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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, will today introduce a bill to establish an independent body to oversee animal welfare at the Commonwealth level.

The Independent Office of Animal Welfare would provide national leadership on animal welfare matters, be responsible for the development of animal welfare policy in Australia, and independently hold the Government and industry stakeholders to account for the treatment of animals in Commonwealth-regulated activities.

“The community expects the Federal Government to take the lead on animal welfare, as for too long Australians have been shocked by the lack of transparency in the regulation and treatment of our animals, from live export to commercial agriculture,” Mr Wilkie said. “We don’t want another Al Kuwait animal welfare disaster.

“The proposed Office of Animal Welfare will review Government policy and collaborate with stakeholders, address conflicts of interest in the Government and the Department of Agriculture, and lead the development of the Australian Welfare Standards and Guidelines.

“Advised by animal welfare experts independent of industry, the Office of Animal Welfare can be frank and fearless in its inquiries and recommendations. Industries can’t continue to be allowed to write their own animal welfare standards. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse.”