For years now, our Association has been working hard at our relationship with the animal welfare organisations. The fact that we run truckCare, and have always taken animal welfare seriously, has given us a bit of credibility with these groups. We continue to meet with them regularly.
We certainly saw the dividend from that last week. Major animal welfare groups have quietly told us that they chose not to respond to some journalists’ inflammatory enquiries and deliberately avoided ‘beating up’ this incident.
Most of the 400 sheep on our member’s crate were either killed in the crash or had to be humanely destroyed at the scene. There were some journalists who wanted to turn that into
a story, but no one was willing to play their game.
In fact, leading animal welfare advocates have told us that, in a crash situation, they want to ensure that injured animals are dealt with quickly and humanely. They have been concerned to know whether Police and other personnel can ensure that injured animals are not left suffering for a moment longer than necessary and that every animal that has to be destroyed is dealt with professionally and humanely.
… Agencies considering their response plans
In the wash-up from the two recent roll-overs that have occurred in Melbourne, there are some moves in at least two States to review how government agencies respond to roll-over incidents.
Government authorities are being asked what they can do to ensure that there is no unnecessary delay in dealing with animals caught up in a roll-over. They’re also being asked whether they have a clear policy and procedure on how to handle these incidents:
- If a roll-over happens in a high-traffic area, is it firmly agreed that human safety has to come before any other objective?
- If animals are loose, and cannot realistically be penned or secured, should they be humanely destroyed? Does that apply even if the animals aren’t injured, but are a threat to road safety?
- For any crash, but especially those in urban areas, do agencies have effective processes
to ensure that someone with the right training and the right weapon can attend the crash? Once you’re in the city, it seems there are some real question marks over that.
This week, we’ve heard that some government officers have already identified some interesting gaps in their legislation. For example, in some States, animal welfare officers can humanely destroy an animal if it is injured and in pain, but they don’t have a legal power to destroy an animal just because it’s a threat to human safety.
We’ve advised the relevant government players that we’ll be happy to assist in any reviews and we’ll see what their next move is.