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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 13 Hansard (3 December) . . Page.. 4399..


Wednesday, 3 December 1997

__________________________

MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

ANIMAL WELFARE (AMENDMENT) BILL (NO. 2) 1997

MS HORODNY (10.32): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to present the Animal Welfare (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1997.

Leave granted.

MS HORODNY: I present the Animal Welfare (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1997.

Title read by Clerk.

MS HORODNY: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This Bill addresses a major ethical issue of our time - the use of animals in scientific experimentation. It has been said that a measure of a civilised society is the way it treats its most disadvantaged members. I would extend this saying to include how that society treats the animals in its care. Unfortunately, our society would score a very low mark for the way it treats its farm animals in intensive agricultural facilities and the way it treats animals as unwilling subjects in painful and often fatal scientific experiments. I am glad that this Assembly has already taken at least a small step to counter intensive agricultural practices through its passing of legislation to phase out battery hen farming in the ACT. There is still much more to be done, however, in improving the welfare of animals in our society. This Bill specifically addresses another area that needs improvement, which is animal experimentation.

The Animal Welfare Act already contains the framework by which the use of animals in experimentation or teaching is regulated. Institutions that wish to use animals for research or teaching purposes are required to be licensed. A condition of that licence is that the institution must establish an animal experimentation ethics committee whose role is to approve specific programs of research or teaching using animals in the institution and to monitor the use of animals used in the programs. The composition and operation of these ethics committees are prescribed in the Animal Welfare Regulations. I understand that there are some seven committees in the ACT at such institutions as the CSIRO, the universities and the CIT.


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