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Aussies Support Protection for Farm Animals – NFP Report


Thursday, 20th November 2014 at 10:00 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist
Animal rights and advocacy Not for Profit, Voiceless, has released an Australian-first survey into animal protection sentiment revealing that 78 per cent of Australians believe farm animals should have access to the outdoors.

Thursday, 20th November 2014
at 10:00 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist


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Aussies Support Protection for Farm Animals – NFP Report
Thursday, 20th November 2014 at 10:00 am

Animal rights and advocacy Not for Profit, Voiceless, has released an Australian-first survey into animal protection sentiment revealing that 78 per cent of Australians believe farm animals should have access to the outdoors.

The Voiceless-commissioned research has found that Australians are overwhelmingly in support of better protection for farmed animals.

“This flies in the face of the dominance of factory farming in the pig and chicken industries, and demonstrates that Australians are opposed to the prolonged suffering caused by intensive farming methods,” Head of Communications at Voiceless, Elise Burgess, said.

As part of its annual Grants Program, Voiceless commissioned US-organisation Humane Research Council (HRC) to bring their Animal Tracker survey to Australia.

HRC’s Animal Tracker Australia is a longitudinal survey of animal-related opinions and behaviour in Australia. The survey asked 1,000 Australian adults 15 baseline questions as well as three to four key demographic questions.

“Significantly, the survey will continue to be taken over the coming years to track the development of Australian attitudes towards key animal protection issues,” Burgess said.

“The 2014 survey provides in-depth insights into Australian attitudes towards animal protection issues including factory farming, hunting, live export and meat consumption.”

The survey found:

  • 77.9 per cent support laws requiring farmed pigs have access to the outdoors

  • 76 per cent support laws requiring caged egg-laying hens have access to the outdoors

  • 76 per cent support laws requiring chickens raised for meat have access to the outdoors

“This research tells us that Australians are overwhelmingly in support of better protection for farmed animals, with a majority of people wanting to see an end to the use of battery cages and sow stalls,” Burgess said.

“This is a wake-up call for industry and retailers and it sends a clear message that consumers do not want to buy into animal suffering.”

Burgess said other results were not so clear, especially concerning misperceptions around kangaroo welfare.

“While Australians have been clear in their positioning on factory farming practices, it is evident that there is scope for improvement in other areas. Misperceptions on issues like cruelty in the commercial slaughter of kangaroos has had an effect on public sentiment so there’s still a great deal of work ahead for animal advocates to better represent this and other animal issues in the public domain,” he said.

Animal Tracker Australia report key summary points:

  • Australians generally agree that animals are sentient and that people are obliged to avoid harming them, but they have mixed beliefs about kangaroos and farmed animals.

  • Most Australians consider themselves at least somewhat aware of various animal issues and most also consider the wellbeing of animals to be very important.

  • Half of Australians think incorporating humane education into schools is very important.

  • The vast majority of Australians believe that the wellbeing of animals exported overseas for food is important. Additionally, they are more likely to say that current laws for exported animals are “inadequate” than to say they are “adequate.”

  • Most Australians do not know if the commercial kangaroo industry does enough to ensure that kangaroos do not suffer.

  • Australians clearly support a law requiring minimal space for farmed animals.Concern for animals has caused a majority of Australians to buy meat/dairy products with humane labels, buy products labelled “not tested on animals,” and to spay/neuter their companion animals.

  • Most Australians support a variety of advocacy tactics, with the most support for lobbying and the least support for lawsuits and protests.

  • Australians believe that the most credible sources of information about animals are NGOs authorised to inspect and enforce animal legislation (such as the RSPCA and Animal Welfare League), as well as farmers and agriculturalists. Animal protection groups and academics/scientists are also highly credible.

Voiceless is a Not for Profit think tank focused on animal protection, founded by father and daughter team, Brian and Ondine Sherman.

Download the Humane Research Council Animal Tracker Australia report here.


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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