Report to benchmark Australia’s animal welfare status

Beef Central, 17/09/2012


A ‘State of the Nation’ report into animal welfare has emerged as one of the key priorities for the next year following the gathering of more than 120 delegates in Canberra for the sixth national workshop of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy.

Primary producers, animal welfare groups, scientists, veterinarians, entertainers, sporting bodies, industry leaders and government representatives all with expertise in their fields are working together under the AAWS to deliver new national initiatives to improve the welfare of animals.

AAWS is a Federal Government initiated national plan which guides activities aimed at improving the welfare of animals, as well as provide the Australian and international communities with an improved appreciation of animal welfare arrangements in this country, a statement issued today says.

“This workshop has shown that despite the varied backgrounds and interests of its participants, they are united in their desire to improve the welfare of all animals by every Australian,” Australian Animal Welfare advisory committee chairman, Dr Gardner Murray said.

A ‘State of the Nation’ report would be invaluable as a benchmark for improving efforts in animal welfare across Australia by identifying areas to address as a priority and reinforcing the coordinated approach already being taken, he said. Dr Murray is a former Commonwealth chief veterinary officer.  

“During the workshop, Working Groups have also been focused on finding new ways to engage the wide variety of sectors in our society that interact with animals.  Working Groups have been challenged to set new priorities and develop activities for the year ahead,” he said.

“Many sectors will be particularly focussed on implementing and communicating new national welfare standards and guidelines."

Communications and education and training are also seen as a priority, as is a monitoring and evaluation framework to understand the impact of the AAWS in improving Australian animal welfare outcomes.

AAWS is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and is overseen by an advisory committee to inform Minister Joe Ludwig on developments in animal welfare. The body has no regulatory powers.

The implementation of the AAWS and its success is a shared responsibility with state and territory governments, industry, animal advocacy groups and others.  AAWS members come together under six working groups and three cross-sectoral working groups: Animals in Research & Teaching; Work, Sport, Recreation & Display; Native & Introduced Animals; Livestock & Production Animals; Pets & Companion Animals; Aquatics; Research & Development; Education and Training, and Communications.

Phase II of the AAWS began in 2011 and will continue until 2014.  Projects supported to date include communicating to recreational fisherman how to use the quick and humane method of Iki Jime to kill their catch; teaching teenagers that its ‘Cool to be Kind to Animals’; and working through the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to encourage the development of similar animal welfare strategies in Asia.


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