In the wake of the mass deaths of live export sheep the Greens are stepping up their call for the federal government to establish an Office of Animal Welfare independent from the Department of Agriculture.
“We must ensure animal abuse, similar to what has been exposed on the Awassi Express live export ship, never happens again. An Independent Office of Animal Welfare is needed as it could play a key role in ending the cruelty inherent in the live export trade,” Greens animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
The Greens Voice for Animals (Independent Office of Animal Welfare) Bill is currently before the Senate. It was first introduced in 2015.
“The Greens overall objective is to end the live export trade. However, while the trade exists we will advocate for measures to end the cruel treatment of exported animals.
“The removal of federal animal welfare bodies in 2013 under the Abbott government removed the means for stakeholders to take up issues of abuse at the federal level.
“An Independent Office of Animal Welfare would help lift standards and provide a process to address systemic cruelty. It would provide ways for stakeholders to engage with industry.
“Part of the duties of the Office would include reviewing and monitoring live export standards and the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System, known as ESCAS, and supporting a transition away from live exports into 100% boxed meat trade.
“The Office would be set up as a Commonwealth statutory authority.
“I welcome Labor’s support for an Office of Animal Welfare but they need to commit to such an office being fully independent.
“Their current plan to place the Office in the Department of Agriculture would minimise the benefit of such a body and its ability to stop the animal cruelty crimes exposed on the Awassi Express,” Senator Rhiannon said.