12 September 2016

Animal Welfare in Victoria

The Victorian Government yesterday released its draft animal welfare action plan Improving the Welfare of Animals in Victoria with feedback due by 11 October.

Lizzie Blandthorn MP has been appointed as the state's Ambassador for Animal Welfare.

The Ambassador is
to lead the conversation – collaborating with the community, animal industries and welfare groups. Whether the focus is on pets, animals bred to produce food, or animals in the wild, we all have a role to play in ensuring the welfare of animals. 
The draft plan has been developed with the assistance of the expert Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, a group of animal industry and welfare specialists with a broad range of experience and knowledge. 
Meaningful animal welfare reform requires a collective approach by government, animal industries and the community that underlines a shared responsibility. 
The Government is seeking feedback from interested individuals, industry bodies and community groups on the draft plan's key priorities of a modern legal framework, education and effective enforcement.
The draft plan identifies "three key priority areas to improve animal welfare in Victoria" -.
  • Action Area 1: To develop new, contemporary laws for animal welfare in consultation with Victorian stakeholders and the community. 
  • Action Area 2: Collaborative approaches underpin knowledge, commitment and investment in animal welfare. 
  • Action Area 3: Compliance and enforcement is efficient and effective.
The draft states
Our main animal welfare act – the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTAA) – has been in place for 30 years. It has a reactive approach that focuses on preventing cruelty to animals. In addition, a number of other laws interact with the POCTAA, creating a complex regulatory environment for animal industries and custodians. It is time to review and refresh our legislation and ensure we have laws in place that are contemporary and meet modern international practice. Specifically, we must move beyond cruelty to a proactive approach to animal welfare, by including provisions (such as a duty of care) that provide for an acceptable quality of life for all animals and underpin sound animal welfare practices. 
Contemporary animal welfare laws will provide for clear and timely action to address animal welfare issues. They will also reflect changes in community, animal industries and market attitudes and expectations; advances in research, science and technology; and the whole of society’s responsibility towards animals, domestic or wild. They will be flexible and robust enough to move with innovation and expectations.
1. Victoria’s laws enable a proactive approach to animal welfare, and the humane and ethical treatment of animals, both domestic and wild. 
2. Victoria’s regulatory system underpins positive animal welfare practices and in uences and enables improvements in animal welfare. 
3. Processes are in place to drive continuous improvement of Victoria’s laws that are evidence-based, strive for national consistency and respect community expectations. 
4. Animal welfare laws in Victoria are proportionate to risk and well understood and regarded by the community and animal industries.