National Livestock Standards Should Protect Animals, Not Farmers

Posted on by Ashley Fruno

SheepPETA recently submitted comments regarding the proposed Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines – which currently fall far short of offering any meaningful protections for sheep and cattle.

These standards create an excellent opportunity to offer sheep and cattle greater enforceable protections. But as we point out in our submissions, the current drafts classify only some basic minimum care requirements as legally enforceable “standards”. Many other aspects of care and treatment are listed as unenforceable “guidelines”.

Nowhere in the current proposal for sheep is there a plan to phase out “mulesing”, a cruel practice in which large chunks of skin are cut from millions of lambs’ backsides every year in a crude attempt to prevent maggot infestation. Humane options for flystrike control are already available, and they are more effective than mulesing. A recent 20-month study of merino sheep, for example, found that the lowest incidences of flystrike occurred in sheep who had not been mulesed but were simply treated with insecticides.

Cattle fare little better under the proposed standards, which would permit cruel practices such as electro-immobilisation (that is, using an electric shock to render a conscious animal immobile).

The idea of enforceable national standards for livestock is to offer more protection to animals used for their flesh and skins. Yet the current proposals send the message to farmers that they can get away with making only the most minimal effort to care for sheep and cattle.

Fortunately, we can make a difference for these animals, even if farmers won’t. Go vegan today, and you’ll save many animals from unnecessary pain and suffering every year.

Posted by Claire Fryer