The Animal Welfare Task Group (AWTG) resolves animal welfare policy and regulatory matters which have national and inter-jurisdictional scope. It delivers on animal welfare priorities of national interest referred to it by the Agricultural Senior Officials’ Committee (AGSOC) and oversees the development and review of nationally consistent standards and guidelines for production animal welfare.
Membership is made up of representatives from each of the state and territory government departments responsible for animal welfare, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries in an observer capacity.
The AWTG is responsible for:
- Maintaining the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines Development Framework.
- The coordination of reviews of Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals and conversion to Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines.
- Delivery of animal welfare priorities of national interest as referred by AGSOC.
Animal Welfare Task Group (AWTG) members:
|Allison Crook (Chair)||General Manager Animal Biosecurity and Welfare and Chief Veterinary Officer||Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland|
|Christine Mulhearn||Assistant Secretary, Innovation & Consumers Branch||Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment, Commonwealth|
|Fiona Ferguson||A/Director Animal Welfare Program||Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland|
|Kim Filmer||Chief Animal Welfare Officer||Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales|
|Sally Fensling||Executive Director Animal Welfare Victoria||Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Victoria|
|Nathan Rhodes||Executive Director Animal Welfare and Biosecurity||Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia|
|Rae Burrows||General Manager Biosecurity Tasmania||Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Tasmania|
|Sarah Kahn||Director Animal Welfare Policy||Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia|
|Peter Saville||Principal Veterinary Officer Biosecurity and Animal Welfare||Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Northern Territory|
|Alexander Nockels||Senior Director Domestic Animal Services||Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate, Australian Capital Territory|
|Kate Littin||Manager Animal Welfare Team||Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand|
The AWTG meets regularly via online conference and is supported by a secretariat provided by the Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment.
Secretariat services are provided by the department’s Animal Welfare Section (Agricultural Policy Division).
Current work priorities
Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Livestock at Processing Facilities and Establishments
The AWTG, led by Queensland, is developing new Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Livestock at Processing Establishments (the standards and guidelines).
An independent scientific literature review was commissioned by the AWTG to inform the development of the new standards and guidelines. The review, authored by Dr Leisha Hewitt and Dr Alison Small, evaluates published scientific literature from 2000-2021, and focusses on the welfare aspects of livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys, camelids, buffalo, rabbits, poultry and other fowl) handling and processing for human consumption in abattoirs. Read the independent scientific literature review [PDF 1.58 MB].
Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Land Transport of Livestock - suitability for horses
AWTG, led by Queensland, is currently reviewing the existing 2012 Standards and Guidelines for the Land Transport of Livestock and their suitability for horses. The amended Standards and Guidelines are expected to be finalised in 2022.
Virtual Fencing Technology
AWTG is examining the use of virtual fencing technology - GPS-enabled neckband or collar devices worn by livestock producing mild electric pulses to deter animals from approaching or crossing a virtual fence boundary - in response to the referral from the Agriculture Senior Officials’ Committee (AGSOC). A sub-group will examine regulatory issues associated with virtual fencing technology.
Contacting the AWTG
Post: AWTG c/- Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment,
GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia