A REVIEW of the National Animal Welfare Strategy (NAWS) is currently under way to clarify Australia's position on animal welfare at home and abroad.
National Farmers Federation quarantine and animal health task force chairman Keith Adams said Australia had to develop a clear and concise national animal welfare strategy for local communities and for international trade negotiations.
He said animal welfare measures adopted in some European countries were not always applicable to Australia due to different farming systems, the range of climatic conditions and distances involved.
"The EU's attempt to introduce non-trade concerns such as animal welfare into the Doha round of agriculture negotiations is another potential non-tariff barrier to the European market," he said.
"Clearly animal welfare should be discussed in the World Animal Health Organisation not the World Trade Organisation, which is not a standard-setting body."
Mr Adams said animal welfare was an issue of vital importance to Australian farmers, which NFF was tackling on a number of fronts.
"NFF regards animal welfare as an ongoing priority and we continue to engage on this issue with our members through our quarantine and animal health task force," he said.
"NFF does not condone cruelty to animals in any circumstances and we believe the welfare of animals must be a first priority."
The NFF is urging farmers and agricultural organisations to contribute to the current review of NAWS before the deadline on February 16.
"While NFF's quarantine and animal health task force will submit comments on this important document it is important that all stakeholders review the document and provide feedback to NFF or directly to the Government," he said.
The latest draft NAWS document is posted on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website www.daff.gov.au