Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 25 February 2014) . . Page.. 109 ..
Animal Welfare (Factory Farming) Amendment Bill 2013
Debate resumed from 19 September 2013, on motion by Mr Rattenbury:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR COE (Ginninderra) (5.17): The opposition will be voting against the Labor-Greens government’s Animal Welfare (Factory Farming) Amendment Bill 2013. Whilst this bill may be portrayed as a feather in the cap of a minister who is trying to win back his Green base, it demonstrates to all how ACT Labor’s agenda has been successfully hijacked by the extreme Greens. The introduction and passing of legislation should be done cautiously and when there are no other reasonable options. Given that the ACT has no intensive pig farming or battery farming, and there is no prospect of such industries being established, this bill is redundant.
What is the next bill to come before this place? Perhaps it is a bill to ban commercial whaling or a bill to ban nuclear-generated power here in the ACT? Perhaps they are just as relevant as the bill before us today. There are far better things that the Assembly could and should be concentrating on. Mr Assistant Speaker, this bill has nothing to do with animal welfare. It is more about Greens’ grandstanding. We will be voting against the bill.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for Ageing) (5.18), in reply: I rise today to close the debate on the Animal Welfare (Factory Farming) Bill 2013. It has been a long road to get here and I am glad that we have finally made it to a place where these certain forms of animal cruelty have been outlawed in the territory. These are good gains and we will take them gladly. Animal welfare activists have been calling for these reforms for decades and it has taken a surprisingly long time for some people to see the merits of those calls.
I know that I was certainly at rallies in the early to mid-90s in Canberra calling for a ban of battery hens. Today, we finally bring that to fruition. This legislation bans the production of caged eggs and the use of sow stalls in the ACT. To ban these elements of factory farming gives me great joy, but I understand that there remains more that needs to be done. I have had many complaints in recent days from people telling me that this bill did not go far enough, that factory farming still exists in the ACT and that there are still many more farming practices which involve animal cruelty.
To those people I say that animal welfare improvements are made via small gains over long periods, and this bill is about locking in some hard won improvements, to consolidate the ground gained and to reshape the parameters of future campaigns. I would like to take this moment to thank the many people who have contributed to these gains on this long journey and to reflect on the fact that people’s hard work has paid off.