Update on proposal for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare

Following my questions asking for a progress update:

From office of Kelvin Thomas:

“Thanks for your email seeking an update on the proposed Independent Office of Animal Welfare.

The Live Animal Export Working Group has developed a model for the establishment of such an office, and has presented it to the Government and the Parliamentary Labor Party for consideration. That consideration is now happening.”

From Melissa Parke:

“Thanks very much for your email – and I really appreciate your expression of support.

 The framework for the establishment of the Independent Office of Animal Welfare has been forwarded by the Caucus for consideration by the Minister’s office, and I hope will soon result in the legislation required to put the IOAW in place.  I am sure you appreciate that it is a necessary reform, and one that is not before its time. READ MORE HERE

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News from the US – No Kill Conference Washington 2010

No Kill Conference 2010 brought hundreds of animal lovers from 39 states and four countries to the George Washington School of Law in Washington D.C. where the most successful shelter directors, animal lawyers, and shelter reformers nationwide shared insights and strategies to end the systematic killing of animals in our nations pounds and shelters. The attendees heard from directors of open admission shelters with save rates between 92% and 96%. They heard from lawyers who have passed laws making it illegal for shelters to kill animals in a wide variety of contexts and who have successfully saved the lives of animals who shelters were determined to kill. And they heard from reformers who have succeeded in passing laws to end the needless killing of animals in their community. Nathan J. Winograd, No Kill Advocacy Center director, delivered the keynote:

 “This conference is about the future. READ MORE HERE…

No Kill News – can we do this here? The proposed Companion Animal Protection Act

When we attended the No Kill Conference in Washington in May, we heard about an exciting strategy to put animal welfare at the forefront of local government strategy.

We were told that:

  • There is a major difference between “Animal Control” and “Animal Welfare”. The former protects people from animals (eg roaming, biting, nuisance) and in the main Animal Control is what Pounds and Animal Control (Rangers) are set up to do. Animal Welfare is completely different to Animal Control. The 2 don’t go together. (And when our governments speak of “animal welfare” what they often really mean is ‘Animal Control”. We need to recognise the difference.)
  • No Kill recognises that developing and maintaining a No Kill journey currently relies on the vision and commitment of a compassionate leader. The problem is that this is “person dependent”. If the leader leaves, then the Pound/Shelter can regress. It’s too dependent on the (right) individual (being at the controls).  Winograd says that there is a clear need therefore for new legislation that enshrines the rights of the animals – “we must move past the personalities and give animals the rights afforded by law “– ie legal protection for animals in the Pound/Shelter.
  • Winograd is talking about the need to introduce animal welfare laws – not more animal control legislation that does not have saving lives at its centre.

 As a consequence, the No Kill Centre has created a legislative imperative: the Companion Animal Protection Act. The legislation is part of the successful strategy to end State sanctioned killing of healthy animals in pounds and shelter. It has been known for a number of years that there are practical and economical ways to end the killing in pounds. There are increasing numbers of shelters that are taking the journey and showing that it can be done.

The strategies used, collectively called “the No Kill Equation” include:

  • Shelter accountability
  • Affordable spay/neuter
  • Rescue Group access to pound animals
  • Comprehensive adoption programs, including accessible pound hours and offsite venues
  • Medical and behaviour rehabilitation
  • PR and marketing of re-homeable animals
  • Use of volunteers and foster families
  • Socialisation programs and
  • A compassionate, hard working Pound Director who is not content to hide behind the “too many animals – too few homes” myth

Nonetheless, too many shelters are not voluntarily implementing these programs. As a result, animals are being needlessly killed. In response the No Kill Advocacy Centre has developed model legislation to help animal lovers and animal advocates achieve their goal of a no kill community. It is called the Companion Animal Protection Act of 2007.

To access the full text of the cover document and model act itself Click here 1) and click here 2)

DRP Comment:

We badly need the same initiative here in Australia. Too many of our “Animal Welare Acts” are based on legacy animal control philosophies. Are there any Government Ministers or Lawyers out there who can take this on? Write and tell us what you think!

How long will be it be before we get our Act together?