Labor will reinstate national leadership in animal welfare matters and dedicate resources to a new national framework.
Labor will achieve this with our six-point plan to ensure protecting animals is a top priority for every industry that works with them.
Protecting animal welfare and boosting agricultural profitability aren’t competing aims – they support one another.
The growing demand for high quality food produced in an ethical way means Australia’s agricultural producers must embrace the highest animal welfare standards to stay internationally competitive.
Labor has a six-point plan to re-establish national leadership on animal welfare – filling the void left by the Abbott-Turnbull Government over its time in office.
A Shorten Labor Government will:
1. Establish an independent Office of Animal Welfare
In government, we will work with the States and Territories to identify the most appropriate structure for an Office of Animal Welfare operating independently of government. The office would ultimately have responsibility for providing advice and oversight on the full spectrum of animal welfare issues – including issues like kangaroo culling, puppy farms and commercial animal husbandry – with equal buy-in from the Commonwealth, States and Territories.
Labor will also re-establish State and Territory intergovernmental cooperation to ensure animal welfare matters receive the consistent national approach they deserve.
2. Establish an independent Inspector-General of Animal Welfare
We will provide $1 million a year to establish the Inspector-General of Animal Welfare as an independent statutory position operating from within the Department of Agriculture. The Inspector-General will be responsible for leading the work to establish the independent Office of Animal Welfare. They will also be responsible for advising on the protection of animals in all Commonwealth-regulated activities, and will report directly to the Minister of the day on issues like live exports, animal welfare standards and guidelines.
3. Renew the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy
Labor will work with the States and Territories, industry and animal welfare groups to update and renew the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy for the coming decade. We will draw on the best available research and evidence to develop a strategy that confirms Australia as a leader in our region for the care and protection of animals.
4. Review the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System
The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System plays a critical role in reassuring Australian agricultural producers, their customers and the broader community that animal welfare is being protected at every stage from the farm gate to the plate. In government, Labor will conduct a top-to-bottom review of the system to ensure it is working as effectively and efficiently as possible.
5. Provide more transparency and accountability
Under Labor, the Minister for Agriculture will provide quarterly reports to the Parliament on:
• New and emerging markets.
• The number of head exported.
• Any allegations of breaches of animal welfare standards and investigations undertaken.
• Any sanctions or other action taken for breaches of Australia’s animal welfare standards.
6. Ban animal testing for cosmetics within Australia and the importation or sale of new products tested on animals overseas.
Labor’s national consultations on animal testing in 2014 received more than 13,000 submissions. Over 90 per cent supported a ban on animal testing for cosmetics, along with the importation of products that use this.
In delivering our plan to better protect animal welfare, Labor will consult with the States and Territories and stakeholders across primary industry to ensure these policies promote international competitiveness for producers and do not undercut it.
Raising the bar on animal welfare will ensure our agricultural producers can continue to expand into the growing consumer markets in Asia and beyond, building on Australia’s reputation as a provider of clean, green and safe products.
For further information on Labor’s animal welfare plan please visit http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/protecting_animal_welfare_fact_sheet