There’s Nothing Humane About Australia’s Crocodile Welfare Standards

Posted on by Dan H

What crocodiles endure on farms, including in Australia, is hideously cruel. These native animals, who have formed a crucial part of the environment for over 240 million years, have been reduced to commodities – they are abducted from their natural homes or bred in captivity and forced to live in filthy, cramped pits or dank, urine- and faeces-polluted water in dark sheds on factory farms before workers shoot them in the head or stab them in the neck for frivolous fashion accessories or “exotic” burgers that no one needs.

The Australian government is currently reviewing the Code of Practice on the Humane Treatment of Wild and Farmed Australian Crocodiles, which is long overdue an overhaul, as it neither keeps pace with research into crocodilian behaviour nor reflects current public sentiment regarding animal exploitation. Farm Transparency Project’s 2021 investigation provided a rare insight into the operation of Australian crocodile farms and revealed the failure of the code of practice to provide humane conditions. It does not even require that enclosures be more than half as long as the animals themselves, so even when conditions exceed the requirements of the code, they are still horrifically cruel.

Comments on the code can be submitted for consideration in the review here. In our submission, we criticise the sanctioned harvesting of eggs from the wild, noting that mother crocodiles are maternal and caring. We point out that on farms, crocodiles are deprived of enrichment or anything close to enough living space and that they are violently slaughtered for the sake of frivolous fashion accessories. We asked the government to require that 24-hour CCTV be installed in all Australia’s crocodile operations to ensure compliance with new guidelines and monitor the treatment of animals at the time of restraint and slaughter.

Furthermore, we’re calling for the word “humane” to be removed from the title of any future code of practice to reflect that the crocodile farming business is not – and never can be – humane, even with the major improvements we feel compelled to suggest. The entire enterprise is inherently inhumane and titling any welfare guidelines in a way to suggest otherwise is disingenuous.

A crocodile in bloody water on a crocodile farm.

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Farm Transparency Project

Australia must stop living in the ignorance of the past and immediately review the science of crocodile behaviour – including their fondness for play, parenting, and roaming territories and their need for space and socialisation – and mandate new guidelines that would afford crocodiles, at the very least, more space and enrichment to partially mimic their natural habitats.

Please don’t support this suffering. Never buy anything made from the skin of living, feeling beings. With so many animal- and eco-friendly vegan materials available today, there’s no excuse for continuing to wear or sell exotic skins.

The abuse seen in Farm Transparency Project’s investigation and PETA Asia’s heartbreaking footage show that such cruelty is standard practice in the exotic-skins industry, regardless of locale. Please urge Hermès, which owns crocodile farms in Australia, to stop selling exotic skins now: