PUBLISHED ON: 10 February 2012
Australians were relentless last year in their efforts to give our abused live exported animals a voice but what many may not know is that this fierce advocacy has done more than that. It is set to deliver all Australian animals the independent representation they have so desperately needed — through their own office!
The first critical step has been taken — with the Australian Labor party acknowledging the importance of animal welfare to Australians by voting at their national conference to establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare. This is a remarkable development which has the potential to change the animal welfare landscape in Australia.
Our current system has consistently failed animals for decades. Both at the Federal and State levels, departments and ministers charged with looking after animal welfare have as their primary stakeholders the very industries that cause animals the greatest suffering. With this clear conflict of interest — the welfare of animals has always come second to the economic interests of the rural lobby.
This is why in 2012 we still have 500 million animals confined to cruel factory farms; why we continue to subject animals to the horrors of live export; why dairy calves trucked to slaughter can be legally denied food for 30 hours; and it is why after three years of consultation sheep and cattle are still not provided with nationally consistent legal protection.
An Independent Office of Animal Welfare would have the authority to shape policy and make decisions that first and foremost are in the interests of the animals. The IOAW received vehement support from all sides at the ALP conference, demonstrating the strength of our united voices last year and that animal welfare is finally acknowledged as an issue of political and national significance.
It's terrific that the IOAW is ALP policy, but we now need to encourage the government to implement it. If your local Federal member is in the ALP please contact them today: applaud the ALP for voting for the establishment of an Independent Office of Animal Welfare, and note that you look forward to it being established as soon as possible. You have helped us give animals a voice. Now let's get them an office.
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