The Science Party is committed to encouraging the protection of animal welfare and adopts a utilitarian approach that attempts to minimise the total suffering of sentient beings.
1. Animals in research
The Science Party supports the use of animals for scientific and research purposes. The Science Party supports the principles and practices outlined in the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes released by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
2. In vitro meat
The Science Party views in vitro meat production as a technology with great potential. If researched and investigated effectively, the Science Party sees the technology as able to reduce the price of meat and make it essentially cruelty-free. We support investment by the CSIRO into the further exploration and development of in vitro meat technologies to make this a reality. We also support investment into plant-based alternatives to animal products.
3. Independent Office for Animal Welfare
The Science Party supports the creation of an independent office for animal welfare to regularly review Australian animal welfare conditions and submit a report suggesting legislative changes to address welfare issues. The office will also review and monitor the animal welfare standards implemented by nations Australia enters into live export agreements with.
4. Live export restrictions
The Science Party opposes the live export of animals used for consumption to countries whose animal welfare standards have not been approved by independent Australian regulators. We believe the heavily documented accounts of animal suffering justify an end to the current system of live export, and necessitate substantive changes if it is to continue.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources currently accepts mortality rates for export voyages of between 0.5% and 2% ('Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock' p.107). The ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System) introduced in 2011 fails to appropriately cater to animal welfare, and doesn't mandate pre-slaughter stunning that is required in Australian slaughterhouses. The Science Party sees these mortality rates as unacceptable and supports the implementation of tougher standards on exporters to minimise animal suffering during export, with a requirement to end the practice if more humane standards cannot be embraced by companies participating in the export of live animals.
5. End battery cages and sow stalls
The Science Party calls for a nation-wide ban on battery cages (caged environments measuring at or below 30cm x 21cm x 40cm) used in egg production. The practices employed on modern battery farms place excessive stress and suffering upon the animal, and are not necessary for relatively low-cost production that can be achieved through barn-raised egg production. We also support a ban on producers using sow stalls and gestation crates in pig farming. These practices have already been outlawed in the ACT and this ban should be expanded nationwide.
6. Food Labelling
6.1. The Science Party supports honest labelling of animal products. In particular, the Science Party is concerned that current labelling methods fail to adequately inform consumer choice when purchasing animal products. We support the creation of optional tiered label certifications that clearly define the animal welfare standards involved in free-range production.
6.2. Regarding chicken egg production, the Science Party supports optional free-range certification that maintains a minimum standard of conditions that promote the animal’s safety, and behavioural and physiological needs. Higher tiers of free-range certification would be available to producers who meet higher standards of animal welfare. Clear and distinct authorised labelling would be made available for producers who meet the different tiers of welfare standards.
7. Animals in Racing
7.1. Greyhound racing: The Science Party supports stronger regulatory standards in regards to the use of animals in greyhound racing and the temporary suspension of the industry until welfare concerns (particularly issues of live baiting) can be addressed.The Science Party supports immediately ending greyhound racing until these welfare concerns are addressed.
7.2. Horse jumps racing: The Science Party supports the nationwide extension of bans on jumps racing which are currently in place in Queensland and NSW. The industry exposes horses to unreasonable levels of risk by encouraging dangerous jumps at high speeds over long distances, and results in serious injury and numerous fatalities annually. This will not affect flat horse racing and other equestrian events.