Stock Handling & Animal Welfare

Agriculture ministers commit to renew animal welfare strategy

Sheep Central, March 8, 2024

FEDERAL, state, and territory agriculture ministers have today confirmed a commitment to jointly lead the renewal of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy and to develop a National Statement on Animal Welfare.

The Federal Government also launched public consultation on the renewal of the AAWS with submissions to close on 20 May this year.

A statement from the Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said the National Statement on Animal Welfare will reflect the shared commitment by the ministers to jointly lead the strategy’s renewal and work with animal industries and non-government organisations to demonstrate Australia’s strong commitment to animal welfare.

Mr Watt said the national statement will signal to Australians and our international trading partners that national collaboration on animal welfare priorities is a shared goal of all governments.

“The National Statement on Animal Welfare will provide a snapshot of the challenges and opportunities in animal welfare in Australia while cementing a commitment to working towards a vision for sustainable improvements.

“Animal welfare is the responsibility of all governments and we know that a strong animal welfare system relies on collaboration across the board,” he said.

“This includes state and territory governments, who largely regulate animal welfare, but all levels of government and everyone that interacts with animals in their everyday life, whether you are an animal owner or carer, researcher, veterinarian, transporter, fisher or farmer.”

The Australian Government has committed $5 million across four years (2023-2027) to the development of a renewed AAWS in the May 2023 Budget, with the objective of providing a framework for a national approach to animal welfare in Australia.

The ministers have agreed on a framework for the development of the strategy, including a set of overarching principles for a national governance model to ensure the strategy includes priorities and actions that are responsive and adaptive to modern challenges, opportunities and science.

The National Statement on Animal Welfare will be a key milestone in the strategy’s development and will also acknowledge the good work already underway in promoting strong animal welfare outcomes across a broad range of animal species, Mr Watt’s statement said.

The National Statement on Animal Welfare will be developed during 2024. Consultation for the renewed Australian Animal Welfare Strategy opened today and closes on 20 May. The new version will be released in chapters, each dedicated to one of six animal groups with the final strategy expected to be released in 2027.

“Animals are important for Australia socially, culturally, and economically,” Mr Watt said.

“They are our companions, providers of assistance, contributors to health and ecological well-being, and suppliers of essential food and fibre resources.

“The renewed strategy will provide a future plan for animal welfare in Australia to address community and international expectations – helping us gain greater market access and maintain current trade wins by showcasing and maturing Australia’s national approach to animal welfare,” he said.

“I encourage stakeholders and the public to get involved and provide their feedback on what the development of the renewed AAWS will look like.”

Feedback can be submitted through the department’s Have Your Say platform.


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