RSPCA releases priorities for next Australian Government ahead of 2019 federal election

Independent national oversight of animal welfare, phasing-out live sheep exports, and shoring up the proposed ban on cosmetic testing on animals should be the priorities for the next Australian Government, according to the RSPCA.

Ahead of the 2019 federal election, Australia’s leading animal welfare organisation has today released its summary of priorities and, according to RSPCA Australia Chair Gary Humphries, is calling on the next Australian Government to take a strong leadership role on animal welfare.

“Since the last federal election, the community has made it clearer than ever before just how important animal welfare is to them,

“For example, this year alone, we’ve seen a record-breaking number of over 165,000 submissions to a public consultation on animal welfare standards; and hundreds of thousands of signatures and emails of concern over live sheep exports,” he said.

“However, despite these unprecedented levels of public interest, not enough progress has been made on the key issues we identified in 2016,

“Our priorities next year aim to progress these issues, which sadly are yet to be resolved. These issues have strong community support, and require urgent action at a federal level,” Mr Humphries said.

The three areas of action outlined by the RSPCA are:

  • Re-establishing the Australian Government’s leadership role in animal welfare
  • Growing meat exports and phasing-out the live export of sheep for slaughter
  • Ending animal testing for cosmetic purposes.

“There is no doubt that federal leadership on animal welfare is critical to ensuring that nationally, Australian standards and regulations meet the expectations of the community and protect animals from harm,” said Mr Humphries.

“In the last five years, we have seen the Government dilute the existing federal leadership on animal welfare by defunding the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy, failing to act on the appalling cruelty we’ve seen in the live animal export industry, and ignoring the 2016 Productivity Commission recommendation to establish a national independent animal welfare commission,

“This year, we’ve seen an unprecedented groundswell of awareness and support for phasing-out live sheep exports, with hundreds of thousands of Australians signing petitions and writing to their MPs.

“And yet the government has still not taken meaningful action to immediately protect animals in the live export trade, while we focus on phasing out this cruel practice altogether and expanding Australia’s export of chilled meat in its place,

“Similarly, the community has demonstrated again and again that Australians don’t want to have cosmetics tested on animals, and as a result, the current government tabled legislation intended to end cosmetic testing on animals which was a huge step in the right direction,

“Yet we’ve hit an impasse, and still lack effective legislation to prohibit the importation and sale of cosmetic products tested on animals in Australia,

“The RSPCA will be seeking meetings with election candidates and with the incoming government in 2019 to discuss these important issues for animal welfare in Australia,

“As the election campaign takes off next year, we’ll be encouraging our supporters to write to their local candidates to ask them their position on these animal welfare priorities.

“Australians care about animals, and for many people who they vote for will be strongly influenced by their candidate’s positions on these important animal welfare issues.”

The Priorities for the next Australian Government document can be viewed here.