Seminar: Designing balanced and effective farm-animal welfare policies

Farm-animal welfare practices and policies in Australia have been under increasing scrutiny over recent years, and are currently the subject of considerable community and political debate. Australia has very high animal welfare standards, as well as internationally acknowledged scientists, and innovative and proactive industry leaders.

However, a section of the Australian population has developed a very high degree of sensitivity to animal welfare issues, to the extent that it could be argued that more and more animal welfare decisions are being hastily made, with these decisions having little real impact on farm-animal welfare, and bearing little relationship to the scientific view of what constitutes animal welfare. This seminar presented the results and recommendations of research recently undertaken by the Australian Farm Institute.

This included a review of national and international animal welfare science and policies. It also covered the current farm-animal welfare policy systems in Australia, including the main stakeholders and the principles which underpin this policy. 

Three case studies were discussed which expose the confusion and risks inherent in existing farm-animal welfare programs: live cattle exports; supermarket programs; and the role of the competition authority in defining farm-animal welfare in the egg industry. 

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion and a Q&A session.

Panel members included:

  • Alison Penfold, CEO, Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council
  • Andrew Fisher, Animal Welfare Science Centre, The University of Melbourne
  • Andrew Spencer, CEO of Australian Pork Limited