Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens Animal Welfare spokesperson
Incidents of animal cruelty and neglect continue to shock the Tasmanian community. We need strong animal welfare standards and laws in place to deal with them.
Mental suffering and distress are forms of cruelty not currently acknowledged in our animal welfare laws. This week in State Parliament, the Greens will be tabling a motion calling on Primary Industries Minister, Jeremy Rockliff, to remedy the omission and amend the Animal Welfare Act.
DPIPWE and the Animal Welfare Advisory Council recommended mental suffering and distress be included as forms of animal cruelty, as part of their review of the Animal Welfare Act in 2013. The recommendations of the review came after wide community consultation.
When Minister Rockliff tabled changes to Tasmania's animal welfare laws in late 2014, he ignored this recommendation. Mental distress is widely acknowledged as a form of animal abuse and should not be left out.
The Report handed down by the Joint Select Committee on Greyhound Racing in Tasmania last week recommended investigating the inclusion of mental suffering in the Animal Welfare Act as animal cruelty.
Mental suffering and distress are serious and all too common forms of animal cruelty. It is past time our laws reflected that.
Perpetrators of animal cruelty, including those who cause mental suffering, must be held to account. We hope Minister Rockliff and his Liberal colleagues will support our motion and amend the Animal Welfare Act.
* Draft text of Motion:
Andrea Dawkins MP, on tomorrow to move -
That this House:
1. Notes distress and mental suffering of an animal is a form of animal cruelty;
2. Acknowledges the 2013 Animal Welfare Act Review recommended amending section 8 of the Animal Welfare Act 1993 to clarify that pain and suffering includes Distress and Mental suffering;
3. Understands that the Joint Select Committee on Greyhound Racing recommended, "that the Government further investigate whether provisions regarding mental suffering should be incorporated in the Animal Welfare Act 1993."; and
4. Calls on the Minister for Primary Industries to amend the Animal Welfare Act to include distress and mental suffering under the classification of animal cruelty in this term of Parliament.