April 4, 2013
The Victorian Farmer’s Federation is calling on sheep and cattle producers to have their say on animal welfare standards and guidelines. “The welfare standards and guidelines provide an important opportunity for the industry to be heard,” VFF Livestock President Ian Feldtmann said. “While the VFF supports the draft guidelines, we have concerns animal rights groups will attempt to impose harsher restrictions on sheep and cattle producers. “Now, more than ever, we need our Victorian sheep and cattle producers to stand up and defend their industry,” Mr Feldtmann said. “With animal activist groups such as Animal Liberations Australia and RSPCA demanding that further restrictions be placed on farmers. RSCPA CEO, Heath Neil has attacked the draft standards and guidelines on the organisation’s website and is rallying her members to demand harsher sheep and cattle standards and guidelines. Mr Feldtmann said it was crucial that Victorian producers told their side of the story, given they were world leaders in animal welfare standards. “Victorian and Australian cattle producers have nothing to hide. They lead the way in animal welfare and take the upmost care in rearing their animals,” he said. “It is insulting to hear that animal rights groups think that we farmers would deny animals’ basic needs, such as access to clean water and food.” Mr Feldtmann said that animal rights groups do have an important role to play, but must ensure their demands are achievable and fair. The proposed standards include regulations on practices such as castration, tail docking and mulesing. “If the activists have their way; current farming practices for sheep and cattle producers will be limited, making rearing these animals less and less sustainable. “We need to ensure farmers’ voices are heard, and not outweighed by those activists,” Mr Feldtmann said. The draft Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines have been developed in consultation with industry, and have been open for public comment for a month.