5 January 2018

Farmers condemn unnecessary animal welfare regulation

VICTORIA’s peak farmer group has slammed aspects of the Andrews Labor Government’s Animal Welfare Action Plan including proposed recognition of animal sentience and the formation of the new Animal Welfare Victoria.

“We’re sending a stern warning to government that introducing sentience is unnecessary and would cause significant implications for farm businesses”, said David Jochinke VFF President.

The Victorian Farmers Federation recognise the need for modern welfare laws but the introduction of sentience will cause adverse welfare outcomes for animals as production systems are thrown into chaos. It will render some farm businesses unviable, causing job losses and untold economic damage to regional communities and cripple the supply chains that rely on these businesses. Animal welfare law is about addressing human behaviour towards animals, not addressing animals.

“It will add nothing to improve standards that farmers currently meet for their animals, who will continue to make the best choices available. What it does do is introduce language into law that can be manipulated by animal extremists for their own purposes”, Mr Jochinke said.

“We recognise the broader community role in the development of animal welfare standards in modern society but, science based evidence that’s free of extremist influence will provide the best welfare outcomes and must be the priority”.

“Legislation and industry quality assurance programs currently in place provide confidence to our domestic and international customers. Our world class animal welfare practices underpin the regional economies many communities rely on”.

On top of the inclusion of concerning language in the new plan, VFF has dismissed the new Animal Welfare Victoria body as just another level of bureaucracy, adding cost to food production without providing any positive welfare outcomes.

“What is important is ensuring farmers have the resources they need to do what’s best for their animals, not the creation of more red tape”.

The Andrews Government needs to ensure in this election year, their priorities are aligned to supporting the very people that provide food for the tables of Victoria. Some farmers are dealing with low commodity prices, trade access issues, high energy prices and council rates, labour hire concern and issues with essential infrastructure such as telecommunications, roads and rail networks.


Media Contacts:

David Jochinke, VFF President, 0427 834 524

Sarah Martin, VFF Media Community Officer, 0409 739 12