NSW Farmers is encouraging farmers to add their voice to proposed reforms to animal welfare legislation.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries has released the NSW Animal Welfare Reform – Discussion Paper, which includes 20 proposals aimed at “modernising the policy and legislative framework for animal welfare in NSW.”
The paper has been based over 1,100 submissions and survey responses during the consultation period for the government’s NSW Animal Welfare Reform – Issues Paper released in February 2020.
It provides an outline of proposed changes to the laws, explains their intended effect, seeks feedback on these proposed changes, and provides the opportunity for the community to have their say on the shape of new laws.
These proposals have been developed to be consistent with the “Five Freedoms and Five Domains models” of animal welfare, and to reflect best practice in constructing modern legislation.
They include replacing the existing laws with a single, updating the definition of animal, introducing a minimum care requirement and updating the definition of cruelty.
The NSW Government has worked with a selection of key stakeholders to test the proposals, including NSW Farmers, DogsNSW, Australian Veterinary Association, Animal Care Australia, RSPCA NSW and the NSW Police Force.
NSW Farmers has a number of concerns with some of the proposals and is addressing them through a submission based on feedback from Members and the NSW Farmers Animal Welfare committee.
Committee chair Rob McIntosh said animal welfare is a fundamental part of agriculture and it is of the highest priority for farmers.
“Farmers understand the responsibility they have for the animals within their care and they are dedicated to ensuring the best outcomes for the welfare of farm animals,” Mr McIntosh said.
“Farmers are dedicated to caring for their animals and achieving high welfare standards. However certain situations such as drought, natural disasters, can have unintended detrimental impacts on the welfare. The legislation must acknowledge the complicating factors that exist within these situations. We support a science based approach to animal welfare.”NSW Farmers Animal Welfare Committee Chair Rob McIntosh
The submission date for public consultation on the NSW Government’s Discussion Paper has been extended until Friday, 17 September.
There will be further rounds of consultation as the reforms including an Exposure Draft Bill, and also the regulations and standards to support the implementation of the new Act. You can complete a NSW DPI online survey or email your submission here. NSW Farmers are formulating a submission and if you have any questions or would like your voice heard please contact Jesse Doolan, Policy Advisor here.
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