Stock Handling & Animal Welfare

VFF and alliance for animals compete on welfare law responses

Sheep Central, March 18, 2024









VICTORIA’S peak farmer body has hit back with a submission template for respondents to a draft Animal Care and Protection Bill after the Australian Alliance for Animals announced an online submission writing workshop this week.

The Victorian Government has released a draft Animal Care and Protection Bill that will replace the current Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, and it is open for public feedback until 25 March.

The alliance is hosting an online submission writing workshop to help its supporters provide informed feedback to the draft bill on Tuesday, 19 March, from 6-7 pm AEDT.

The VFF has created a submission template farmers can send to the government to support its positions that can be downloaded from the VFF website.

Alliance co-founder, Dr Jed Goodfellow, and I will guide you through the submission process and explain how to use Alive AI’s Submissions Co-pilot. You’ll easily be able to lodge your personalised submission or have everything ready to do so by the end of the session.

The alliance said the government has already pulled back on some key elements proposed in their initial consultation that would have offered better protection for animals.

“We want to ensure that they don’t backtrack any further,” the alliance said.

The Victorian Farmers Federation today said it has identified three key areas of focus in the 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,” she said.

“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.”

She said the proposed laws would also 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.

“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.”


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