SEVERAL Australian animal protection organisations have joined forces in a new alliance to push for an overhaul of what they describe as Australia’s outdated animal welfare system.
The Australian Alliance for Animals has been formed with Animals Australia, Compassion in World Farming, FOUR PAWS Australia, Humane Society International Australia, World Animal Protection Australia and Voiceless, the animal protection institute as core members.
The group says it has a combined supporter base of over two million people.
The founders of the organisation include two former high profile RSPCA represenatives who have left the organisation late last year, Dr Bidda Jones and Dr Jed Goodfellow, along with Dr Meg Good, an animal rights lawyer and former senior program manager at Voiceless.
In a statement released to day it said core member groups will continue crucial campaigning on specific issues, such as ending live exports and banning puppy farming, while the Alliance’s unique focus will be on tackling barriers to change, including a failing regulatory system that stymies critical reforms for animal welfare.
“The system used to create animal welfare policy in Australia is broken,” Dr Goodfellow said.
“Our laws have failed to keep up with community expectations with weak regulations continuing to permit cruel practices like battery cages, sow stalls and painful procedures without pain relief.
“Millions of Australians care about animal welfare but their views are not getting through to our political leaders. We’re going to change that.
“By uniting the sector, we have the potential to reach over two million people to support critical reforms. We’re going to make democracy work for animals.
“After many years trying to improve standards for animals, we recognise the entire system must be reformed before any real change can occur,” he said.
“That’s why we’ll be focused on shining a light on the system’s failures and promoting structural reforms to achieve systemic change for animals.
“The formation of the Alliance heralds a new era in animal welfare reform. It’s time to make the interests of animals count.”
The Alliance’s reform agenda includes the establishment of an independent national commission for animal welfare, the creation of ministerial portfolios for animal welfare and the introduction of a fair, consistent and transparent process for creating national animal welfare standards.
Dr Jones said there was ample evidence of the current system failing to produce acceptable outcomes and reflect current science.
“The review of national animal welfare standards for poultry has dragged on for seven long years with still no decision in sight,” said Dr Jones.
“As a result of the excruciatingly slow pace of change, an estimated 70 million more layer hens have endured their entire lives in barren battery cages, despite community opposition to this housing system and extensive scientific evidence that it is inherently cruel.
“Draft national welfare standards for horses have been gathering dust since 2009; the review of pig standards has stalled since 2018, and it’s been an agonising 10 years since standards for abattoirs were first drafted.
“These unacceptable delays are happening across the board. The lack of progress isn’t just shockingly inefficient, it comes at a huge cost in terms of animal suffering,” she said.
“A new approach is long overdue.”
Source: Australian Alliance for Animals