A portrait of piglet

How a National Commission for Animal Welfare will help animals.

There's an exciting new policy being debated this Federal election that if supported would be life-changing for animals suffering in factory farms and the live export trade.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated May 13, 2022

Have you ever wondered why our laws allow hens to be confined in battery cages or mother pigs to be locked away in crates barely bigger than their bodies – despite the science, the evidence and the majority of Australians saying they’re cruel? 

It’s because farmed animals like pigs and laying hens have no independent voice at the senior government level. And those who are charged with protecting their welfare – Agriculture Ministers – are first and foremost beholden to the industry that profits from locking hens in cages in the first place. It’s an impossible conflict of interest. 

In the video below, Animals Australia’s Legal Counsel explains how a National Commission for Animal Welfare would give millions of animals the independent representation they need – and deserve.

As Animals Australia's Legal Counsel explains, a National Commission for Animal Welfare will break through the power of vested interests that has blocked change for animals for far too long.

Australia’s laws and standards governing the treatment of animals are outdated and do not reflect community expectations. This is because livestock industries have been allowed to write their own rules – through codes of practice – or more fittingly, codes of cruelty.

These codes of practice effectively allow animal industries to bypass animal protection laws – allowing industries like factory farming and live export to continue, despite the suffering they cause to animals.

It’s time to re-write the rules and create a kinder and more compassionate Australia for all animals.

In farming industries it is legal to cut the tails off piglets, the beaks off hens and the horns off cows without any pain relief. If done to a dog or cat, these acts would be considered animal cruelty.
Shatha Hamade
Legal Counsel, Animals Australia

Underpinning these legal double-standards and the systems of suffering entrenched by them is the idea that some animals deserve protection from cruelty, and others do not. An idea borne in another era that saw animals put into categories – friend or food – with the level of legal protection afforded to them depending on what category they were in.

This way of thinking of course ignores the fact that all animals share the capacity to suffer.

What’s the solution?

A national Animal Welfare Commission would be a paradigm-shift in Australia when it comes to our treatment and consideration of animals.

It would provide independent, science-based advice to government on animal welfare issues.

Importantly, the Commission would remove the untenable conflict of interest that has existed whenever standards and laws impacting animals are reviewed – ensuring that the profits of industries no longer automatically trump the welfare of animals.

This is one of a number of key animal welfare reforms on the table this Federal election. Click here to see which parties and candidates are supporting this and other important policies for animals.


Authorised by Glenys Oogjes, Animals Australia, 37 O’Connell Street, North Melbourne VIC 3051