RSPCA urges Agriculture Ministers to put animal welfare top of the agenda

Ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of State, Territory and Federal Agriculture Ministers, the RSPCA is urging Ministers to prioritise major animal welfare concerns, including the plight of over 10 million layer hens still confined to battery cages, and the recent revelations into ex-racehorses suffering in slaughterhouses. 

The meeting of Agriculture Ministers is a key opportunity for national collaboration on matters of urgency, and these two issues are especially critical for the welfare of Australian animals and for the many thousands of Australians who have expressed their concerns about both issues. 

This year marks an important opportunity for layer hen welfare, with the national Standards and Guidelines for Poultry reaching finalisation. Right now in Australia, over 10 million layer hens are suffering in barren battery cages. Over 167,000 Australians made submissions to the review in February 2018 calling for an end to the battery cage.

Australia continues to lag behind internationally when it comes to transitioning from this archaic production system, with countries including New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the entire European Union moving to more humane and sustainable forms of egg production. 

The RSPCA is calling for Agriculture Ministers to progress this issue to improve hen welfare, to respond to overwhelming community concern, and to support the egg industry in transitioning to a more sustainable future. 

With the splotlight on the racing industry, following last week’s explosive investigation from public community concern and take decisive action to safeguard racehorse welfare. 

Over 10,000 Australians have contacted racing peak bodies through the RSPCA alone, calling for action including the development of a National Horse Register to allow traceability and transparency in outcomes for horses after their racing careers. 

The RSPCA is calling for a national coordinated approach to ensure that horse welfare is protected across state borders, and is tracked from birth to death.