ANIMAL WELFARE MUST FACTOR
IN AUSTRALIA’S FARMING FUTURE
Australian farmers have a prime opportunity to take advantage of the growing demand for animal welfare friendly products and governments at all levels must help facilitate change, RSPCA Australia said today.
RSPCA Australia CEO, Heather Neil, said animal welfare must be a key consideration when delegates gather to discuss the future directions for rural industries at this weekend’s Australia 2020 Summit.
“To deny this changing consumer demand would only serve to deny farmers opportunities in the long-term,” Ms Neil said.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly intolerant of cruel and intensive farming practices such as sow stalls and battery cages, as well as the live export of animals for slaughter.
“Around 25% of eggs retailed in Australia are barn laid or free range and this is growing every year. In the UK, major retailers recognise consumer concerns and now 59% of eggs sold are free range, barn laid or organic.
“This is a world-wide trend that is only going to grow and Australian farmers should adjust their production systems to take advantage of these changes in consumer and corporate social responsibility.
“The RSPCA was pleased to see battery cages on the agenda at today’s Primary Industries Ministerial Council meeting but wants debate to turn to action and a commitment to ban battery farming all together.”
In its submissions to this weekend’s Summit, RSPCA Australia has also called for the Rudd government’s new social inclusion agenda to promote a culture of integrating rather than separating animals from daily life.
“All available evidence shows that the presence of animals in people’s lives has a positive influence on their social, emotional and physical well-being but few people are aware of the economic benefits.
“One study found that, over one year, Australian ownership of cats and dogs saved more than $2.2 billion in health expenditure. Despite this, companion animals are often excluded from so many facets of our daily lives.
“The Rudd government must work with States and Territories to invest in and facilitate initiatives to promote pet ownership and pets as therapy for the most needy and vulnerable in our society.”
For more information visit www.australia2020.gov.au