April 6, 2016
The Australian Government is committed to continuing to deliver good animal welfare outcomes in line with the Australian community’s expectations. The Animal Protection Index (API) released in 2014, does not appear to take into account the hard work and commitment by the Australian Government together with state and territory governments and the livestock industry in improving animal welfare outcomes.
The Australian Government’s core areas of responsibility in animal welfare are regulating live animal exports to deliver animal welfare outcomes in line with the expectations of the Australian community; and engaging on international animal welfare issues through its participation on the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
Australia has been, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of the work of the OIE, which plays an important role to improve international animal health, welfare and trade. Australia has provided leadership to the OIE through the Improved Animal Welfare Program (IAWP). The Australian funding through this program allowed the OIE to deliver train-the-trainer courses in countries importing livestock for slaughter from Australia. For more information on the project please see: http://animalwelfarestandards.org.
The states and territories have responsibility for animal welfare in Australia and along with industry need to be the driving force on animal welfare standards and reform. Our current level of support for the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy reflects the division of responsibilities between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments and removes unnecessary duplication of regulatory responsibility at the national level. I do not believe it will impact on animal welfare outcomes at either the state or national level.
Senator Lee Rhiannon introduced the Voice for Animals (Independent Office of Animal Welfare) Bill 2015 into the Australian Senate on June 24, 2015. The Bill aimed to provide for the establishment of an Office of Animal Welfare as an independent Commonwealth statutory authority with responsibility for the protection of animal welfare in Commonwealth regulated activities.
The Senate referred the Bill to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee for inquiry and report. The Committee released its report on October 15, 2015 and recommended the Bill not be passed.
The Australian Government is confident that the animal welfare arrangements implemented, monitored and enforced under state and territory government legislation will continue to achieve positive animal welfare outcomes.