VIC livestock farmers to fight over animal welfare body changes

Beef Central, 26/10/2017

VICTORIAN farmers will go to war over Andrews Labor Government plans to establish a dedicated public sector group for farm and companion animals called Animal Welfare Victoria.

The government yesterday said it was taking action to deliver more support for animal welfare by establishing Animal Welfare Victoria, to bring together all aspects of domestic animal and animal welfare research, policy, education and compliance.

AWV will be overseen by the Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development, Jaala Pulford, and will see animal welfare officers continue to operate through the RSPCA, Agriculture Victoria and local government.

The government also announced a review the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in close consultation with key stakeholders and the Victorian community, to replace it with a modern animal welfare act in 2019.

To support the delivery of these changes, the Labor Government’s Ambassador for Animal Welfare, Lizzie Blandthorn, will lead stakeholder engagement in the development of a new Animal Welfare Action Plan.

The new act will recognise the sentience of animals, reflecting the strong evidence that exists showing animals fear and feel pain. This will ensure animal welfare management and legislation in Victoria develops to meet community expectations, the government said.

Government changes sideline existing livestock committee – VFF

However, the Victorian Farmers Federation is concerned the animal welfare changes are sidelining the Livestock Industry Consultative Committee (LICC), through which the agricultural animal industries engaged with Agriculture Victoria and the State Government on animal welfare.

The LICC consists of representatives from all farm animal industries, processors, transporters, saleyards, agents and regulators including Agriculture Victoria, PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safe Victoria and is chaired by the Chief Veterinarian Officer of Victoria Dr Charles Milne.

VFF president David Jochinke said Victoria’s farm animal industries already adhere to QA programs.

“These programs involve extension, education and include monitoring and enforcement through commercial incentives and supplier obligations.

“These industry activities are complementary to the regulatory controls and meet community and international expectations,” he said.

“We reflect Australia’s position as a leader in modern, sustainable and scientifically based welfare practices”.

Mr Jochinke said the State Government announcement yesterday to establish Animal Welfare Victoria will simply add more cost and more bureaucracy to a system that is already working.

VFF Livestock Group president Leonard Vallence said the federation had no problem with a necessary review of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, but the industry was “going to war” over the creation of AWV to roll companion and farm animals “into one” and the involvement of Ms Blandthorn.

“It’s the left wind wagging the industry’s tail.

“We’re not going to put up with vegan and animal rights groups telling us how to farm.

Animal Welfare Victoria running by February 2018

The State Government said Animal Welfare Victoria is expected to be up and running by February 2018 and would deliver $500,000 in animal welfare grants to non-profit community organisations within its first year of operation.

The Government will also commit to publishing an annual Animal Welfare report by Animal Welfare Victoria that outlines achievements, challenges and actions regarding better animal welfare outcomes in Victoria.

These reforms build on the work of the Andrews Labor Government to end puppy farming, release the draft Animal Welfare Action Plan for community consultation, establish the role of the ambassador for animal welfare and provide additional funding to the RSPCA to improve domestic animal enforcement and compliance.

Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford said all Victorians are committed to good animal welfare.

“We are working to deliver more effective and efficient animal welfare laws.

“Whether it’s in our industries, in our communities, in our homes or in the wild, the community rightly expects we do the right thing by animals,” she said.

“Animal Welfare Victoria will ensure that wherever animals are, their well-being and welfare is a priority.”

Mr Jochinke said unfortunately the RSPCA has walked away from the LICC committee and it now appeared the State Government is bowing to an activist agenda by establishing an entity that places all animals under the one umbrella.

“Animal industries need to remain separated in order to achieve the best welfare outcomes.”

“We look forward to meeting Minister Pulford to discuss the future of animal welfare in Victoria.”

The VFF is calling for further investment into LICC to generate scientific research that underpins legislation and protects access to overseas markets and reinforces Australia’s international leadership in farm animal welfare.


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  1. Judith-Ann Robertson, 31/10/2017

    Please note that Minister Pulford has gone on record as saying that all animal management/all animal husbandry policies will comply with and be replaced with Animals Australia Welfare Standards and Guidelines.
    Please note that Animals Australia is an animal liberationist organisation founded by Peter Singer. They are absolutists with a black and white agenda of a future of no animals owned or cared for by humans and one in which all humans would be vegan. This is an agenda very similar to that of the US animal liberation organisation, PETA.
    Please note that they have very well paid PR and Marketing staff who are highly skilled in using misinformation and mistruths to pull emotive responses from the uniformed public.
    Please note the Animal Justice Party is yet another undeclared part of Animals Australia.
    Please note, Minister Pulford has policy officers on her staff who are members of Animals Australia.
    Please note, Minister Pulford and her staff are targeting each aspect of the animal management/animal husbandry world separately – the divide and conquer strategy, while Animals Australia and its affiliates continue their campaigns of mistruths and misinformation and misdirection.
    Also, please note that the so-called puppy farmer bill, arising from an electoral promise to close down illegal and inhumane puppy breeding operations would have no affect on these sorts of operations. It, instead, targets small and large breeding operations that are currently compliant with domestic animal rearing and breeding legislation, thought to be representative of best practice. Thus far, the legislatively compliant Victorian dog breeding world has been successful in blocking attempts to get versions of this bill passed.
    The opposition and, in particular, the upper house are, in the main, supportive. Start with Peter Walsh, Victorian leader of the Nationals and Opposition Minister for Agriculture.

  2. Susan Lewis, 27/10/2017

    Does the WA government have the guts to follow ? Currently the system in WA is a very unfunny joke …….

  3. Katherine Doolan, 27/10/2017

    I take great offence to anybody that thinks farm animals are just $$$ to most farmers, they are out of touch in their city lives.Most farmers live with, care for more for animals than some people with their children. As far as legislation goes, you don’t have to fix something that’s not broken,animal welfare is already a priority

  4. Julie Mansfield, 26/10/2017

    Animal welfare is a MUST.
    To argue this point is self explanatory that farmers don’t care to recognise the sentience of their animals thus should be watched over VERY carefully…it is nothing but $$$ to them!!

  5. Paul Franks, 26/10/2017

    As Australian people gets more urbanised and further removed from where their basic food requirements come from there is an increase in anthropomorphism in society. This leads to people creating unrealistic bureaucratic processes in place to stop what they consider to be wrong.

    Animal welfare is very important, but what barriers does government put in place that creates more adverse situations to present themselves. I have found in Qld where I am it is now very difficult to get antibiotics. We use them to help cows with prolapses or stuck calves or calves that have been attacked by wild dogs. You simply can not get a vet out for such situations as it is too costly and not necessary. The vets used to supply penicillin to us, but I have been told the government is cracking down on it and they are now reluctant to do so.

  6. Dr Malcolm Caulfield, 26/10/2017

    ‘…Australia’s position as a leader in modern, sustainable and scientifically based welfare practices’. Gosh. When did that happen, and who said it, apart from the VFF and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture? Certainly nobody who knows anything about animal welfare, and isn’t aligned with farming interests. So that means no self-respecting animal welfare scientist (and by that I mean someone who doesn’t take money from the industry). In fact, in 2005, world-leading animal welfare scientist Professor John Webster (author of the ‘Five Freedoms’) said exactly the opposite about Australian animal welfare science.

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