Animal welfare is important to the community and it is important to farmers. Farmers value the trust of consumers and are committed to continuously improving the welfare of our animals. The NFF will proactively implement welfare benchmarking across industry to drive excellence in animal husbandry and production practices.
Animals play an important role in many aspects of Australian life and the Australian community has high expectations of our animal welfare system. Farmers care for their animals and are themselves strong advocates of good animal health and welfare outcomes. Healthy animals and excellence in animal care are also consistent with good farming, underpinning the production of high quality agricultural products. Such best practice farming is vital to the livelihood of Australian farmers.
Not complying with animal welfare requirements is unacceptable. To ensure that animals in the care of farmers can expect a life that is free of unnecessary pain and distress, we are committed to benchmarking animal welfare outcomes and to continuously improving animal welfare against those benchmarks.
As proactive measures to achieve improved outcomes the NFF has already committed to:
- Lead a working group to develop industry-wide benchmarks for animal welfare by December 2017.
- Coordinating industry-wide reporting against these benchmarks on a periodic basis to drive continuous improvement in animal welfare.
- Periodic review of consumer research to ensure that industry is responding to key changes in community concerns regarding animal welfare.
- Encouraging continued investment in R & D on priority animal health and welfare issues through relevant livestock and production animal RDCs.
- As part of an engagement process, convene an annual livestock and production animal sectors consultative forum.
However, while industry must take a leadership role, Government also plays an important part in working with the farm sector to ensure ongoing improvement in animal welfare outcomes.
What the industry needs
- Ensure any animal welfare standards or legislation are driven by solid and credible evidence based science.
- A coherent industry wide framework and strategy for production animal welfare issues, to be developed in consultation with industry and underpinned by jurisdictionally harmonised animal welfare legislation.
- Government to encourage collaboration amongst Rural Research & Development Corporations (RDC) to facilitate periodic reporting of credible animal welfare outcomes across industry.
- Government to match industry funding for extension and adoption of R&D in animal welfare.