The VFF has warned of chaos in animal production farms and crippled supply chains as a result of a new Victorian laws.
The VFF has slammed aspects of the Andrews Government’s Animal Welfare Action Plan, including proposed recognition of animal sentience and the formation of the new Animal Welfare Victoria.
‘‘We’re sending a stern warning to government that introducing sentience is unnecessary and would cause significant implications for farm businesses,’’ VFF president David Jochinke said.
He said the VFF recognised the need for modern welfare laws but the introduction of sentience would cause ‘‘adverse welfare outcomes for animals as production systems are thrown into chaos’’.
‘‘It will render some farm businesses unviable, causing job losses and untold economic damage to regional communities and cripple the supply chains that rely on these businesses.
‘‘Animal welfare law is about addressing human behaviour towards animals, not addressing animals.
‘‘It will add nothing to improve standards that farmers currently meet for their animals, who will continue to make the best choices available.
‘‘What it does do is introduce language into law that can be manipulated by animal extremists for their own purposes.
‘‘We recognise the broader community role in the development of animal welfare standards in modern society but, science-based evidence that’s free of extremist influence will provide the best welfare outcomes and must be the priority.
‘‘Legislation and industry quality assurance programs currently in place provide confidence to our domestic and international customers,’’ Mr Jochinke said.
‘‘Our world class animal welfare practices underpin the regional economies many communities rely on.’’
The VFF has also dismissed the new Animal Welfare Victoria body as just another level of bureaucracy, adding cost to food production without providing any positive welfare outcomes.
The government said Animal Welfare Victoria would bring together all aspects of domestic animal and animal welfare research, policy, education and compliance.
It will be overseen by Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford, and will see animal welfare officers continue to operate through the RSPCA, Agriculture Victoria and local government.
Animal Welfare Victoria is expected to be up and running by February.