National Leadership On Animal Welfare


Labor’s six-point plan to re-establish national leadership on animal welfare

One of the first acts of the Abbott Government on coming to office was the abolition of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy and the Animal Welfare Unit with the Department of Agriculture.

Under the Liberal Nationals Government animal welfare policy has deteriorated.


A Shorten Labor Government will:

1. Establish an independent Inspector-General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports
We will provide $1 million a year to establish the Inspector-General of Animal Welfare as an independent statutory position operating from within the Department of Agriculture. The Inspector-General will be responsible for advising on the protection of animals in all Commonwealth-regulated activities and will report directly to the Minister of the day on issues concerning live exports, animal welfare standards and guidelines. The Inspector-General will also work with the states and territories to establish an independent Office of Animal Welfare to oversee animal protection and welfare activities nationally.

2. Re-establish state and territory cooperation on animal welfare matters
Under the former Labor Government, the Commonwealth, states and territories cooperated on animal welfare and primary industry issues through a range of official forums which have since been abolished by the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government. Labor will re-establish state and territory cooperation to ensure animal welfare matters receive the consistent national approach they deserve.

3. Renew the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy
Labor will work with state and territory governments, industry and animal welfare groups to update and renew the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy for the coming decade. We will draw on the best available research and evidence to develop a strategy that confirms Australia as a leader in our region for the care and protection of animals.

4. Review the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System
The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System plays a critical role in reassuring Australian agricultural producers, their customers and the broader community that animal welfare is being protected at every stage from the farm gate to the plate. A Shorten Labor Government will conduct a top-to-bottom review of the system to ensure it is working as effectively and efficiently as possible.

5. Provide more transparency and accountability
Under Labor, the Minister for Agriculture will provide quarterly reports to the Parliament on:

• New and emerging markets.
• The number of head exported.
• Any allegations of breaches of animal welfare standards and investigations undertaken.
• Any sanctions or other action taken for breaches of Australia’s animal welfare standards.

6. Labor will immediately ban the northern summer live sheep trade and propose a plan which would phase out the live sheep trade within five years. The only way to ensure scientific animal welfare standards are met, community expectations on animal welfare are met and for certainty to be provided for our farmers is to ban the northern summer live sheep export trade and to implement an orderly phase out over a five year period.

We will pay for these commitments by making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.