Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Anne Box­hall

AN­I­MAL wel­fare is a hot topic re­search- wise and jus­tice- wise. An­i­mal law, the eth­i­cal ‘‘ use’’ of an­i­mals and the wel­fare and rights of an­i­mals are topics en­gag­ing sci­en­tists as well as a grow­ing num­ber of ethi­cists, le­gal prac­ti­tion­ers and mem­bers of the Aus­tralian pub­lic.

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 is to im­prove an­i­mal wel­fare, also work closely with pow­er­ful ru­ral stake­hold­ers such as those in­volved in live ex­port and largescale 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 this month with a model for an in­de­pen­dent of­fice that will de­velop and en­force na­tional an­i­mal wel­fare stan­dards.

That the Government recog­nises the im­por­tance of an­i­mal wel­fare by vot­ing to es­tab­lish this in­de­pen­dent of­fice sug­gests the ef­forts of so many Aus­tralians to en­gage their politi­cians around an­i­mal wel­fare is­sues are paying off.

What’s needed now is on­go­ing en­cour­age­ment to en­sure the IOAW func­tions ef­fec­tively in the in­ter­ests of an­i­mals.

Con­tact your lo­cal La­bor Party mem­ber to con­grat­u­late them on the es­tab­lish­ment of the IOAW and ask for up­dates on IOAW work­ing party out­comes.

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