Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon today said the Productivity Commission’s recent draft report on the Regulation of Agriculture vindicates the Greens’ bill to establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare.
“The Productivity Commission’s draft report into the Effectiveness of Farm Regulations recommends the Australian Government establishes an independent body to oversee animal welfare standards across Australia to help achieve this aim.
“The report refers to the Greens’ Voice for Animals (Independent Office of Animal Welfare) Bill and confirms the benefits of an independent body tasked with developing animal welfare standards and guidelines and overseeing animal welfare issues.
“The Australian Greens urge the government to back an independent Office of Animal Welfare.
“The Greens’ proposed independent Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) is consistent with the Productivity Commission’s calls. It would be an independent statutory authority that sits outside the industry bias of the Department of Agriculture. The OAW would review, recommend and develop national animal welfare regulations, guidelines and standards.
“It would be guided by an advisory committee made up of independent expertise in animal welfare issues and the science of animal suffering and ethics. Industry representatives would make up no more than half the committee.
“The OAW and its advisory committee would collate and consider the latest international science in animal welfare and suffering, and would commission independent scientific research to inform standard setting processes.
“The report also suggests existing federal and state funding could be diverted to pay for the OAW which would absorb existing duplicated tasks around the country.
“The report also suggests government fund producers to transition to new higher animal welfare standards, which is in keeping with Greens’ efforts to ensure cruel industries are provided support to move away from practices that cause so much suffering in animals,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“The Greens bill will be reintroduced into the new Senate, and I am calling on both major parties to support the bill to strengthen animal welfare at a federal level.
“Comments are being invited on the Productivity Commission’s draft report on the Regulation of Agriculture, and on the most effective structure of a new Independent Office of Animal Welfare.
“I encourage interested parties to respond by the due date of 18 August,” Senator Rhiannon said.