Author Topic: Animal welfare to get a 'voice' at VFF conference  (Read 944 times)

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Animal welfare to get a 'voice' at VFF conference
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 05:11:29 PM »
ACTIVISTS who rallied to have Australia's live cattle exports to Indonesia temporarily suspended last year will join a panel session at the Victorian Farmers Federation annual conference.

Animals Australia executive director Glenys Oogjes and RSPCA Victoria chief executive Maria Mercurio will join Melbourne University Animal Welfare Science Centre Professor Paul Hemsworth and VFF livestock president Chris Nixon during a panel discussion about animal welfare expectations.

VFF president Andrew Broad told Weekly Times Now he saw the panel discussion as a "meeting of the minds".

"Last year we had someone from Coles explaining the 'Down, down' campaign and this year the idea was to look at farming with the emergence of more extreme animal groups. It's a meeting of the minds," said Mr Broad, who will chair the session in Bendigo.

"We would say, as farmers, we are environmentally aware and are realistic about animal welfare.

"Farmers are passionate and they are always decent, perhaps too decent. When we had (then) water minister Penny Wong a few years back, they were too nice."

Ms Oogjes said the message to farmers would remain that animals raised for food deserved a quality of life and legal protection from cruel treatment.

"It is always our hope that when farmers have the opportunity to actually meet us and hear our views, they will realise that we are anything but the extremist organisation that some industry bodies choose to portray us as," she said.

"And that our views are sound, well supported by science, representative of many Australians and therefore worthy of consideration."

Ms Oogjes said many of the welfare issues Animals Australia exposed were known to industry bodies.

"To maintain consumer support, producers need to meet their expectations as to appropriate standards of welfare.

"This is why continuing to educate the community about conditions and practices in intensive production facilities will remain a major focus of Animals Australia."

The VFF annual conference runs from April 19-20.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad/animal-welfare-gets-a-voice/story-fn6bfkm6-1226320032175