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Cage Hens And Factory Farming To Be Banned Under Greens Animal Cruelty Overhaul

EXCLUSIVE: The Greens will pursue a radical overhaul of animal cruelty laws in a bid to crack down on factory and puppy farms, that will include jail time and hefty fines.

States have "failed" in protecting animals from cruelty and exploitation, claimed NSW senator Mehreen Faruqi, necessitating the need for the federal government to step in and enact tighter legislation and tougher penalties.

"It is very clear that even when existing laws are enforced they result in just a slap on the wrist of the offender. We want to see zero tolerance for animal abuse," she told 10 daily, saying state laws "lack teeth".

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Faruqi, in a battle to retain her Senate seat at the May 18 election, cited advice from the federal Parliamentary Library -- viewed by 10 daily -- that shows the government has power under the constitution to "extensively" make federal laws on animal cruelty, which could supersede "wildly inconsistent" state legislation.

Greens want to end battery cages under their animal cruelty laws. Photo: Getty

The party plans to pursue a National Animal Cruelty Prevention Act, further empowering the Australian Federal Police to act in these cases, and eventually establishing an Independent Office of Animal Welfare.

The Greens -- who, along with a clutch of other minor parties, may hold the balance of power in the next Senate -- will push for reform of laws covering a variety of animal welfare areas, including:

  • protecting against commercial kangaroo slaughter, and of migratory birds from duck hunting;
  • de-beaking of chickens, castration of calves, mulesing of sheep;
  • ending sow stalls and battery cages;
  • live export of livestock;
  • puppy and cat breeders

Faruqi claimed the factory farm procedures were "excruciatingly painful" and often carried out without pain relief.

Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi has proposed new animal cruelty laws. Photo: AAP

"The Greens are committed to ending factory farming," she said.

"How we treat animals is a key indicator of a society’s compassion. We have a duty of care to animals, which means ensuring animals are respected and treated with kindness, not cruelty."

"We have a responsibility to end, where possible, the physical and psychological suffering human activity inflicts on animals."

She cited a number of recent animal cruelty convictions where offenders received minor sentences such as community corrections orders or relatively small fines.

Under the Greens proposal, federal penalties for animal cruelty "would be greater than every state and Territory equivalent offence".

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This could mean that animal cruelty penalties would be above $261,000 and three years jail, which Faruqi said was the current highest penalties under state law.

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“Some of these [state] laws were drafted up to 40 years ago and are completely out of touch with community expectations and animal welfare needs," she said.

“If there is one thing that the Australian people are united on, it is that there is no place for animal cruelty in any industry."

Contact the author jbutler@networkten.com.au