Sow crates could soon be a thing of the past if Parliament bands together to support the Green Party's Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, Green Party animal welfare spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.
The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill was pulled from the Member's ballot this morning. This Bill ensures that practices which breach key sections of the Animal Welfare Act, but which are still permitted in a Code of Animal Welfare under the 'exceptional circumstances' exception, must be phased out.
"The present Animal Welfare Act contains a series of loopholes which allow practices that clearly breach the purposes of the Animal Welfare Act, such as sow crates, to continue to be used indefinitely," said Ms Kedgley.
"My Bill closes these loopholes and requires that any practice which breaches key provisions of the Animal Welfare Act, such as sow crates, must be phased out within five years."
The Bill also gives the Minister of Agriculture power to amend any Code of Animal Welfare to prevent the suffering of animals and widens the definition of what constitutes the physical needs of an animal to include freedom of movement.
"The Minister of Agriculture David Carter has argued that he is powerless to intervene to amend the Code of Animal Welfare for Pigs, to phase out sow crates, for example.
"Under my Bill, he will have all the power he needs to intervene to stop cruel and inhumane practices which breach the principles of the Act."
Ms Kedgley pointed out that the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) acknowledges that sow crates do not fully meet the obligations of the Act. Despite this, sow crates are allowed to be used indefinitely under an out-dated 'exceptional circumstances' provision.
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