An open public consultation of the proposed draft Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry (S&G) and associated Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was undertaken for a 90 day period from 27 November 2017 to 26 February 2018.

The independent consultant’s report and the major submissions can be found here.

The consultant’s report provides a comprehensive summary of the submissions received during public consultation. The consultant does not make any recommendations about changes to the S&G. The consultant’s report does, however, identify areas where the drafting group may need to review the technical material provided within the submissions, or seek further advice from the Animal Welfare Task Group (AWTG).

It was clear from the overwhelming number and content of submissions that the welfare of poultry in Australia generates considerable public interest and that there is support for improvements in the welfare of commercial poultry. It was also clear that there are significant differences of opinion and interpretation of science about how to ensure good poultry welfare within poultry production systems. Opinions on the options presented in the RIS are correspondingly diverse.

The consultant’s report has been noted by the AWTG. As agreed by the AWTG, the report and major submissions have been made available. The AWTG is not seeking public comment on these documents.

The outcomes of the public consultation submissions and the independent consultant’s report will help to inform the development of revised S&G by the drafting group under the direction of the AWTG. The drafting group is a small group with expertise in legal and/or standards and guidelines drafting and poultry technical expertise.

Revised timings

Revising the standards and guidelines in response to public consultation and other evidence is taking longer than initially anticipated. Original timeframes did not anticipate the large number of public submissions (over 167,000), including the range of additional suggestions and evidence and the information presented in the Farmed Bird Welfare Science Review, each of which requires proper consideration.

The Animal Welfare Task Group is committed to progressing the process as quickly as possible. However, given the strong community and stakeholder interest, and the significant impacts of animal welfare standards on animals, stock people, businesses, the wider community, food supply, biosecurity and land use, it is important to consider all the evidence carefully.

Next steps

The drafting group will continue to consider the submissions and other information to revise the draft standards and guidelines. The Animal Welfare Task Group will then consider a revised version of the standards and guidelines and draft decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS). The Stakeholder Advisory Group (representing industry, governments, veterinarians, researchers and animal welfare NGOs) will then be asked to provide advice on these documents. After considering the advice from the SAG, the standards and guidelines will be finalised and proceed to Agriculture Ministers for endorsement. As part of this endorsement, Ministers will be asked to agree to implement the standards in state and territory legislation.


Page updated: 18 December 2018