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.