From the Experts

Government bows to activist agenda

By David Jochinke

The Victorian Farmers Federation is the key stakeholder representing agricultural animal industries and is disappointed with the lack of consultation on the establishment of Animal Welfare Victoria.

The VFF supports a farming community that upholds the highest level of animal welfare and continues to advocate for good animal health and welfare outcomes.

Farm animal industries already adhere to QA programs. These programs involve extension, education and include monitoring and enforcement through commercial incentives and supplier obligations.

These industry activities are complementary to the regulatory controls and meet community and international expectations.

We reflect Australia’s position as a leader in modern, sustainable and scientifically based welfare practices.

The Victorian Government’s announcement last month to establish Animal Welfare Victoria will simply add more cost and more bureaucracy to a system that is already working.

Agricultural animal industries are already engaged with Agriculture Victoria and the State Government on animal welfare through the Livestock Industry Consultative Committee (LICC).

The LICC consists of representatives from all farm animal industries, processors, transporters, saleyards, agents and regulators including Agriculture Victoria, PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safe Victoria and is chaired by the Chief Veterinarian Officer of Victoria.

Unfortunately the RSPCA walked away from this committee some time ago.

And now it appears the State Government is bowing to an activist agenda by establishing an entity that places all animals under the one umbrella.

Animal industries need to remain separated in order to achieve the best welfare outcomes.

The VFF is calling for further investment into LICC to generate scientific research that underpins legislation and protects access to overseas markets and reinforces Australia’s international leadership in farm animal welfare.

David Jochinke is President of the Victorian Farmers Federation.