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issues of animal welfare and transparency.
cluded that “there is a sig- nificant role for the federal government to play in co- ordinating and leading the development of national standards in conjunction with the states and terri- tories.”
biosecurity and trace- ability.”
tion legislation “enacted in isolation” from improve- ments in animal welfare standards, monitoring and compliance.
raised by ARTK and others in relation to poten- tial impacts of the bill on journalism.
Acting chief executive officer Dr Bidda Jones proposed that “community attitudes towards animal welfare in farming are changing, and so too are expectations about what is appropriate and what is not.”
Under this program, farms are audited once a year by independent auditors.
The committee is confi- dent that the two offences outlined in the bill will be relied upon only in cases where there is an intention to incite trespass.
3.65 Dr Jones referred to a recent national study on attitudes to animal wel- fare – the Futureeye study – which found 91 percent of Australians would like to see welfare reforms to farming practices.
3.68 Farming groups told the committee that they want to be transparent, but this must be on reasonable terms.
An absence of accurate information from industry, the RSPCA said, leads the public to “start listening to what activists are telling them.”
In this context, Dr Jones suggested it was not sur- prising to see a rise in activist activity around animal welfare.
3.69 Australian Dairy argued that its members adhere to standards above those required by state laws, and have lobbied for states to legislate for higher standards, such as the Aus- tralian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle – which have only been legislated in NSW and South Australia.
3.72 The RSPCA recom- mended Australia priori- tise developing a “national animal welfare advisory committee or national an- imal welfare strategy.”
3.75 There is little doubt that activists who trespass to collect footage or re- lease farm animals do so because they are motivated by a genuine personal com- mitment to animal welfare.
3.66 The RSPCA held that Australia’s standards for livestock welfare “are lagging behind much of the developed world.”
Similarly, the Animal Protectors Alliance pro- posed that Australia should create an “independent commissionofanimalpro- tection”, and the AVA pro- posed a “national animal welfare framework”, which could help rebuild trust and “drive improvements in animal welfare.”
However, this does not negate the harms their ac- tions can cause to farmers, their property, and their livestock, nor the fact that trespassing onto private property is illegal.
The committee supports industry initiatives that provide this transparency and encourages industries to further their efforts in thisarea.
Dr Jones pointed to low levels of transparency in compliance monitoring by state and territory gov- ernments, lack of a ‘na- tional strategy towards continuous improvement’, absence of animal welfare standards in domestic ab- attoirs, and the continued use of battery cages for hens.
3.70 Australian Pork re- ferred the committee to its Industry Quality As- surance Program, which “covers about 90 percent of production” and is in- tended to enable “pro- ducers to demonstrate that their on-farm practices reflect good farming prac- tice for management, an- imal welfare, food safety,
BoththeRSPCAandthe AVA reflected on the now defunct Australian Animal Welfare Strategy.
3.76 The committee un- derstands that evidence is limited in relation to actual instances of disease or con- tamination arising from specific incidents of ac- tivist trespass in Australia.
3.80 The committee also acknowledges the calls from the AVA, RSPCA and others for a national welfare strategy and/or national welfare advisory committee in Australia, particularly since the ex- piration of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy.
3.67 The RSPCA con-
The AVA remarked, “At the moment, we feel that, with the Australian An- imal Welfare Strategy and a lack of the sort of cohe- sive, inclusive framework that brought representa- tives from all sections of society together to address these issues, there is a void there.”
However, the risks as- sociated with biosecurity breaches are sufficiently serious as to warrant strong preventative action.
While not directly rel- evant to the bill, the com- mittee encourages the Fed- eral Government to give these suggestions further consideration.
This view was shared by the AVA.
3.71 The RSPCA ac- knowledged that many farmers “want to be trans- parent” and “tell the story” of Australian agriculture, but argued “it is vital that that story is told in an ac- curate way.”
3.74 The Department of Agriculture reported that states and territories have a responsibility for enforce- ment of animal cruelty and animal welfare standards, and that it works through the Agriculture Ministers’ Forum to coordinate action on animal welfare stand- ards.
Journalists (however de- fined) could not be pros- ecuted for creating or dis- tributing material which inadvertently incites others to trespass.
The VFF said: “We are open to dialogue on common ground – not in private, uninvited.”
Committee view
3.79 The committee rec- ognises the legitimate de- sire among members of the community to understand more about the treatment of farm animals, and the role that greater transpar- ency plays in this regard.
 “We feel that that’s fos- tering a lack of confidence, because there is a lack of information.
3.77 Whatever their in- tentions, activists are not biosecurity experts and their efforts to avoid ex- posing animals to contam- ination or disease are not likely to be sufficient.
“One of the reasons that we’ve talked in our sub- mission about industry programs is that we feel that they are a really good way for the people who are striving for very high standards of welfare to demonstrate and brand their product, and to dif- ferentiate their product and reassure the public.”
They similarly risk ex- posing themselves to zo- onoses.
3.82 The committee rec- ommends that the Senate pass the bill.
3.73 The AVA said that it would not like to see the agricultural protec-
The committee believes the bill can play an impor- tant role in reducing the risk of damaging biosecu- rity incidents by discour- aging individuals from using a carriage service to incite others to trespass on agricultural land.
Visit mentary_Business/Com mittees/Senate/Legal_ and_Constitutional_Af fairs/Agriculturalprotec tion/Report/section?id=co mmittees%2Freportsen%2 F024301%2F27774 for the fullchapter.
An outbreak of a disease such as avian influenza or African swine fever would be devastating for the industry and must be avoided.
3.81 The Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural P rotection) Bill 2019 is a measured and propor- tionate response to the threats and harms caused by incitement of activist trespass on agricultural land – on that basis, the committee recommends that the bill be passed. Recommendation 1
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3.78 The committee ac- knowledges the concerns
 All producers are encouraged
to send in letters to be published in APN, outlining any concerns
or issues they may have with the industry.
This is an open forum where you can cover any topic, whether for or against an issue.
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                            Page 16 – Australian Pork Newspaper, November 2022

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