22 Years – Australia’s animal welfare laws, industry

22 Years –
Australia’s animal welfare laws,
industry/government alliances, attitudes
and government processes.
Glenys Oogjes
Executive Director
Animal Law Workshop – 24 September 2005
Some significant dates/events
1976 Animal Liberation – the book- by Peter
1978/79 Animal Liberation – the groups, started
around Australia focusing on ‘factory farming’
1980 AFAS (Australian Federation of Animal
Societies) formed with 24 founding societies
(spurred by Minister Nixon saying an inquiry into
intensive farming would be launched if only he
could deal with just a single policy entity)
November 16 1983 – Senate motion by Don
Chipp, to establish a Select Committee on Animal
A Senate Select Inquiry
into Animal Welfare, 1983 - 1991
Terms of Ref. to inquire into and report
‘The question of animal welfare in Australia,
with particular reference to:
1. interstate and overseas commerce in
2. wildlife protection and harvesting;
3. animal experimentation;
4. codes of practice of animal husbandry for
all species; and
5. the use of animals in sport.’
A Senate Select Inquiry
into Animal Welfare, 1983 - 1991
Aspects of Animal Welfare in the Racing Industry
Tabled August 1991
Equine Welfare In Competitive Events Other Than Racing
Tabled August 1991
Transport of livestock within Australia
Tabled August 1991
Culling of large feral animals in the Northern Territory
Tabled June 1991
Intensive livestock production
Tabled June 1990
The racing industry - Interim Report
Tabled June 1990
Sheep Husbandry
Tabled October 1989
Animal Experimentation
Tabled 1989
Tabled 1988
Dolphins and whales in captivity
Tabled 1985
The export of live sheep from Australia
Tabled 1985
SSCAW - recommendations
Live export (1985)
‘ The Committee came to the conclusion that if a decision was to
be made on the future of the trade purely on animal welfare
grounds, there is enough evidence to stop the trade. The trade
is, in many respects, inimical to good animal welfare, and it is not
in the interests of the animal to be transported to the Middle East
for slaughter.
‘The implementation of reforms will help to reduce but not
eliminate stress, suffering and risk during transportation of sheep
to the Middle East.
‘Therefore a long term solution must be sought. The substitution
of the sheep meat trade for the live export trade offers such a
‘Export of live sheep from Australia’ Report of the SSCAW 1985
SSCAW - recommendations
Intensive pig farming (1990)
‘ It is this Committee’s view that an intensive system is proper if the
health of the animals is not affected, if their behaviour is not disturbed,
and if their adaptability is not overcharged’.
‘The Committee has considered the dry sow housing question and noting
the advantages of stalls and tethers (protection from bullying, close
monitoring and control of food intake), believes both to be undesirable
means of restraint.
‘future trends in housing of the dry sow should be away from individuallyconfined stall systems..’.
‘sow size has increased over the years’ and so recommended that
attention should be given to sow stalls and farrowing crates to ensure they
‘do not cause suffering due to cramping’, and that the Pig Code should be
revised so that ‘stalls and crates reflect the body dimensions of large
‘Intensive Livestock Production‘ Report of SSCAW 1990
And the outcome of a decade of awakening?
Many suggested Code changes
New legislation, Codes, exemptions…
Legislation was reviewed in all States from 1985 onwards. All looked to ways
to ‘exempt’ intensive farming and other controversial practices from the
cruelty provisions of the Acts. The Codes provided the means.
E.g. 1992 review started to Qld 1925 Act – Drafting instruction stated:
‘Obviously, it will be quite some time before Codes can be developed and
introduced under the legislation.
A way must be found to ensure that accepted practices under current
legislation do not become illegal in the interim.
A practical way of dealing with this problem could be to make a Regulation
stating that where a Code of Practice has not been incorporated under this
new legislation, acknowledged practices will remain legal’.
[From Corish J.A. of NSW Agriculture – Ministerial Review of POCTA, Vol 2 ‘Comparative
Study of Australasian Legislation’, Feb. 1993]
Codes of Practice –
how they eventuated
[After the development of the poultry Code] Other early Codes were
developed as national guidelines by the Commonwealth Bureau of Animal
Health after the Australian Agricultural Council (AAC) in 1980 considered
the mounting challenges by animal welfare interests to accepted
methods of Australian livestock management and animal
experimentation. In particular, the Council considered implications for
the intensive animal industries and live animal exports with a focus on the
conditions of transport of livestock over long distances, aspects of the
slaughter of stock, intensive farming practices in the pig and poultry
industries and the control of feral animals.
[Review of the Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals,
Neumann, February 2005 – Unpublished, available from AA].
When documenting the ‘agricultural industry view’ of Codes, Neumann states
‘…there is a general concern that involvement of the industries in Code
development was based on documenting existing management practices
and that compliance would be voluntary’.
N.B. Model Codes are available from: http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/22/sid/11.htm
State adopted Codes may vary slightly from the nationally-determined ‘Model Codes’.
Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals
Road Transport of Livestock – 1983
Rail Transport of Livestock – 1983
Sea Transport of Livestock – 1987
Air Transport of Livestock – 1986
Animals at Saleyards - 1991
Cattle – 1992
Domestic Poultry - 1983
Farmed Buffalo -1995
Farmed Ostriches - 2003
Feral Livestock Animals – 1991
Husbandry of Captive Bred Emus – 1999
Land Transport of Cattle - 1999
Land Transport of Horses - 1997
Land Transport of Pigs - 1997
Land Transport of Poultry – 1998
Livestock at Slaughtering Establishments - 2001
The Pig – 1983
The Intensive Farming of Rabbits - 1991
The Camel – 1997
The Farming of Deer - 1991
The Goat - 1991
The Sheep – 1991
(now species/specific Codes)
Australian Standards for the Export of
Livestock 2005
2nd Edition 2004
2nd Edition 1992, 3rd 1995, 4th 2002
Under review
Under review (changes to toe cutting!)
Under review
2nd Edition 1998, Under review again
Under review
New Mulesing Appendix
Codes document practices to
ensure they cannot be prosecuted.
Compliance with Codes is effectively an exemption in all jurisdictions
– but formalized defence clauses occur in
NT – Section 79
Victoria – Section 6 (1)
Queensland – Section 40
Western Australia – Sect 25
SA – Sect 43 (and SA alone makes compliance a requirement)
The other States/ACT each ‘recognise’ Codes (gazetted) and thus
effectively enable them to be used as an indicator to a magistrate
of ‘acceptable’ husbandry standards (NSW, Tas, ACT)
What existing Codes allow…
Castration of ‘farm animals’ without anaesthetic
Cutting the toes off emu chicks (de-clawing)
Cutting or grinding the teeth of piglets
De-horning of adult cattle
Hot iron branding of cattle
De-beaking of chickens with a hot iron/wire
Transporting cattle can be for up to 48 hours, and up to 30 hours for
Giving hens less than the equivalent of an A4 page/space, no perch, no
Allowing pregnant sows just a cement/metal stall, where they cannot even
turn around
Allowing sows to give birth and nurse piglets in farrowing crates for
another 4 weeks
Mulesing sheep (cutting the skin from their behind, with no analgesia)
Flank spaying of adult cattle
Tail docking of adult (dairy) cattle, lambs, piglets (without pain relief)
Raising of meat chickens at about 20 birds per square metre
Other Codes?
 Research
Code (Code of Practice for
the Care and Use of Animals for
Scientific Purposes) – regulatory in
all jurisdictions
 State/Territory Codes – other than
livestock (in films, shelters, pet
shops etc)
 Rodeos Guidelines (NCCAW)
 Circus Guidelines (NCCAW)
Review and updating of Codes –
very slowly…
Timetable for reviews - Lack of interest?
The very first Codes had no indication in them that they were to be reviewed
in any particular time frame:
 e.g. 1983 Pig Code states ‘The Model Code may be revised to take account
of advances in the understanding of animal physiology and behaviour,
technological changes in animal husbandry and their relationships to the
welfare of animals’.
Senate inquiry then recommended that the Codes be reviewed every five
years ‘‘to take account of technological changes, advances in understanding of
physiology and behavior of animal to reflect prevailing community
Intensive Livestock Farming SSCAW 1989.
The 1999 Land Transport of Cattle Code suggests it will be reviewed in 5
the 2001 Poultry Code says it will be reviewed in 2010,
whilst the 2nd edition of the Cattle Code (2004) suggests it too will be
reviewed in 2010.
Neither the 10 year nor the 5 year review timetable has ever worked.
Review and updating of Codes –
very slowly…
Timetable for reviews –
 few resources – AWWG (Animal Welfare Working Group) processes
 very little interest from industries
[N.B. the Neumann Report came from a consultancy
initiated by AWWG to consider these problems]
This lack of funding clearly shows a lack of genuine interest and
backing by Governments.
A willingness to accept the status quo – until there is a need to react!
Govt provides animal users with exemptions that allow acts that cause
suffering - yet Govt refuses to force them to the table to reconsider
Through non–cooperation, industry can delay indefinitely review of codes.
And - Even if there were welfare implications/improvements detailed
in codes (and there have not been) - codes are not enforceable.
NCCAW members
AWWG Member
Animal Welfare Act 1992
Environment ACT
Dept of Environment
No member
Yes (Stat)
POCTA 1979
Animal Research Act 1985
Exhibited Animals
Protection Act 1986
NSW Agriculture
NSW Agriculture
NSW Agriculture
Yes (Stat)
Animal Welfare Act 1999
Dept of Local
Government, Housing
and Sport
Dept of Primary Industry,
Fisheries and Mines
Dept of Primary Industry,
Fisheries and Mines
Yes (Stat)
Animal Care and
Protection Act 2001
Department of Primary
Industries and Fisheries
Department of Primary
Industries and Fisheries
Department of Primary
Industries and Fisheries
Yes (Stat)
POCTA 1985
Dept of Environment and
Dept of Environment and
Dept of Primary Industries
and Resources
Yes (Stat)
Animal Welfare Act 1993
Dept Primary Industries,
Water and Environment
Dept Primary Industries,
Water and Environment
Dept Primary Industries,
Water and Environment
Yes (Stat)
POCTA 1986
Dept of Primary
Dept of Primary Industries
Dept of Primary Industries
Yes (not
Animal Welfare Act 2002
Dept of Local
Government and
Regional Development
Dept of Local Government
and Regional Development
Department of Agriculture
Co-ord roles & import/
export, science funding
(NHMRC policy etc)
Dept of Agriculture
Fisheries and Forestry
Dept of Agriculture
Fisheries and Forestry
AWWG secretariat –
PISC/PIMC chairs
Yes – (not
Dept of Enviro and
Animal Health Aust., ,NFF
(x2), AWWG Chair, AA,
RSPCA Aust.,
DAFF secretariat.
AWWG - Department
reps as above.
-CSIRO member
-Animal Health Australia
rep. (representing ruraal
industry groups
Code Development
 Bureau
of Animal Health in 1980s
 Animal Welfare Working Group
(AWWG) now
 Until 2000 – community groups
(RSPCA/AA) merely consulted
 Now on ‘Writing Groups’
Code review examples..
Pig Code review ‘Writing Group’ 2004/05 – membership
Vic Dept of PI – Chair (AWWG member)
SA Dept of PI and Resources (AWWG member)
NSW Agriculture (AWWG member)
Agriculture WA (AWWG member)
Prof John Barnett – AWSC
DPI Vic Pig Specialist Vet
Manager Welfare – Australian Pork Ltd (APL)
Prime Consulting International (appointed by APL)
General Manager APL
Research Scientists from QAF – Large piggery
Quality Control Officer – Coles Myer Ltd
Animals Australia
RSPCA Australia
Code review examples..
Pig Code review
Code review examples..
Pig Code review - delayed first (from 2003) due to drought
and research underway….
That research?? By Dr John Barnett of Animal Welfare Science
Sow stall dimensions:
0.6 m wide better than 0.75 m wide stalls
based on lower total and free cortisol concentrations
reduced responsiveness to ACTH
increased immunoresponsiveness
2.2 m long stalls associated with lower stress effects
based on lower total and free cortisol concentrations
reduced responsiveness to ACTH
increased immunoresponsiveness
see full ppt re this:
Code review examples
Pig Code review (2004/5) – Writing group, Positions on sow stalls –
A] Industry proposes that they could economically afford to introduce the capital
and management changes to allow for a maximum period of confinement of 10
weeks in each gestation, within a 15 year phase in period .
B] AWWG, Research and AVA - In terms of management requirements
(pregnancy testing, mating management etc..) there should be a maximum period
of confinement of 6 weeks followed by group housing until placed in farrowing crates.
A transition period of 5-10 years was discussed to achieve this.
C] Animal welfare organisations
RSPCA recommend an immediate ban on the building of new stalls (from
introduction of the code), one year after the code is introduced a limit on use of stalls
to the first 5-6 weeks of gestation, and in 5-7 years after code introduction a ban on
the use of sow stalls.
Animals Australia. A total and immediate ban on use of dry sow stalls and current
farrowing crate on welfare grounds.
Current situation – considered by AWWG, and new draft and RIS being
drafted for public consultation – likely to reflect position B above.
Code review examples..
Poultry Code review –
 In 2000/2001 a similar Writing Group for the poultry Code.
Again industry interests – both egg industry (x2) and meat
chicken industry (x 2) held sway.
In this case they would not accept the clear science on a
number of issues – e.g.
Scientific papers say that raising hens on litter and with
perches leads to better adjusted hens for barn and free
range production (less pecking, fewer floor eggs/better
AA and RSPCA Aust. wanted this to be a recommendation of
the Code.
The industry insisted that overseas scientific research was not
relevant - and they got their way!
Code review examples..
Mulesing appendix to Sheep Code (2004/5 after announcement of
mulesing ban by 2010)
….even if there is an important agreement at the Writing Group Stage – it can
be varied at any stage in the bureaucratic process –
PIMC (Primary Industries Ministerial Council – see http://www.mincos.gov.au/ )
State Legislation/regulation
Final Writing Group (March 2005):
‘Mulesing must only be done by operators accredited under the National
Mulesing Accreditation Program from 31st December 2006’.
But the current intention after AWWG/PISC (not written publicly yet)
 All Mulesing contractors (approx 1000 – 1300) will have to be trained and
accredited by 31/12/06,
but farmers/producers (approx 11,000 -17,000) will only have to be accredited
by 31/12/08.
The full ban on mulesing is to be in place by 1/1/2010.
Current attempts to exempt further cruel
practices E.g. Emu code re de-clawing (de-toeing)– not mentioned in the existing Code
New proposed inclusion…
7.3 Declawing
7.3.1 Emus must be kept in facilities where natural aggression is effectively
managed. If emus are kept in extensive conditions it may be necessary for emus
to be declawed. If this procedure is deemed necessary to reduce aggression and
stereotype behaviors which can contribute to social stress and skin damage, it
should be carried out by a skilled operator at 3-5 days of age. Declawing must
not be carried out on chicks over 5 days old.
7.3.2 Declawing involves the removal of the distal or last phalengeal (bony part of
the toe) joint using sharp clean sheep mulesing shears, beak trimming machine or
other suitable device, angled to retain the bottom part of the last phalanx within
the foot pad. Declawing by either of these methods will minimise the risk of both
acute and chronic pain resulting from tissue and nerve damage.
RIS discussion 
Declawing emu chicks is an issue arousing some controversy. The Rural Industries Research and
Development Corporation funded a study by Flinders University and the South Australian Research
& Development Institute into the value of declawing farmed emus. The study concluded that
declawing does not harm the well-being of the emus and that behavioural data suggests that
declawing can reduce aggression. This reduction of aggression has a positive effect on social
structure and also leads to less damage of emu skin which is one of the industry’s valuable
products. Many farms already use this practice and those that don’t need to, do not use it.
Compliance with (cruel) Codes?
Examples of non-compliance
The NSW Contractors Association has apparently surveyed sheep at
saleyards and noted that between 60-80% of sheep have been
incorrectly mulesed (radical mules or crooked tails through unskilled
Tail docking of whole herds of dairy cows is still common in some areas
(usually the wetter areas) including in Victoria (Source: survey by
Barnett of Victorian Institute of Animals Science, DPI)
Farmers have commented that teeth grinding of sheep continues (e.g. to
AWAC), and some have said it is widespread
Anecdotal reports of pigs being transported for between 60-70 hours
(across the Nullabor) when 48 hours is the maximum (Source:
government officer comments at the Victorian AWAC and at NCCAW).
Recent comprehensive documentation (by Animals Angels) of sheep
transport between WA feedlots and live export ships, showing injured and
downed animals, and over loaded trucks arriving regularly at the wharf
(in contravention of the WA transport Code and the new Australian
Standards for the Export of Livestock).
Provisional results from the APL producer survey indicate that 44% of dry
sow stalls currently in use in Australia are narrower than the
recommended width and 37% are shorter than the recommended length.
Other Exemptions
Legislative Exemptions
9 Confined animals to be exercised
(1) A person in charge of an animal which is confined shall not fail to provide the
animal with adequate exercise.
(1A) Subsection (1) does not apply to a person in charge of an animal if the animal
(a) a stock animal other than a horse, or
(b) an animal of a species which is usually kept in captivity by means of a cage.
And – Sect 24 – where surgical mutilations are listed and thus exempted.
Exemptions for things done under the Catchment and Land Protection Act, Meat Industry
Act, Wildlife Act, recreational fishing done in accord with the Fisheries Act.
Defence - (a) the animal is stock of a kind that is ordinarily left to roam at large on a
pastoral property and to fend for itself;
Regulations in Tasmania to allow battery farms after a win in Tassie in 1993 by Pam
Advisory Structures
Animal Welfare Advisory Committees (AWACs)
Purpose - to advise the Minister on current issues and upgrades in regards to COPs
and legislation.
Members of AWACs
Usually 2 animal welfare representatives, companion animal person, Vet rep, 2 FF
reps, animals in research – environment department plus primary industries.
How often to they meet?…Should meet at least quarterly
How effective are they?
Totally dependent upon the Minister and political issues.
NSW AWAC recommended a ban on duckshooting and got it in 1995.
Queensland in one of its first acts (only commenced last year) recommended
duckshooting be banned and got it last month.
Victoria – the largest duckshooting State – its AWAC has recommended a ban
on duckshooting in each of 1993, 1995, 2000, and 2003 – but no
Minister has decided to ban it.
Again, the existence of AWAC’s provide the perception that the issue of animal
welfare is being addressed seriously by governments.
Advisory Structures (cont)
National Consultative Committee on
Animal Welfare – advises the federal
Minister for Agriculture, currently Minister
Examples of advice taken….
Glue traps, Australian Animal Welfare
Strategy, Animal Care Statements into
slaughterhouses, National guidelines –
circuses, rodeos, national statistics for
research harmonisation, fishing guidelines
Blocks in place once advances look
ACT battery hen legislation –
phase out and labelling, problem with Competition Principles Agreement…
Without the agreement of all States they could not proceed with the will of the people.
(background – see AA website re history:
http://www.animalsaustralia.org/default2.asp?idL1=1272&idL2=1281&idL3=1589 )
And the Productivity Commission’s report:
WTO requirements
Essential to the WTO’s interpretation of fair trade is that a country cannot effectively
refuse to import a product that was manufactured in a way that was detrimental or in
any way harmful to animals, people or the environment.
In practice, if a nation chooses not to import a product because of an unacceptable
production method, that country must either ban the import of the product entirely
or accept every import of the product, regardless of production method.
In practice, this means that an egg produced by a hen kept in a battery cage is seen
as no different from an egg produced by a hen kept in free range conditions.
local producers then tend to resist moves to improve animal welfare legislation –
concerned their increased costs will make them uncompetititive.
Government – Industry alliances
Agriculture ministers -Ministers’ conflict of interest.
Four of the 8 State and Territory Ministers are Agriculture ministers, plus the federal
Minister McGauran. In a general sense their ‘stakeholders’ or ‘clients’ are the
agricultural industries, and the promotion of their product.
Live export support – Hassall vs Heilbron economic reports
The government (and industry) continues to quote from an economic report by
Hassall Pty Ltd.. At the time the Chairman of LiveCorp Peter Frawley was on the
board of Hassall Pty Ltd. The Hassall report says 9,000 Australian jobs dependent
upon live export.
[Hassall report commissioned by Meat and Livestock Australia Ltd for Livecorp,
completed July 2000]
But – Heilbron says - if the sheep and cattle currently (1999/2000) exported live
were instead processed in Australia, a further approximately $1.5 billion would be
added to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), around $250 million more in
household income and around 10,500 full time jobs would be created.
[S G Heilbron report ‘Impact of the Live Animal Export Sector on the Australian
Meat Processing Industry’ commissioned by ‘Australian Meat Processor
Corporation Limited’ – April 2000 ]
[Both reports available from AA]
Government – Industry alliances
McGauran Quote re PETA –
The Federal Government says it will not support the agreement
between Australian Woolgrowers Association and People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), for an end to mulesing.
PETA has promised to end its call for a boycott of Australian wool
if the industry supports the agreement.
But the Federal Agriculture Minister, Peter McGauran, says the
Australian industry should stop negotiating with the group and
concentrate on reassuring its customers.
"PETA should not be elevated to this level of importance, where
they seem to have some form of veto over the marketing
legitimacy of Australian grown wool," Mr McGauran said.
"PETA is irrational, it is implacably opposed to the Australian wool
industry and consequently they can't be dealt with."
ABC news report 25/8/05
The challenge ahead
A huge barrier to change has been, and is,
the industry-Government alliance.
Exemptions and cruel practices allowed by
existence and content of codes – and
must be challenged.
The opportunity is now in all our hands to
capitalise on the surge in community
concern and interest (and consumer

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