RSPCA Australia has welcomed the appointment of Senator Bridget McKenzie as Agriculture Minister in the new Morrison Government.
In taking on the Agriculture portfolio, Senator McKenzie assumes responsibility for the Government’s animal welfare agenda – a critically important issue to a growing number of Australians.
RSPCA Australia Acting CEO Dr Bidda Jones said good animal welfare is inextricably linked to community trust and support for animal agriculture.
“Poor animal welfare in one sector impacts the reputation of Australian agriculture as a whole – we are sure Senator McKenzie understands this connection” said Dr Jones.
Earlier this year, Senator McKenzie successfully navigated the passage of the Government’s Industrial Chemicals Bill through the Senate and committed to ending the testing of cosmetics on animals and facilitating the uptake of new non-animal testing approaches.
“This was a very positive reform for animals, strongly supported by the Australian community,” said Dr Jones.
“The Agriculture portfolio presents many opportunities for similar progress and we look forward to working closely with Senator McKenzie and her team to achieve positive outcomes for animals.”
RSPCA Australia would also like to acknowledge the work of outgoing Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.
“Minister Littleproud achieved a tremendous amount in his 18 months in the office,” said Dr Jones.
“He set in train a range of reviews in the live export trade, which saw the implementation of significant changes to the way the trade is conducted and regulated.”
Many of these reforms are ongoing, including the reviews of the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock and the Heat Stress Risk Assessment model, as well as the implementation of the 31 recommendations from the Moss Review into the Department of Agriculture’s culture and capability in regulating the trade.
“We trust that the momentum generated by Minister Littleproud, and the commitment to acting on the scientific evidence in seeing these reforms through will continue under Senator McKenzie’s leadership,” said Dr Jones.
“While the RSPCA may have differing policies to the Government on the live export trade, we will always work constructively with the Government of the day toward our common goal of improving animal welfare.
“We have all seen what happens when animal welfare is neglected. This is in nobody’s interest, least of all, business, industry, or the producers who make their living from farming animals.
“More than ever, Australia needs national leadership on animal welfare – a strategy that will chart a united course forward for business, industry, and the community, to ensure our standards of animal welfare are truly world-leading,” said Dr Jones.