05 Feb Animal activism inquiry makes animal protection recommendations
As most of you know, I am a proud animal activist. I’m also a Member of Parliament. So when it was announced there was going to be a parliamentary inquiry into animal activism, I knew I had to get involved to ensure our side of the story was heard.
If you don’t know much about how the inquiry was instigated – you can read more and watch my speech on it here.
The inquiry, which was established by the opposition to punish animal activists, tabled its report in the Parliament on the 5th of February. It has taken a much more balanced view of the rights of activists and the obligation we have to ensure animal welfare is improved.
While some on the committee hoped for tougher penalties for animal activism, the report recommends no changes to penalties but an accelerated overhaul of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The report also says there is a need for mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses, and an end to routine practices like beating animals to death in farms and the maceration of live male chicks in the egg industry.
I am pleased that the committee took a reasonable and balanced approach, willing to address the real issue – animal cruelty. Routine practices in farming would be illegal if we did them to our cats and dogs and I hope this committee report is the first step in addressing the abhorrent cruelty animals used in agriculture endure.
There were a total of 15 recommendations and I don’t agree with all of them, but some of the key positive recommendations will, if enacted, improve the lives of animals.
- That Victoria supports the Commonwealth in the creation of an Australian Commission for Animal Welfare.
- That the Victorian Government get on with its long-flagged modernisation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTA) as a matter of priority.
- That in the context of the review of POCTA, the Victorian Government consider the need to codify public interest exemptions in the Surveillance Devices Act.
- That the Victorian Government looks at alternative practices around the world in the treatment of live male chicks in the egg industry and the use of blunt force trauma on goats, pigs and cows, with a view to adopting better (world’s best) practice in Victoria. Also, new codes of practice should be mandatory, that is, include regulated penalties for non-compliance.
- That the Victorian Government consider following the English model in making CCTV cameras mandatory in every slaughterhouse.
- That Agriculture Victoria audit their responses to animal welfare complaints last year to see if they are taking appropriate action and that statistics distinguish between ordinary ‘livestock theft’ and animals taken by activists.
You can read a copy of the full report here. I know on the surface it might not seem positive, but let me assure you, this is a win for our community, the rights of whistleblowers and consumer transparency.
It’s important to note the recommendations in the report are simply that – recommendations. The Victorian Government is not obligated to act on them. But I certainly hope they do, and will continue to encourage that.
Congratulations to everyone who made a submission and gave evidence – together we ensured this inquiry was fair and addressed the real problem – animal cruelty.