Tips on writing a shade/shelter submission to Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 review, May 2021
The Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 is the principal animal welfare legislation in Queensland. The government has finally decided it’s time for a review – 20 years after the act came into force. In two decades, community attitudes to animal welfare have changed dramatically.
Consider your own ideas. How do you feel about the way we treat our farm animals and the way they live? In 2021, what should our principal animal welfare legislation say? Take this opportunity to tell the government what you think.
You can do this in 2 ways – by completing the online survey and writing a submission to the review. We urge you to do both. Governments are influenced by numbers – the more people who put in a submission and complete the survey, the more they will listen.
Find out more about the review of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.
Tips on writing your submission on shade/shelter
Think about what you want to say. Your submission should be unique. The government is more likely to respond to a large number of individual submissions, rather than a whole lot of identical copies cut and pasted.
When making you submission remember to:
- Lodge it by midnight Friday, May 21, 2021
- Be respectful and polite
- Keep your writing clear, make it concise
- Explain what it is that you want to talk about and why
- Lay out your submission in a way that is easy to follow – headings, bullet points could be useful
- If your argument is long, summarise it at the beginning and at the end
How to begin
You might like to introduce yourself. If you have experience or expertise in the area you could mention it here. You might have seen animals standing in paddocks without shade or in feedlots and saleyards. Give details of that. Explain why this review is important to you and the animals.
Detail what you want to talk about
Set out your concerns over shade/shelter. Explain why the current legislation doesn’t address the issue. For example, it’s not compulsory for people in charge of animals to provide them with shade and shelter. And there are no minimum standards that set out what that shelter should be. Explain how this affects animals that live outdoors.
As well as animal welfare concerns, there are economic costs that you can discuss. For example, it’s estimated that heat stress costs the Australian feedlot industry $16.5 million annually.
Animals that are hot eat less, milk production and quality declines and reproductive success is affected.
In extreme conditions like heatwaves, animals die.
Back up your argument with research
*Scroll down to the bottom of this page for sites that you may find useful.
Tell the government how you think climate change is going to affect our farm animals. You might want to refer to the science on this issue which is telling us that Australia is now 1.44 degrees hotter than when records began in 1910. Australia’s warmest (and driest) year on record was 2019, and the seven years from 2013 to 2019 all rank in the nine warmest.
Right now, we are on track for catastrophic climate change – at least 3 degrees of heating and maybe more.
The RSPCA says in a changing climate, more farm animals across a wider area will be subject to heat related illness. Pregnant, lactating, young, sick or old animals are most at risk from weather extremes.
Suggested sites below. You’re probably familiar with others.
Tell the government what you think should be done
Explain why the current legislation fails to protect animals.
The Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Chapter 3, Part 1) refers to Duty of Care – the responsibilities a person in charge of an animal has to that animal (there are other things this section refers to, including food and water).
The Act says that a person is in breach of their duty of care if they don’t take reasonable steps to provide appropriate accommodation or living conditions for the animals’ needs.
The Act says reasonable means “reasonable in the circumstances”.
It does not set any standards that accommodation or living conditions must meet.
Consider including these requirements when telling the government what you think is needed to ensure animals are adequately protected from the weather.
- make it mandatory for adequate shade/shelter to be provided for all animals (including at saleyards, holding pens and depots)
- develop a clear and unambiguous definition of adequate shade/shelter
- facilitate regular inspections of areas where animals are kept to ensure the standards are being met
- introduce penalties and prosecute owners and carers who fail to provide the required shade/shelter for their animals
Animals Need Shade has information on shade solutions and why it’s important that any shade trees planted or structures that are built must be sturdy and meet the needs of the animals, taking into account their breed, size, etc.
There’s a lot this review doesn’t cover
While the government is reviewing its Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, there are a lot of other laws (standards and guidelines) that aren’t being reviewed.
And these have a lot to say on the way animals are treated.
For example, the government is adopting the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for cattle and sheep as well as saleyards and depots.
They cover a huge range of animal welfare issues but they don’t make shade/shelter compulsory and they don’t set minimum standards for shade/shelter.
Ask the government to include those requirements when it adopts the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines.
Other issues you might like to include in your submission
After looking at the Act, you might decide there are other things that need to be changed, deleted banned or improved. And there may be other issues you believe should be included in the legislation.
For example, do you think animal sentience should be part of new Animal Care and Protection Act?
The ACT Government has introduced animal sentience in its animal welfare legislation. It’s also being considered in reviews of the Victorian and New South Wales legislation.
Incorporating animal sentience in welfare laws acknowledges that animals feel pain, fear, discomfort and pleasure. This has the potential to influence the way animals are treated in the future. Some welfare groups think this is key to improving their treatment and care.
If this is important to you, mention it in your submission to the government.
How to end
You might like to summarise your argument again (briefly). As you did at the beginning but make it more like a conclusion that wraps up your submission. State briefly what needs changing and how the government should do this. Again be polite and respectful so that your submission is taken seriously.
*Here are those research links
These links may be useful when describing how heat and cold affect an animal’s health, wellbeing and quality of life.
If some of these links aren’t clickable, try cutting and pasting the URL into your browser.
RSPCA – extreme heat and animals
RSPCA Climate change and animal welfare
The govt’s department of agriculture recognises that shade is important to animal welfare
Heat stress in cattle
Impact of heat load on cattle – includes references to economic costs
Economic cost of endemic disease on the profitability of Australian beef cattle and sheep producers
University of Melbourne – heat stress in dairy cows
Importance of shade in feedlots
Thermal comfort zones, horses
Animals Need Shade
Media reports on animal deaths