Farmers push for key changes to proposed animal welfare reforms

Media Releases » Farmers push for key changes to proposed animal welfare reforms

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has identified three key areas of focus in the Victorian
Government’s proposed Animal Care and Protection draft Bill and is pushing for change to avoid
unnecessary and unfair risks for farmers.

VFF Vice-President Danyel Cucinotta said addressing these concerns formed the cornerstone of
the VFF’s submission.

“The government wants to give itself discretionary powers to create licencing and compliance
regimes. We know that if governments get the chance, they will abuse this power and crackdown on
necessary on-farm practices for short term political goals.”

“We have seen governments take knee-jerk reactions in the past such as the Gillard Government’s
overnight closure of the live cattle trade to Indonesia. We can’t let the government have the power
to create licenses and shut down farming businesses whenever it feels.”

“The creation of any licences should be detailed in the legislation and be the decision of the
parliament, not the executive government.”

Ms Cucinotta said farmers were concerned the new legislation could also give rise to legal
challenges by animal activists.

“The draft Bill uses vague, subjective and ambiguous language to define animal care requirements
and we’re concerned this opens the door to animal activists mounting unnecessary legal challenges
against the government and farmers. We are recommending that some of the language can be
improved to make sure the intent of the legislation is clear.”

Ms Cucinotta also said the new laws would bring in offences for intensive farming, transportation of
livestock and exhibiting animals at agricultural shows.

“The creation of new offences targeting farm businesses that operate in intensive animal
environments, or those which transport or show animals are completely unnecessary. All farm
businesses should be treated equally under the law,” Ms Cucinotta said.

Ms Cucinotta stressed the importance of the new laws not enabling anyone’s ideology over the
community and the regulations must be based on scientific evidence.

“We need science-based animal welfare laws that give farmers the tools we need to maintain the
best possible health and welfare of our animals and ensure can still produce the food and fibre that
feed people.”

“It’s important that Victorian farmers are united in our response to these new laws to ensure they
represent a balanced outcome,” Ms Cucinotta said.

The VFF has created a submission template farmers can send to the government to support our
positions. This can be downloaded from the VFF website and needs to be sent to the government
by the 25 March 2024.