Independent Office of Animal Welfare

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For as long as animals continue to be defined as ‘property’ and animal suffering is measured against political and economic interest, poor welfare outcomes for animals are inevitable. It is widely accepted that our current political and judicial systems do not deliver adequate protection for animals.

Government departments and ministers whose role it is to improve animal welfare outcomes also work closely with powerful stakeholders such as those involved in live export and large scale factory farming operations. An inherent conflict exists when animal suffering is measured against human interest – animal welfare needs to be managed independently of industry.

Now there's hope for an end to this conflict of interest with the federal government’s establishment of the Independent Office of Animal Welfare. A Live Animal Export Working Party aims to come up with a model to secure decent and humane animal welfare outcomes. The Working Party is expected to report back to caucus by the end of February, with a model for an independent office that would develop and enforce national animal welfare standards.

That the ALP recognise the importance of animal welfare by voting to establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare, suggests that the relentless efforts of so many Australians to engage their politicians on animal welfare issues are finally paying off.

What’s needed now is on-going encouragement to ensure the IOAW does function effectively in the interests of animals. Contact your local ALP member to congratulate them on the establishment of the IOAW and request updates on IOAW working party outcomes.

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