Government inquiry acknowledges vegan viewpoint

A report recently released by a government inquiry into agriculture acknowledges that "there are some Australians who do not consider it appropriate to use animals for commercial purposes."

The submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry by Vegan Australia called for the complete phase out of animal agriculture.

The inclusion of this view in a government report is a small but significant step forward in moving to a vegan Australia. The possibility of the abolition of the use of animals in Australia has at least been accepted as supported by some Australians.

The report contains a number of references to the submission made by Vegan Australia in February. Below are some excerpts from the report which mention the Vegan Australia submission:

  • "Vegan Australia took a different approach to conservation issues, and suggested that phasing out animal agriculture would promote revegetation and contribute to 'restoring habitat, increasing biodiversity and reducing species extinctions'."
  • "Australians generally accept that it is appropriate to rear animals for commercial purposes (as revealed by their consumption of animals as food or in other products). They also place a value on the welfare of farm animals and expect, and benefit from knowing, that farm animals are being treated humanely (both from an animal wellbeing and animal health perspective). That said, there are some Australians who do not consider it appropriate to use animals for commercial purposes. For example, Vegan Australia advocates for animals to be able to live free from human use."
  • "And Vegan Australia suggested that if community expectations were met, many existing practices (such as procedures without anaesthetic) would not occur."
  • "Concerns were raised about the level of monitoring and enforcement of farm animal welfare standards. Vegan Australia said that state and territory enforcement agencies fail to enforce animal welfare regulations and even where regulation is enforced, it is very rare for a perpetrator to be punished appropriately."
  • "A return to the system prior to the introduction of the ESCAS in 2011 was not advocated by participants, although some proposed that live exports be banned (Animals Australia, Vegan Australia). And there have been renewed calls for a ban on live exports following reports of inappropriate handling and slaughter of cattle at ESCAS facilities in Vietnam in June 2016."
  • "Vegan Australia submitted that animal welfare regulations are in place to ensure that community expectations for the humane treatment of animals are met."

There were 92 submissions made responding to the initial issues paper in February:

  • Agriculture industry bodies made up over 80% of the submissions, with no real animal welfare improvements suggested.
  • The environment (including wildlife, GMOs) was the main concern of about 6% of the submissions, but climate change was not a major issue for most of them. The significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from farmed animals was not mentioned in any of these submissions. The submission from the Australian Department of the Environment did not mention global warming at all and contained very little about land clearing being mainly caused by animal agriculture.
  • Animal welfare was the main concern of about 5% of the submissions, with all of them advocating improvements to how farmed animals were treated.
  • The submission by Vegan Australia was the only submission which called for the phase out of animal agriculture, on the grounds of animal welfare, the environment and health.

Vegan Australia is pleased that the full draft report released in July took seriously the main points of our submission. Submissions on the draft report are now being accepted and Vegan Australia hopes that more organisations and individuals will take the ethical position of opposing all use of animals in agriculture. Submissions are due by 18 August 2016 and can be made here.

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