By Parker McKenzie
After polling over 3000 Victorians about the animal welfare issues which matter the most to them, the RSPCA is calling on Victorian political parties to commit to several reforms ahead of the November state election.
Two of the five points were the finalisation of a contemporary animal welfare legislation plan to replace the current Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and the introduction of CCTV into abattoirs and knackeries.
Draft legislation is currently in development and key stakeholders are currently being consulted.
A Victorian Government Spokesperson said animal welfare is a priority of the Victorian Government.
“We will deliver modern legislation to safeguard and support Victoria’s reputation for high standards in animal protection,” the spokesperson said.
“Animals play an important role in the lives of so many Victorians, and we’re consulting with community and farmers to ensure we get the reforms right.”
The most recent state budget included a total of $18.6 million for animal care and protection over the next three years, with an exposure draft of the new legislation expected to be released for public consultation.
In a statement to the Star Mail, Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said the Liberal and Nationals remain committed to implementing the highest animal welfare standards for domestic and productive animals.
“The Andrews Labor Government has failed to complete a review of the Act, so before committing to a new piece of legislation we will engage with key stakeholders and implement appropriate legislation,” he said.
“The Liberals and Nationals currently do not support the inclusion of animal sentience in the legislation. However, all animals should be treated respectfully during all phases of life.”
Mr Walsh said the Liberals and Nationals do not support the introduction of CCTV into abattoirs and knackeries beyond what is currently required in export accredited facilitates.
RSPCA has also called for the development of a holistic cat management plan and shelter quarantine periods to be reduced to three days. The organisation is calling on Victorians to visit rspcavic.org/become-an-animal-advocate and provide their name and postcode.
CEO Dr Liz Walker said every name added will help convince politicians to support the issues raised by the RSPCA.
“We want our politicians to know that two in five people indicated a political party’s commitment to a key animal welfare reform would secure their vote for that party in the 2022 Victorian state election,” she said.
“We want Victorians to know that by standing alongside the RSPCA in demanding better welfare standards, they will be helping to create real, positive change this election.”