Free range farmer representatives, the animal protection organisation Humane Society International and 40,000 consumers today joined with the Australian Greens in calling for national action on egg labelling to protect consumers and free range farmers and help drive improvements in the treatment of laying hens.
Humane Society International was at Parliament House today to present 40,000 postcards to the Prime Minister, sent by consumers demanding action on free range egg standards and labelling.
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (12:37): I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the voluntary national Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Domestic Poultry designates a maximum outdoor stocking density of 1 500 free range layer hens per hectare yet this is not enforceable and relies on self regulation,
On 15 May 2013 Labor and the Coalition voted down a motion calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to immediately report to Parliament on the progress to establish the Office of Animal Welfare and commit to legislation establishing the office before the 14 September 2013 election.
The Australian Greens have dismissed Agricultural Minister Joe Ludwig's claim that 99.9 per cent of live export animals are not maltreated as 'top spin' and urged him to focus on building Australia's meat processing industry in exporting chilled and frozen meat.
"Minister Ludwig's claims he has 'control' of the live export chain but he clearly does not and cannot, like a parent could not care or control their young child sent to the other side of the world," animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
In the lead up to ABC's 7.30 report on live export cruelty tonight, the Australian Greens have underlined the failures of the ESCAS system to reduce animal cruelty and responded to the Australian Livestock Exporters' Council's statement on the Egyptian scandal.
"The Australian Livestock Exporters' Council is clutching at straws if it hopes the failed ESCAS system will end the animal welfare abuses witnessed in Egypt," Senator Rhiannon said.
"ESCAS is a failed system as the slaughter of livestock cannot be controlled from a desk in Canberra.
Commenting on the suspension of the live export trade to Egypt after vision of the cruel treatment of Australian cattle emerged, Greens animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said the government should admit that they cannot stop cruel practices in overseas countries and give certainty to the industry by expanding the trade in processed meat from Australia.
Calls by Jock Laurie of the National Farmers Federation for tougher trespass laws for animal welfare campaigners collecting vision of animal welfare abuses, in light of revelations of cruelty at an Inghams turkey processing plant, is a desperate attempt to turn the tables on activists currently performing the proper role of government to monitor and stop animal cruelty, Senator Rhiannon said.
Animal cruelty at an Inghams turkey abattoir south west of Sydney is a stark reminder of the need for an animal welfare champion in the form of the long overdue independent federal office of Animal Welfare, says Australian Greens animal welfare spokesperson Lee Rhiannon (ABC Lateline, 20 March 2013).
"Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig has dragged the chain on establishing an independent Office of Animal Welfare, despite animal welfare groups and several Labor MPs advocating for it for over two years," Senator Rhiannon said.
Lee Rhiannon is the Australian Greens spokesperson on animal welfare, and the Greens are the only major party to have such a specific portfolio responsibility.
Before being elected to federal parliament Lee was a Greens MP in NSW Parliament for over a decade where she also held the animal welfare portfolio. Lee continues to campaign on animal welfare issues, ranging from banning live exports to protection of native species; more humane laws governing factory farming and protection of animal cruelty whistleblowers; protection of animal wellbeing in sports and entertainment; and empowering consumers to eat more ethically by ensuring proper anti-cruelty labelling. Lee is excited about the surge of interest from the community in animal welfare issues and believes that by working with the community we can help drive shifts in government policy to achieve better animal rights and welfare. She is a member of the Vegan Society NSW.
Authorised by D. Lawson, Australian Greens, Parliament House, Canberra 2600