Animal Welfare Still Not a Priority

Australia continues to allow archaic and cruel animal treatment.

Rodeos subject animals to pain, fear, severe injuries and sometimes death. Reports of brutality and torment at recent NSW rodeos, including dragging calves from their legs and roping them, led the Primary Industries Minister to declare that rodeos "are here to stay".

The Government's review of the existing Rodeo Code excludes consultation with groups concerned about rodeos like Animals Australia, Animal Liberation, No Rodeo, PALS@PILCH and the Law Society of NSW Animal Law Committee. In response to my questions in Parliament the Minister said there will be consultation with what he refers to as "key stakeholders".

The existing Rodeo Code was approved over 20 years ago despite requirements for a review every two years. The ACT has banned rodeos, and Victoria and South Australia have banned calf roping.

Circuses deny exotic animals their basic instinctual needs and they suffer psychologically and physically from confinement, lack of natural socialisation, frequent travelling and coercion into performing unnatural and sometimes dangerous tricks. Circus life leads to abnormal behaviours like pacing and swaying in animals like elephants, lions, tigers and monkeys.

In the Legislative Assembly, I am sponsoring a petition by Animals Asia, the RSPCA and Animals Australia calling on the NSW Government to follow the lead of the ACT and ban exotic animals performing in circuses.

Last week Animals Australia exposed a proposal to deny dairy calves food within the last 30 hours of their life. Calves normally suckle five times a day and are currently not allowed to be left without food for more than 10 hours.

Calves feel pain, fear, distress and hunger and I have asked the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to ensure that dairy calves are treated humanely.

As a just and civilised society, we should work to reduce animals' pain and suffering. Australia should follow world best practice, and play a leadership role to improve animal welfare.

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Related information: | Animal Welfare | Informing and Involving | eNews |

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