Humane Society International (HSI) says leadership and dedicated resources for animal welfare at the national level are sorely needed and has welcomed Labor's commitments this week, detailed in their six-point animal welfare plan.
"The animal welfare sector watched in dismay when national frameworks for animal welfare were dismantled by the Abbott Government in 2013,” said Nicola Beynon Head of Campaigns in Australia for HSI. "This left a policy vacuum on animal welfare at the national level which has served nobody well, least of all the animals.”
In their six-point plan, Labor has promised to provide $1 million a year to establish the Inspector-General of Animal Welfare as a statutory position responsible for advising on the protection of animals in all Commonwealth regulated activities and the country's animal welfare standards and guidelines. After the latest exposure of extreme cruelty in the live sheep export trade, Coalition Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud appointed an Inspector-General for the Live Export Trade in March.
Under Labor's commitment the Inspector-General will be charged with a broader remit and working with the states and territories to establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare. Labor has also committed to resurrect the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy which provides a vital platform for dialogue between stakeholders to move animal welfare forward.
"HSI says there is much ground to make up to raise standards and restore Australia's reputation on animal welfare. Having an independent office, with integrity that consumers can trust, will be essential to that process,” says Ms Beynon.
HSI is also pleased to see Labor recommit to an immediate stop on live sheep exports in the northern summer and a plan for a five year phase out of the cruel trade altogether. Live exports can never be conducted humanely.
HSI looks forward to a new parliament approaching animal welfare as a national priority with whoever wins government, and calls on the Coalition to set out its plan to restore national leadership on this important policy issue, which is of growing concern to millions of Australians.
Image: Shpernik088 | Wikimedia Commons
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