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Proposed Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines – Exhibited Animals Consultation Regulation Impact Statement March 2014


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Proposed Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines
– Exhibited Animals



Consultation Regulation Impact Statement

March 2014

Published by the NSW Department of Primary Industries



Title: Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – Consultation Regulation Impact Statement

First published March 2014

ISBN 978 1 74256 616 0
More information

Approved citation: Harding, Tim and Rivers, George (2014) Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – Consultation Regulation Impact Statement NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange.

Publication record: Public Consultation Version Edition 1 2014

Version: 1


Acknowledgments

This Regulation Impact Statement was prepared for NSW Department of Primary Industries by Tim Harding & Associates in association with Rivers Economic Consulting. The assistance of members of the Expert Consultative Forum, the Writing Group (in particular Matthew Crane, Nicolas de Graaff, Hayley Findlay, Greg McDougall, Michael O'Brien, Paul O'Callaghan, and Kate Serafin) and Norman Blackman, Hannah Dickson, Peter Thornber and Scott Turner in providing information and advice is gratefully acknowledged.



Cover photo: Courtesy of Featherdale Wildlife Park.

© State of New South Wales through the Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services, 2016. You may copy, distribute and otherwise freely deal with this publication for any purpose, provided that you attribute the NSW Department of Primary Industries as the owner.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing (March 2014). However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that information upon which they rely is up to date and to check currency of the information with the appropriate officer of the Department of Primary Industries or the user’s independent adviser.

Tim Harding & Associates


ABN 55 102 917 624

PO Box 5113,

Cheltenham East VIC 3192
In association with

ABN 86 933 238 261

PO Box 3046,

Wheelers Hill VIC 3150


Summary



Introduction
This regulation impact statement (RIS) evaluates the proposed Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines - Exhibited Animals (‘the proposed national standards’):

  • Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – General

  • Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – Crocodilian

  • Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – Koala

  • Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – Macropod

  • Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – Ratite

  • Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – Wombat

The proposed national standards have been prepared under a system endorsed by all state and territory governments.

‘Exhibited animals’ are defined as all animals kept for exhibition purposes, including those in zoological parks (zoos), wildlife or fauna parks, aquariums and museums with live animal exhibits, but excluding circus animals. This includes both exotic and native species; and all taxa of animals at any stage of their life cycle, including in the pre-natal, pre-hatched, larval or other such developmental stage.



The purpose of the proposed national standards is to specify uniform standards that ensure the welfare and security of exhibited animals across Australia. (It has been decided that associated risks to human health and safety will be handled outside the scope of these standards). The proposed national standards are complemented by guidelines providing advice and/or recommendations to achieve desirable animal welfare and security outcomes. They apply to people and industries responsible for the care and management of animals kept for exhibition purposes at facilities, animals temporarily removed from such facilities and animals being transported to or from such facilities.
The proposed national standards and guidelines have been prepared under the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS). A national Expert Consultative Forum (ECF) provided initial comment and guidance on the drafting of the standards and guidelines and a series of drafts have subsequently been developed over the last few years by a writing group. Representatives from federal, state and territory government agencies, and members of the exhibited animal industry and animal welfare groups have been involved in the process.
Case for action and policy objective
By way of background, the proposed national standards have been developed in response to:


  • criticisms of the industry arising from publicised incidents of poor animal treatment, animal escapes, etc.;

  • difficulties experienced by jurisdictions ill-equipped to manage/prevent such undesirable situations; and

  • difficulties for the industry in dealing with separate jurisdictions having inconsistent standards.

According to COAG guidelines, the RIS is required to demonstrate the need for the proposed national standards. This need is most often demonstrated in RISs by providing quantitative evidence of various forms of market failure in the industry under discussion. However, as discussed in Part 2.1 of this RIS, there are substantial methodological difficulties in providing such quantitative evidence of market failure in the exhibited animals industry. For this reason, the case for action is expressed in terms of meeting community values and expectations regarding exhibited animals, rather than providing quantitative evidence of market failure.
The RIS discusses the nature and extent of the various different values that the Australian community places on zoos and other animal exhibits. Available evidence indicates that most Australians consider animal welfare to be an important issue. On the other hand, visitation rates to zoos and other animal exhibits are the highest of any cultural activity other than going to the movies. From these two sets of evidence, it is reasonable to assume that Australians are prepared to tolerate wild animals being kept in captivity on the understanding that risks to the welfare of exhibited animals will be minimised.
The main way of protecting these community values is to mitigate the risks posed to the welfare of exhibited animals, to the environment and to Australian agriculture from the keeping of exhibited animals. The nature of these risks is discussed in Part 2.2 of this RIS.
In relation to the proposed national standards the following overarching policy objective is identified:
To meet community values and expectations regarding the welfare of exhibited animals, and associated protection of the environment and agriculture; in ways that are practical for implementation and industry compliance.

The main criterion for evaluating the proposed national standards and the feasible alternatives is net benefit for the community, in terms of achieving this policy objective.



Options

Feasible options for meeting these community values and expectations are discussed in this Consultation RIS. Each of these options is likely to entail a different combination of incremental costs and benefits, as discussed in the following summary of the impact analysis.

Having no standards in Australia at all is not a feasible option, because some jurisdictions already have their own standards as part of the base case; and it is outside the scope of this COAG RIS to consider the revocation of individual state or territory standards.
Similarly, public education campaigns as an alternative to national standards are likely to be ineffective and therefore not a feasible alternative. The behaviours that need to be changed are displayed by a minority of exhibitors, who are less likely to be influenced by public education campaigns than by enforceable standards.
Having more comprehensive standards e.g. more standards for specific taxons (species and other animal classifications) is not currently a feasible option either, because the necessary research, standard development and key stakeholder consultation have not yet been done. The development of certain taxon standards may not be feasible for some years.
The practical alternatives below have emerged from discussions with the Expert Consultative Forum (ECF) referred to in Part 1.3 of this RIS. The suggested variations to the proposed national standards are those where standards are likely to be costly and/or contentious amongst stakeholders. The public consultation seeks the views and advice of interested parties in the further formulation of variations to the existing proposals. Selected additional variations may be investigated and reported in the Decision RIS.
The options assessed in terms of costs and benefits are:


  • Option A: converting the proposed national standards into national voluntary guidelines (the minimum intervention option);

  • Option B: the proposed national standards as currently drafted;

  • Option C: one or more variations of the proposed national standards as follows:

  • Option C1: amend proposed Macropod Standard S3.2 regarding fox-proof fencing to allow for alternative fox management measures such as baiting (records of measures to be kept by operator). i.e. require fox-proof fence or effective alternative.

    • Option C2: amend General Standard S3.28 to state a maximum period in a

    • holding enclosure of 30 days without government approval instead of 90 days.

Interested Australians are now being asked via this Consultation RIS to consider the costs and benefits of each option and whether they are willing to accept the costs of meeting community values and expectations. Thirteen (13) public consultation questions are interspersed in the text of the RIS, in an endeavour to obtain further information and opinions from the Australian community regarding the welfare of exhibited animals. A complete list of these questions is given in Appendix 5 to this RIS.
Impact analysis

The costs and benefits of Options A, B, and C are assessed by using the following criteria (I to III) to compare the effectiveness of each option in achieving the relevant part of the policy objective:



  1. Animal welfare benefits;

  2. Ecological benefits; and

  3. Net compliance costs to industry and government.

The term ‘base case’ means the relevant status quo, or the situation that would exist if the proposed national standards were not adopted i.e. the existing state and territory standards plus market forces and the relevant federal, state and territory legislation (refer to Appendix 1 for details).

Comparing the costs and benefits against the base case is hindered by the inherent inability to quantify benefits to animal welfare, the ecology and agriculture; and the difficulty in this case of quantifying some of the costs.
The incremental costs and benefits of the options relative to the base case are summarised in the following Table.

Table 11: Summary of relative costs and benefits over 10 years (Options A, B, C1 and C2)


Criterion

I

II

III

Option










A (guidelines only)

> base case

> base case

0

B (proposed national standards)

> Option A and = to C1

> Option A and = to C1 and C2

$6.24m for general and $0.81m for taxon Standards

> Option A



C1 (fox proof fencing or alternative)

> Option A and = to Option B

> Option A and = to Option B and C2

$6.24m for general and $0.91m for taxon standards if fox baiting is used instead of fencing.

> Option A and > Option B (for taxon standards only)



C2 (maximum 30 days in holding enclosure without approval from Government)

> Option A, B and C1

> Option A and = to Option B and C1

> $6.24m for general and $0.81m for taxon Standards

> Option A and > Option B (for general standard only where unquantifiable cost is likely to be slightly > B)



Rank 1 highest benefit or lowest cost per criteria

C2

B, C1 and C2

A

Rank 2 highest benefit or lowest cost per criteria

B and C1

A

B

Rank 3 highest benefit or lowest cost per criteria

A

N/A

C1 and C2

The above table shows that all options would provide greater benefits than the base case; but all options other than Option A would be more costly than the base case. Options B, C1 and C2 would provide greater benefits than Option A; but would also be more costly than Option A.


Options C1 and C2 are not mutually exclusive. Option C1 (variation of taxon Standard S3.2 to enable baiting as an alternative to fox proof fencing), would not provide additional benefits as compared to Option B but would entail a higher cost than Option B if fox baiting is used.
Option C2 (variation of the proposed general Standard S3.28 which allows a maximum period in holding enclosure of 30 days without government approval instead of 90 days) would be likely to provide additional animal welfare benefits under Criterion I, but with a slightly larger unquantifiable cost under Criterion III. The prevalence of Option C2 in Table 11 suggests that, in terms of ranking, this option is likely to achieve the highest net benefit. Therefore Option C2 is selected as the preferred option and the most likely to achieve the objectives as discussed in Part 2.2 of this RIS.
The preferred option, i.e. the variation of the proposed national standards (Option C2), addresses the identified problems far more comprehensively than the base case, i.e. the existing legislation and standards as listed in Appendix 1 to this RIS.
The intent of preparing the variation of the proposed national standards is to replace current jurisdictional standards, but it is ultimately a matter for each jurisdiction as to whether and how they will implement the national standards, if and when adopted by the Agriculture Ministers Forum (AMF).
The incremental costs per business are unlikely to be large enough to create a barrier to entry; and such businesses would be equally affected by the same regulatory environment. Thus the proposed national standards would be unlikely to restrict competition.

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