Animal Welfare Committee
Chair: Chris Nixon
About the Committee
Animal Welfare is a serious concern for food and fibre producers. It is commonly said that a healthy animal is a profitable animal and that is clearly the goal for all farmers. It is important to maintain market access and the VFF continues to work within the industry to develop livestock codes.
Protection of farm facilities
The VFF have been pursuing better protections of farming facilities from the willful damage created by extremist animal activities. We have recently reports incidences where barns have been broken into, damaged equipment, lights and glass and in a clearly malice attempt to injure workers have placed broken glass in gumboots.
There is no excuse for trespassing and destruction of private property and there needs to be stronger protection for farmers from this type of attack. The U.S. has implemented strict protections for farmer that should be given consideration for Victoria.
Livestock Management Bill
A national model of regulation for animal welfare standards is currently being implemented. This entails the development of national codes with standards and guidelines that will need to be incorporated into State Legislation.
Currently the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA) contains the animal welfare codes in Victoria. The DPI is pursuing a new model to incorporate the new national codes. The view is to take these codes out of an Act that has a purpose of dealing with cruelty as the primary function and place them in an Act that is targeted at animal management.
This on face value seems reasonable but there is some concern. One proposal by the DPI suggests including a bio-security management component into the Act with a QA system approach of demonstrating compliance both with the welfare standards and bio-security.
The Market Security Committee is in consultation with DPI to keep abreast of the content of the proposed Bill to ensure farmers are not overwhelmed by red tape and restrictive regulation.
Animal Welfare Advisory Committee
Improving the welfare of animals in Victoria - Draft action plan 2016-2021 [pdf]