House debates

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Questions without Notice

Animal Welfare

2:10 pm

Photo of Andrew WilkieAndrew Wilkie (Clark, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, the sickening revelations on the ABC last week exposed the vile treatment of horses in New South Wales and Queensland. If it's happening in those two states it's a safe bet it's happening elsewhere, including in Tasmania. Prime Minister, systemic animal cruelty is rampant in Australia—in horse racing, greyhound racing, live exports, puppy and kitten factories and in the industrial production of animal based food and textiles. Clearly, the states and territories cannot be trusted to regulate animal welfare, especially when they defer to industry self-regulation. Prime Minister, will you finally acknowledge the systemic failings in animal welfare in this country and establish a national independent office of animal welfare?

2:11 pm

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for his question. I share with him, and I would be certain that all members of this House would share their deep concern, at the images that were seen recently and screened. I found them very concerning and very disturbing, and I have no doubt that Australians across the country were equally disturbed. We are a country that cares for our animals. In particular, our farmers and those across our rural districts care deeply for their livestock and want to manage those issues in the best possible way.

The government of course will consider all its options in relation to dealing with these matters. I'll ask the minister representing the Minister for Agriculture to add further to the answer.

2:12 pm

Photo of David LittleproudDavid Littleproud (Maranoa, National Party, Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you, Prime Minister. I do share the concern, the sadness and the anger that the member for Clark has also articulated. I don't think there's anyone in this place who would not agree that that's abhorrent.

We are working with the Queensland government in a constructive way to make sure that action is taken and that the assessment of that vision is undertaken as quickly as we possibly can. Any resources the Queensland government requires, it will get. But we are confident in the ability of the Queensland government to continue with the processing of that vision.

I just caution the member, however, in generalising the behaviour of industries. This has been something that is quite traumatic to many in those industries. The vast majority of participants in those industries find this abhorrent; it is against their morals and their culture, and they are hurting from this as well. We expect the states to live up to their responsibilities, as they have, in managing animal welfare in this country. We don't need a another layer of bureaucracy, we simply need the bureaucracy to do its job.