The election is now over, and because of your help we successfully put our animal welfare priorities on the political agenda and got pre-election commitments from the parties. Now we need to keep the momentum going and ensure the new Victorian Government acts on its pre-election commitments. We have reached out to relevant Ministers and MPs across the political spectrum and asked to meet with them in the new year to work together to improve the lives of animals in Victoria.
RSPCA Victoria was calling on political parties to include animal welfare priorities in their policy platforms ahead of the 2022 Victorian state election.
What are RSPCA Victoria’s five election priorities?
Implement mandatory video surveillance systems in abattoirs and knackeries
Why is this important?
We know transparency in livestock production is a concern of the Australian public. A 2018 Australian report, Australia’s Shifting Mindset on Farm Animal Welfare, found that 95% of surveyed Australians are concerned about the treatment of farm animals, and consider animal welfare to be an issue in Australian agriculture. The use of video surveillance systems will improve transparency in this industry and help to highlight potential risks for operators. This will result in continuous improvement of facilities and sends a strong message to those people working with animals that animal welfare is a high priority.
Develop mandatory minimum animal welfare standards for horse racing
Why is this important? We believe there are significant welfare problems within the horse racing industry. This is because there are there are no enforceable standards or regulations to ensure the welfare of racehorses. We believe developing welfare standards for racehorses will provide them with appropriate levels of vet care and improved socialisation and handling. It will result in a reduction in injuries and provide them with a better retirement plan. By introducing mandatory animal welfare standards in racing, there will be a duty of care for those in charge of racehorses to meet the welfare needs of their horses. Click here to learn more.
Reduce the shelter quarantine period to three days
Why is this important? Currently, any animal in the care of RSPCA Victoria or other Victorian animal shelters or pounds must serve an eight-day quarantine period prior to being made available for rehoming. This eight-day period is problematic because it increases the likelihood of animals contracting infectious diseases – such as cat flu and kennel cough – and increases their stress levels. It means mandatory procedures such as desexing and microchipping can’t take place until the end of the quarantine period and overall, it reduces a shelter’s capacity when animals cannot be rehomed quickly. This also increases the costs of care per animal for local councils, without any benefit to the animal, council or shelter. We believe reducing the quarantine period will have many benefits for animals and will also decrease the costs per animal for local governments. According to RSPCA Victoria data, it takes an average of 1.66 days for lost dogs and cats to be reclaimed by their owners so this change will not impact owners seeking to reclaim their pets, rather it will be beneficial for animals that will not be reclaimed, as they will be rehomed faster. However, RSPCA Victoria is not seeking an amendment to shorten the statutory period specified in the Act for stray animals to be euthanased prior to eight days.
Develop a holistic cat management plan
Why is this important? There are an estimated 3.3 million owned cats in Australia and 0.7 million unowned cats of varying sociability, but still with some dependence on humans, living on the fringes of our towns and cities. Developing a holistic cat management plan for Victoria will improve animal welfare outcomes for cats and help reduce the impacts to wildlife. Cats can start breeding at four months old and if not desexed, one female cat and her offspring can produce up to 5,000 cats in seven years. We believe a holistic, government-led plan with ongoing funding to focus on containment and desexing, will improve cat welfare and decrease the number of unwanted cats in the state.
Finalise development of contemporary animal welfare legislation
Why is this important? Animal welfare legislation in Victoria no longer meets scientific understanding of ‘good animal welfare’ or our community’s expectations. We believe animal welfare legislation needs to protect animals by achieving:
standards that reflect principles of good animal welfare, contemporary scientific knowledge and community expectations;
consistent animal welfare policies embedded across all tiers of government;
broad recognition of animal sentience (evidence that animals have feelings and can experience emotions) and awareness of appropriate duties of care to animals within the community, business, government and industry; and
a robust and proactive framework that deters cruel behaviour toward animals and encourages compliance.