Australian Animal Welfare Strategy

The Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) is an agreed blueprint for the future of animal welfare in Australia.

The strategy is for the entire Australian community including, animal owners, livestock producers, processors and transporters, pet owners, veterinary professionals, animal welfare bodies, researchers, consumers and government.

The strategy covers all animals in Australia and reflects the views of people from all walks of life – people who share a common goal of protecting and promoting the welfare of animals.

It establishes a framework for sustainable animal welfare outcomes based on scientific evidence, in order to meet the expectations of the Australian community.

While the success of the strategy is a shared responsibility, the Australian Government has set aside $6 million to help its implementation and raise awareness and understanding of the importance of animal welfare.

Six working groups have been established to represent the six animal use sectors:

WPA is a member of the of the Livestock Production Animal working group.

Sheep Welfare Code review

For the past 20 years, the welfare of livestock in Australia has been supported by a series of Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals. As community values and expectations have changed, and our international trading partners have placed greater emphasis on livestock welfare, the relevance of these Codes has been questioned.

The livestock industries and government agreed to rewrite the existing 22 Model Codes of Practice in a new format to include standards and guidelines with, the sheep code being one of the first to be reviewed. The intention is that new standards will be implemented into state and territory legislation and the guidelines, will complement the standards and represent good industry practice.

The first codes reviewed were the Model Codes of Practice as they relate to the land transport of livestock. WPA was closely involved in the process to develop the Australian Standards and Guidelines for the Welfare of Animals – Land Transport of Livestock on behalf of the wool industry

The Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals - the Sheep is now being reviewed. The new Australian Standards and Guidelines for the Welfare of Sheep is being drafted by a small group called the Standards Writing Group (SWG). The SWG is made up of representatives from WoolProducers Australia (WPA), Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA), the Commonwealth government, the state and territory governments as well as an animal welfare scientist.

The Standards Reference Group (SRG) is the next level of onsultation after the SWG and their role is to review the draft and provide final endorsement of the standards and guidelines. Membership of the SRG is broader than the SWG and it is made up of:

- WPA 
- Livestock Contractors Association
- Australian Livestock and Property Agents
- MLA and AWI
- Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries
- State and territory governments
- RSPCA Australia
- Animals Australia
- Australian Veterinary Association

The next level of consultation is a 90 day public consultation period where anyone can make a submission on the proposed standards and guidelines. It is likely that public consultation will be held in late 2010.

Further information:
Australian Standards and Guidelines for the Welfare of Sheep
Australian Animal Welfare Strategy
Land Transport of Livestock