The NSW Government’s Animal Welfare Reform Discussion Paper is currently open for public consultation, and it’s clear that the Government isn’t planning on going far enough to protect animals in NSW.
To ensure that we get the most thorough protections against animal cruelty, it’s crucial that members of the public take the time to make a submission to the Government on their discussion paper. The legislation being considered for overhaul is over 40 years old, so this is a rare opportunity to be heard on how important strong animal welfare laws are to you.
The Government is accepting feedback until 11:59pm Thursday 16 September 2021.
There are three ways to respond to the discussion paper, and we recommend that you use option 1 or both options 1 and 2 — but any input is better than nothing!
Option 1: a written submission of any length
The most powerful way to be heard by the Government on what you want to see in our animal welfare laws is to write a personalised submission and email it to them.
This consultation is happening because pressure on the Government from so many individuals has made it clear that our laws are out of step with the standards the community expects of our animal welfare laws. You don’t need to be a lawyer or an animal ethics expert to show the Government that they should be taking action against currently legal forms of animal cruelty, you just have to write from the heart.
I encourage you to write as much or as little as you want on a few animal welfare issues that you care strongly about. In case you need some inspiration, a small number of unaddressed animal welfare issues include (warning: your blood may start boiling):
- The legislation does not recognise or reflect animal sentience, a scientifically proven and societally accepted fact. Instead, our current laws treat animals as property, not living beings with inherent value in their own right.
- There is currently no independent oversight body for animals, despite a Parliamentary Inquiry recommending that the Government establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare.
- Sow stalls, battery cages (called ‘conventional’ cages by the caged egg industry) and cattle feedlots are used by most of the animal agriculture industry for intensive factory farming production, with minimum space requirements not allowing for any reasonable quality of life.
- Routine cruel, painful and invasive practices like mulesing, ear notching, tail docking, teeth cutting, beak trimming, dehorning and castration are legal and regularly practised by the animal agriculture industry without any requirement for pain relief.
- Puppy farms are not properly outlawed in NSW and continue to sell the dogs they have bred in horrendous conditions in pet shops and on classifieds sites.
- Council pounds are under-resourced and poorly regulated by the NSW Government, resulting in terrible conditions for many animals in pounds and high kill rates of healthy animals.
- Greyhound and horse racing continues to be legal in NSW, despite the racing industry proving time and time again that animal welfare always comes second to profit.
- Medical testing on animals is secretive and opaque, with very little information about what goes on in research facilities available to the public, and is granted outrageous exemptions from animal cruelty laws.
You can also always take a look at the NSW Greens animal welfare policy to see some of the outcomes that we are fighting for.
Submissions should be emailed to [email protected].
Option 2: responding to the Government’s survey
The survey has been compiled by the Department of Primary Industries and asks for responses to specific questions posed by the discussion paper. It allows you to respond thoroughly, but limits the scope of responses to issues the Government is already considering including in their new legislation.
If you’d like to comment on the specific questions posed by the Government’s discussion paper, this is a good option. The Animal Defenders Office has compiled a guide (here) for responding to each question which may help you in your answers.
Option 3: form submission via Animal Liberation
While a personalised submission is always better, if you don’t have the time or don’t feel equipped to write your own submission or respond to the survey, you can take two minutes to send off a pre-written submission put together by our friends at Animal Liberation. Remember, something is better than nothing!
Make sure you get your submissions in by 11:59pm on Thursday 16 September.
Rest assured that when the new legislation comes to Parliament, we will be working hard to achieve the best results possible for animals in NSW.