VICTORIA’S peak farmer group has slammed aspects of the Victorian Government’s Animal Welfare Action Plan including proposed recognition of animal sentience and the formation of the new Animal Welfare Victoria.
The Victorian Farmers Federation said it recognised the need for modern laws but the introduction of sentience will cause adverse outcomes for animals as production systems are thrown into chaos.
VFF president David Jochinke it will render some farm businesses unviable, causing job losses, untold economic damage to regional communities and cripple the supply chains that rely on these businesses.
“Animal welfare law is about addressing human behaviour towards animals, not addressing animals,” he said.
“We’re sending a stern warning to government that introducing sentience is unnecessary and would cause significant implications for farm businesses.
“It will add nothing to improve standards that farmers currently meet for their animals, who will continue to make the best choices available.
“What it does is introduce language into law that can be manipulated by animal extremists for their own purposes.”
Mr Jochinke said the VFF recognise the broader community role in the development of animal welfare standards in modern society but, science based evidence that’s free of extremist influence will provide the best welfare outcomes and must be a priority.
“Legislation and industry quality assurance programs currently in place provide confidence to our domestic and international customers.’’