Political Animals! Australia needs an Independent Office of Animal Welfare

Political Animals – Anne Boxhall article

May 8th 2016

With a federal election around the corner, now is your chance to ask your representatives to commit to standing up for animal welfare. It’s time to remind politicians that large numbers of Australians feel strongly about the treatment of companion animals, wildlife and farm animals. Food retailers are getting the message with farmed meats and eggs increasingly being marketed under higher standards of animal welfare. Politically though, Tony Abbott’s government took us backwards by dismantling Australia’s animal welfare strategy and not acting to end the live animal export trade despite a litany of on-going atrocities. While other countries have stepped up, Australia has fallen behind. Farmers themselves (and industry groups who represent them) are raising concerns over the fragmented approach to animal welfare laws and standards. Existing laws still allow cruel practices to be inflicted on animals, practices that are no longer allowed in other countries. In 2014, Australia fell behind countries such as New Zealand, UK, Germany and Denmark on a ranking of animal welfare laws and policies of livestock producing countries. A key step in protecting the welfare of Australia’s animals is setting up an independent office to take a leadership position on animal welfare. Respected animal protection organisation Voiceless recently used its national lecture series to advocate for such a body. Currently there is no dedicated branch for animal welfare within the Department of Agriculture. It follows that animal welfare should not be in the hands of departments of agriculture whose primary objectives are economic outputs and industry protection as opposed to ensuring the welfare of animals. Voiceless has provided a summary on where Labor, the Coalition and the Greens stand on establishing an independent office of animal welfare. The summary is available at http://www.voiceless.org.au

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Filed under Animal Advocacy, Animal Rights, Anne Boxhall column, Independent Office of Animal Welfare, Voiceless

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