cycle.
The treatment of animals on farm, in transport and at the point of slaughter is becoming a significant and growing issue. How animals are treated will clearly determine how they are farmed, transported and slaughtered in the future. Industry needs to be proactive and able to demonstrate that it is following best practice. The new board will provide best-practice advice to the Government.
We invite World Animal Protection to submit its proposals to the new animal welfare advisory board upon establishment.
In relation to animal welfare, we also wish to note two related policy positions.
Live Cattle Export
Queensland Labor is committed to supporting the live cattle export trade.
A Queensland Labor Government will protect dogs from cruelty by establishing a compulsory registration scheme for dog breeders who hold 20 dogs or more.
The registration scheme will ensure that breeders of dogs in large numbers will be able to be tracked and located. All registered dog breeders will be issues with a breeder ID that will be displayed where puppies are sold. It will be mandatory to include this information on the microchip implanted in each new dog from 12 weeks after birth.
Registered dog breeders will be regularly monitored for compliance with breeding standards set by Dogs Queensland and RSPCA Queensland. Female dogs which breed puppies will be protected from overbreeding by these same standards. The registration scheme has been developed in consultation with RSPCA Queensland and Dogs Queensland.
A message from the Newman LNP Government
The Newman LNP Government should be judged on its track record of addressing animal welfare and also its election commitment to support Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) with a $5 million program to upgrade animal shelters at key regional centres in Queensland. Link to program.
This commitment has been warmly welcomed by the RSPCA because it will help with its immediate animal housing and re-housing needs. The program will also be used to upgrade facilities in centres including Cairns, Townsville and Bundaberg, to assist with the animal welfare needs in times of natural disasters such as cyclones and floods. The program will help RSPCA work with local councils on this important issue.
… the Newman LNP Government is firmly committed to animal welfare and has cracked down on cruel puppy farms and all mistreatment of animals.
The Newman LNP Government acted quickly to increase penalties against cruelty and mistreatment of animals. Queensland now has the toughest penalties in Australia – with fines of up to $200,000 and or up to seven years’ jail.
In respect to your specific queries I’m pleased to provide the following responses.
Commit to improving the welfare if all animals caught up in disasters, used in farming, kept as pets, and in the wild.
The best way for pets to be protected during a disaster is to ensure their owners are protected. Under Strong Choices, the Newman LNP Government will be putting $500 million towards disaster funding. In the last term the Newman LNP Government had a strong focus on disaster mitigation that had not been seen in Queensland in a generation.
A pet’s safety is dramatically increased if their owner is prepared. A re-elected Newman LNP Government will continue to incorporate specific messages about a What if Plan for pets to encourage people to make plans for their pet in the case of an emergency.
Further to this the $5 million for shelters provided to the RSPCA by the Newman LNP Government will assist to better house animals separated from the owners during emergencies.
Commit to ensuring the recently agreed National Planning Principles for Animals are implemented within state and local government disaster plans.
The Newman LNP Government recognises the importance of animal welfare in disaster events and has worked closely with the RSPCA on the issue. The Queensland Police Service and the Office of the Inspector-General of Emergency Management conduct assurance reviews of Local Disaster Management Plans and will continue to work with local governments to integrate animal welfare into local plans.
Publically acknowledge ‘ghost’ fishing by lost and discarded fishing gear as a significant animal welfare issue, and commit to working with stakeholders on solutions. Globally we estimate that 136,000 seals, sea lions and large whales are killed each year, and thousands more sea turtles and seabirds.
Ghost fishing is a real problem that needs national and international responses in Commonwealth and international waters. In Queensland, the Newman LNP Government has delivered on its major commitment to improve the sustainability of its fisheries through its $9 million inshore (State waters) net fishery buyback. The buyback has successfully removed between 25 and 30 per cent of potential commercial effort and the equivalent of 93 kilometres of commercial net from Queensland’s East Coast. Arguably, no state government has done more than the Newman LNP Government to address the long-term, sustainable management of its fisheries.
The Newman LNP Government has undertaken, a wide-ranging and independent review of fisheries management and if re-elected, will continue with this professionally developed proposals for reform. The licence buyback program has removed a total of 76 commercial fishing vessel licences and 117 large net mesh fishing authorities. In particular:
The LNP favours transparency throughout the marketing chain, from paddock to retail;
The LNP supports high, national standard for animal welfare throughout the marketing chain;
The LNP and Queensland industry support national livestock standards; and
The LNP Government is concerned about unauthorised entry to farms that risk high levels of biosecurity standards.
Promise to establish an independent Office of Animal Welfare, or an independent statutory position of Inspector General of Animal Welfare.
The Newman LNP Government takes seriously animal welfare. We have introduced the toughest penalties in Australia for animal cruelty – with fines of up to $200,000 and or up to seven years’ jail.
We have in place an effective animal welfare system with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, local governments and the independent RSPCA. Establishing more bureaucracies wi assist the frontline efforts of the organisations already given the task of maintaining animal welfare standards. All are empowered to launch prosecutions for breaches of animal welfare.
Promise to lobby the Commonwealth to resume its leadership and coordinating role on animal welfare across Australia. Specifically calling for the Commonwealth to re-establish, facilitate and resources a national platform discussing animal welfare policy
Australian animal welfare standards are developed by the Animal Welfare Task Group. Animal Health Australia leads the process to develop and implement consistent standards across Australia. The National Standards on animal welfare are based on current scientific knowledge, recommended industry practice and, through the development process, will largely reflect community expectations.
Call on the Australian government to transition our international exports away from the inherently cruel live animal trade, and to the more humane chilled meat trade. Specifically call for greater support of infrastructure as is necessary for chilled meat exports, alongside a stronger focus on the elimination and/ or reduction of trade barriers in the international market for processed Australian meat.
The issue of trade and live animal exports is a Federal issue. The State Government has no authority in this area.