Labor Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon, spoke about the matter in Parliament on October 18.
Mr Fitzgibbon told the House:-
“Today we have new reports of animal cruelty both inside and outside supply chains, and as usual the Deputy. Prime Minister has responded through a spokesperson. The sector needs more than a minister who runs to the cameras when there is good news but hides when there is bad news. A robust response is needed”
In government, Labor implemented the Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) – a regulatory regime that forces exporters to show they have a plan to treat animals humanely and provides monitoring and auditing all the way from port to abattoir. The industry has trained over 7,500 people in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe in approved animal welfare practices.
Protecting animal welfare and boosting agricultural profitability aren’t competing aims – they support one another. The growing demand for high quality food produced in an ethical way means Australia’s agricultural producers must embrace the highest animal welfare standards to stay internationally competitive.
When last in government, Labor put in place a comprehensive animal welfare strategy and took a lead role in coordinating this through the Australian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and the Standing Council on Primary Industries (SCoPI). Since coming to office, the Abbott-Turnbull Government has abolished both the advisory committee and the SCoPI. Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce has also washed his hands of delivering the animal welfare strategy, instead shifting responsibility for this to an external industry body. This has left a vacuum of leadership and direction when it comes to protecting and improving animal welfare in this country.
Ahead of the 2016 Federal Election, Labor released a six point strategy:
Labor will continue to argue the case for their adoption of our policies.