Over 500 million animals are confined in factory farms across Australia. Kept in a state of permanent confinement, they are crowded together in cages or sheds and denied the right to exercise their natural behaviours. The resources on this page provide an insight into the regulation of factory farming and animal agriculture in Australia, and the legal framework governing animal welfare.
Voiceless has produced a range of resources on the issue of factory farming. You can find out more about the factory farming of pigs, broiler chickens, battery hens and ducks on our Hot Topics pages. We also have materials exploring issues relating to animal agriculture and the law more generally, including information about the need for truth in animal product labelling, the impact of ag-gag laws and animal protection issues in the Australian dairy and live export industries. Below is a selection of some of our key resources addressing the topic.
- The Voiceless Animal Law Toolkit provides an overview of the legal and regulatory framework governing farmed animal welfare in Australia.
- The ‘Unscrambled’ report explores the hen welfare issues in the Australian egg industry.
- The Broiler Chickens fact sheet outlines the key welfare issues experienced by broiler chickens raised for meat in Australia.
- The ‘Life of the Dairy Cow’ report discusses the welfare problems in the Australian dairy industry.
- The ‘Across Land and Sea’ fact sheet explains the Australian live export industry and the experiences of animals confined on board live export ships.
The resources listed below explore:
- The history of factory farming in Australia;
- Farmed animal transport;
- Farmed animal slaughter;
- Ag-gag laws;
- Factory farming and false advertising;
- Factory farming and the environment;
- Factory farming and human diseases.
History of factory farming in Australia
Journal Articles/Research Articles/Reports
- Bell, Alan W, ‘Animal Science Down Under: A History of Research, Development and Extension in Support of Australia’s Livestock Industries’ (2019) 60(2) Animal Production Science 193. This article provides a brief overview of the history of animal agriculture in Australia from 1788 to 2019.
- Bruce, Alex, Animal Law in Australia: An Integrated Approach (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2nd ed, 2018) 211-234. This chapter provides an overview of the development and regulation of intensive animal agriculture in Australia.
- Cao, Deborah, Animal Law in Australia (Thomson Reuters, 2nd ed, 2015) 191-232. This chapter provides an overview of the development and regulation of intensive animal agriculture in Australia.
- Goodfellow, Jed, ‘Regulatory Capture and the Welfare of Farm Animals in Australia’ in Deborah Cao and Steven White (eds), Animal Law and Welfare – International Perspectives (Springer, 2016) 195. This chapter critically analyses the capacity of the State and Federal Departments of Agriculture to administer animal welfare law. Goodfellow examines the conflicts between public and industry interests, and proposes options for regulatory reform.
- Sharman, Katrina, ‘Farm Animals and Welfare Law: An Unhappy Union’ in Peter Sankoff and Steven White (eds) Animal Law in Australasia: Continuing the Dialogue (The Federation Press, 2nd ed, 2013) 61. This chapter discusses the corporatisation of animal production and the growth of factory farming in Australia.
- White, Steven, ‘Animal Protection Law in Australia: Bound by History’ in Deborah Cao and Steven White (eds), Animal Law and Welfare – International Perspectives (Springer, 2016) 109. This chapter provides an overview of the historical development of Australian animal protection law.
- ‘Factory Farming’, Voiceless, the animal protection institute (Web Page). This web page outlines the development, extent and impact of factory farming in Australia.
- ‘Voiceless Animal Law Toolkit’, Voiceless, the animal protection institute (Online Booklet). This Toolkit provides an overview of animal law in Australia, with a specific focus on the regulation of factory farming.
Farmed Animal Transport
- Bruce, Alex, Animal Law in Australia: An Integrated Approach (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2nd ed, 2018) 275-282. This section of the book provides an overview of the live export regime in Australia, including case studies of specific animal welfare incidents.
- Caulfield, Malcolm, Animals in Australia: Use and Abuse (Vivid Publishing, 2018) ch 7. This chapter provides an overview of live export in Australia.
- McEwen, Graeme, Animal Law: Principles and Frontiers (Barristers Animal Welfare Panel, 2011) ch 3. This chapter discusses a case study of Australia’s live export trade with Egypt. It also critiques the regulation of the trade by the Australian Government. Note: The live export regime has changed significantly since publication of this text.
Journal Articles/Research Articles/Reports
- Carnovale, Francesca and Clive J C Phillips, ‘The Effects of Heat Stress on Sheep Welfare During Live Export Voyages from Australia to the Middle East’ (2020) 10(4) Animals 694. This article analyses heat stress experienced by Australian sheep exported to the Middle East. It advises against such trips during the Southern Hemisphere winter and against initial offloading at the hottest port, Doha.
- Craig, Katrina, ‘Beefing Up the Standard: The Ramifications of Australia’s Regulation of Live Export and Suggestions for Reform’ (2013) 11 Macquarie Law Journal 51. This article examines potential reform options for regulation of the live export industry. Craig outlines the case for exporting chilled meat as a viable alternative.
- ‘Investigations into Mortalities’, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (Web Page). This web page summarises the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s investigations into live export mortalities.
- ‘Live Export’, Voiceless, the animal protection institute (Web Page). This page provides an overview of the key animal welfare issues associated with the live export trade, including several case studies.
- ‘Live Export Investigations’, Animals Australia (Web Page). This web page outlines the live export investigations conducted by Animals Australia.
- ‘What are the Animal Welfare Concerns with Transporting Farm Animals During Hot Weather?’, RSPCA Australia (Web Page). This article highlights the main welfare issues raised by the transport of animals in Australia’s hot weather, namely heat stress, and the respective responsibilities of people involved in the transport supply chain.
- ‘What is the Impact on Animal Welfare of Depriving Farm Animals of Water During Transport?’, RSPCA Australia (Web Page). This article draws on scientific literature and notes that there is not enough research on the impact of water deprivation on Australian farmed animals during transport. The article recommends adopting a precautionary approach by identifying the water needs of animals, while minimising the negative effects of water deprivation. Current standards allow for a maximum of 24-48 hours without water depending on the particular animal.
- Department of Local Government & Regional Development (WA) v Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd, Graham Richard Dawes and Michael Anthony Stanton (Magistrates Court of WA, Magistrate CP Crawford, 8 February 2008). Emanuel Exports was found to have exported sheep in a manner that caused unnecessary harm under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 (WA). However, since the export was valid under federal law, the relevant provisions of the state legislation were overridden under s 109 of the Constitution. The accused was acquitted of all charges.
- Fares Rural Meat & Livestock Co Pty Ltd v Australian Meat & Live-Stock Corporation and Others (1990) 96 ALR 153. This case concerned matters of administrative law in the context of live export licences. The Court found that the respondent could not rescind its approval to the applicant to export sheep to Saudi Arabia.
- Rural Export & Trading (WA) Pty Ltd v Hahnheuser (2008) 169 FCR 583. The respondent had contaminated a feedlot for sheep intended for live export to the Middle East, such that the sheep would not satisfy the Halal requirements for consumption in the recipient countries. The Court held that the respondent’s conduct substantially hindered the applicant from engaging in trade or commerce, contravening s 45DB(1) of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth). The respondent’s intention to protect the sheep did not constitute ‘environmental protection’ as an exemption under s 45DD(3)(a).
- Song v Coddington & The Attorney General for the Commonwealth Intervening  NSWSC 1196. The Court held that a veterinary officer authorised to grant or reject export permits was not a ‘person in charge’ for the purposes of clause 5 under the repealed Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (General) Regulation 1996 (NSW). This clause prohibited a person in charge from allowing animals to be transported in conditions where the animals could not stand upright. Interpreting ‘person in charge’ narrowly, James J distinguished between a person who actively impacts the animal’s physical circumstances and mere ‘passive permitting’.
- Australian Meat and Live-Stock Industry Act 1997 (Cth). This Act creates the live export licensing regime, prohibiting unlicensed export of livestock.
- Export Control Act 1982 (Cth). This Act governs the approval of consignments of animals on live export voyages.
- Export Control (Animals) Order 2004. This Order requires that live animal exporters must be licensed under the Australian Meat and Live-Stock Industry Act 1997 (Cth) and comply with relevant licence conditions.
- ‘A Bloody Business’, Four Corners (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2011). This 2011 exposé revealed welfare issues in the live export supply chain of Australian cattle exported to Indonesian abattoirs. See also the follow-up piece, ‘Another Bloody Business’.
- Animal Health Australia, Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines — Land Transport of Livestock (September 2012). These guidelines specify standards for livestock transportation, including the appointment of individuals responsible for animal welfare during transport. The standards provide the basis for developing and implementing consistent legislation across the states and territories.
- Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock 3.1 (Version 3.1, 2020). These standards specify the minimum requirements for animal health and welfare that exporters must meet when transporting animals by sea and air.
- Meat & Livestock Australia, Is the Animal Fit to Load? A National Guide to the Pre-Transport Selection and Management of Livestock (Guide, September 2019). This guide prepared by the meat and livestock industry’s marketing and research body is designed to assist livestock operators to meet the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Land Transport of Livestock by providing guidance on how to determine whether animals are fit for loading.
- ‘RSPCA Policy F1 Transportation of Animals – General Principles’, RSPCA Australia (Web Page). This RSPCA policy outlines the RSPCA’s general principles for the transportation of animals. It states that people responsible for animal transport have a duty of care to ensure that animals are not assembled, loaded, transported or unloaded in a way that is likely to cause injury, suffering or distress.
Farmed Animal Slaughter
- Bruce, Alex, Animal Law in Australia: An Integrated Approach (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2nd ed, 2018) 225-228. This section of the book provides an overview of the regulation of animal slaughter for food in Australia, including religious slaughter.
- Caulfield, Malcolm, Animals in Australia: Use and Abuse (Vivid Publishing, 2018) 172–178. Caulfield argues that current standards for farmed animal slaughter are inadequate, due to various reasons including inadequate regulatory compliance and issues with stunning methods.
Journal Articles/Research Articles/Reports
- Animal Welfare Science Centre, University of Melbourne, Review of the Scientific Literature and the International Pig Welfare Codes and Standards to Underpin the Future Standards and Guidelines for Pigs (Final Report, APL Project 2017/2217, August 2018) s 5. This scientific literature review will inform the upcoming Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Pigs. The review includes discussion of various pig slaughter methods, including carbon dioxide gas inhalation (CO2), anaesthetic overdose, gunshot, captive bolt and blunt force trauma.
- Bruce, Alex, ‘Do Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburgers? The Legal Regulation of Religious Slaughter of Animals’ (2011) 34(1) UNSW Law Journal 351. Bruce discusses the conflict between the animal slaughter requirements under Australian laws and policies, and Jewish and Islamic religious slaughter requirements. While regulatory standards require the pre-stunning of animals before slaughter, a number of religious methods require animals to be fully conscious. Bruce identifies two possible regulatory responses to address this conflict.
- Food Regulation Standing Committee, Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption (AS 4696:2007, CSIRO, Technical Report No 3, 2007) pt 3. This Standard requires the minimisation of the risk of injury, pain and suffering and ‘the least practical disturbance to animals’ during slaughter. The Standard covers the handling of animals in slaughter facilities, the treatment of young, injured, sick or stress susceptible animals, standard slaughter and ritual slaughter.
- Meat & Livestock Australia, Review of Stunning and Halal Slaughter (Report, Project Code W LIV 0383, February 2010). This report provides a summary of the available methods of stunning used prior to slaughter and the practised methods of Halal slaughter in Islamic countries. It discusses justifications for religious slaughter and examines the associated animal welfare issues.
- Animal Health Australia, Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle (May 2014) s 11. Section 11 provides the standards and guidelines for cattle slaughter. The standards have the objective of ensuring that slaughter is ‘done promptly, safely and humanely’. The guideline recommends the use of close-range firearm or captive bolt to the brain for slaughter. The Standards and Guidelines are being implemented into law by most State and Territory governments.
- Animal Health Australia, Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Sheep (May 2014) s 10. Section 10 provides the standards and guidelines for sheep slaughter. The standards have the objective of ensuring that slaughter is ‘done promptly, safely and humanely’. The guideline recommends the use of close-range firearm. The Standards and Guidelines are being implemented into law by most State and Territory governments.
- Animal Health Australia, Proposed Draft Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry (Public Consultation, November 2017) ss 10–11. Australia’s poultry standards are currently under review, with the aim of being finalised in 2021. These draft standards and guidelines were the subject of a public consultation. The proposed poultry slaughter guidelines are provided under ss 10-11.
Journal Articles/Research Articles/Reports
- Barnes, Ash and Rob White, ‘Mapping Emotions: Exploring the Impact of the Aussie Farms Map’ (2020) Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 36(3), 303. This article draws upon ‘green criminology’ to analyse the consequences of using counter-mapping as an activist tool. It also considers how the mainstream media framing of animal activism has affected activists and tools such as counter-maps. Despite not having a legal focus, this article provides insight into different forms of information sharing in an effort to create transparency in the animal agriculture industry.
- Englezo, Elizabeth, ‘Ag-Gag Laws in Australia: Activists Under Fire May Not Be out of the Woods Yet’ (2018) 6(1) Griffith Journal of Law & Human Dignity 272. This article examines the impact of proposed ‘ag-gag’ laws in light of the decision of the High Court in Australian Broadcasting Corporation v Lenah Game Meats Pty Ltd  208 CLR 199. It focuses particularly on the constitutional right to free political communication.
- Gelber, Katharine and Siobhan O’Sullivan, ‘Cat Got Your Tongue? Free Speech, Democracy, and Australia’s ‘Ag-gag’ Laws’ (2020) Australian Journal of Political Science 1. This article provides a comprehensive summary of proposed and enacted Australian ag-gag laws, and the criminalisation of certain types of activism. Gelber and O’Sullivan utilise free speech theory, and conclude that these ‘ag-gag’ laws have excessive impacts upon Australian freedom of speech.
- McCausland, Clare, Susan Pyke and Siobhan O’Sullivan, ‘The Ethics and Politics of Drones in Animal Activism’ (2018) Animal Studies Journal 7(1) 80. This article considers the laws and policies surrounding the use of drones in animal activism. They argue that legitimate privacy concerns do not outweigh the public good generated by drones.
- Morton, Rochelle, Michelle Hebart and Alexandra Whittaker, ‘Explaining the Gap Between the Ambitious Goals and Practical Reality of Animal Welfare Law Enforcement: A Review of the Enforcement Gap in Australia’ (2020) Animals 10(3) 482. This article addresses the discrepancies between written law and the realities of animal law enforcement in Australia – the ‘enforcement gap’. It outlines various factors contributing to the creation of the ‘gap’, and the need for further research.
- Potter, Will, ‘Ag-Gag Laws: Corporate Attempts to Keep Consumers in the Dark’ (2017) 5(1) Griffith Journal of Law & Human Dignity 1. This article discusses how ‘ag-gag’ laws have inhibited public awareness of factory farming. It also addresses global ‘ag-gag’ trends and discusses attempts to introduce ag-gag laws into Australia.
- Whitfort, Amanda, ‘Animal Welfare Law, Policy and the Threat of “Ag-Gag”: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back’ (2019) 3(2) Food Ethics 77. This article describes recent challenges to the constitutionality of US ‘ag-gag’ laws and evaluates the impact of such laws on animal welfare in agricultural facilities in the USA and Australia.
- Whitfort, Amanda, ‘Justice and the Vulnerable: Extending the Duty to Prevent Serious Crimes Against Children to the Protection of Agricultural and Research Animals’ (2018) 39(1) Adelaide Law Review 125. This article explores the argument for extending the duty to prevent serious violent crimes against children in the home to animals in laboratories, abbatoirs and on farms. The article ultimately advocates for the introduction of a new legislative duty to prevent unlawful serious harm to animals in these contexts. The author cites ‘ag-gag’ laws as eroding the already limited legal protections afforded to farmed animals.
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation v Lenah Game Meats Pty Ltd (2001) 208 CLR 199. Lenah Game Meats, the respondent, sought urgent interlocutory injunctive relief to prevent the ABC from publishing covert footage obtained from a possum processing facility in Tasmania. Kirby J acknowledged that animal welfare issues are legitimate matters of public debate and noted the importance of public interest groups in raising awareness of animal welfare issues. Consequently, the footage obtained on the private premises of Lenah Game Meats was allowed to be broadcast despite being unlawfully obtained from an anonymous source.
- Agriculture and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020 (QLD). This piece of legislation amends the Summary Offences Act 2005 (QLD) and introduces offences relating to ‘particular land’, which includes land used for an extensive range of animal-related activities. The new offences prohibit unlawful entry, interfering with gates and unlawful assembly on ‘particular land’ for a specified common purpose.
- Biosecurity Act 2015 (NSW). This legislation imposes broad general duties to prevent and report biosecurity risks when dealing with biosecurity matters or carriers. A failure to prevent and minimise a biosecurity risk can result in high penalties, including up to 3 years of imprisonment where the breach is intentional or reckless. Similar biosecurity legislation exists in other jurisdictions, and these duties may apply to animal advocates on agricultural land.
- Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Act 2019 (Cth). This amendment to the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) introduces two broad offences relating to the use of ‘carriage services’, which captures numerous forms of communication. The amendments prohibit using a ‘carriage service’ to incite trespass, property damage, destruction or theft on agricultural land.
- Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) s 138. Sets out a list of factors to determine the admissibility of illegally/improperly obtained evidence, such as covert factory farm footage.
- Right to Farm Act 2019 (NSW). The NSW legislation amends the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 (NSW) to include a number of offences specific to agricultural land. These offences include unlawful entry on agricultural land and aggravated circumstances, inciting unlawful entry and interfering with gates.
- Summary Offences (Trespass on Primary Production Premises) Amendment Act 2020 (SA). These recent amendments to the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) prohibit a number of acts on primary production premises. These include unlawful entry on primary production premises and additional aggravated circumstances, interfering with gates and disturbing farm animals while trespassing.
- Surveillance Devices Act 2016 (SA). The SA legislation prohibits the use of surveillance devices to covertly record private conversations or activities, and to use or publish such information. A judge order is required in order to use, communicate or publish such information where it was obtained in the public interest. Similar surveillance legislation exists in other jurisdictions, however it is unclear whether any public interest exceptions include animal welfare considerations.
- ‘Ag-Gag’, Voiceless, the animal protection institute (Web Page). This page provides an introductory examination of ‘ag-gag’ laws and the reasons why animal protection groups oppose their expansion.
- ‘‘Ag-gag’ – When Animal Laws Protect the Abusers, Not the Abused’, Animals Australia (Web Page). This article discusses the issues surrounding ‘ag-gag’ laws, with a particular focus on public reactions to US legislation.
- Giuffre, Emmanuel and Rosie Phillip, ‘Case Note: ABC v Lenah Game Meats’, Voiceless (Web Page). This case note examines a significant Australian case exploring questions as to the legality of publishing materials that are known to have been unlawfully obtained, and the extent to which media outlets can be restrained from publishing such materials.
- Ward, Tara, ‘The Co-Founder of the Animal Defenders Office on Australia’s Impending Ag-Gag Laws’, Voiceless (Blog Article, 29 July 2019). This 2019 blog article discusses the growing trend of ag-gag laws in Australia, and their impacts on free speech and animal protection.
Factory Farming & False Advertising
Journal Articles/Research Articles/Reports
- Bruce, Alex, ‘Labelling Illogic? Food Animal Welfare & the Australian Consumer Law’ (2012) 8 Australian Animal Protection Law Journal 5. This article examines whether existing consumer law and economic forces of informed consumer demand can be utilised to promote animal welfare.
- Hobill, Sharn and Jay Sanderson, ‘Not Free to Roam: Misleading Food Credence Claims, the ACCC and the Need for Corporate Social Responsibility’ (2017) 43(1) Monash University Law Review 113, 113 – 147. This article examines misleading food credence claims, such as ‘locally sourced’, ‘free-range’ or ‘healthy.’ Hobill and Sanderson discuss different attempts by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to deter misleading claims. The authors argue for food credence claims to be treated as a matter of Corporate Social Responsibility.
- Parker, Christine, Rachel Carey and Gyorgy Scrinis, ‘The Consumer Labelling Turn in Farmed Animal Welfare Politics: From the Margins of Animal Advocacy to Mainstream Supermarket Shelves’ in Michelle Phillipov and Katherine Kirkwood (eds), Alternative Food Politics: From the Margins to the Mainstream (Routledge, Critical Food Series, 2018) 193. This article critically examines the impacts of higher animal welfare label claims on Australian animal food products, and in particular its implications for farmed animal welfare politics.
- Parker, Christine, Rachel Carey and Gyorgy Scrinis, ‘The Meat in the Sandwich: Welfare Labelling and the Governance of Meat-Chicken Production in Australia’ (2018) 45(3) Journal of Law and Society 341. This article critically examines the degree to which higher‐animal welfare label claims change animal welfare regulation and governance in intensive meat chicken production in Australia.
- Parker, Christine and Josephine De Costa, ‘Misleading the Ethical Consumer: The Regulation of Free-Range Egg Labelling’ (2016) 39(3) Melbourne University Law Review 895, 895 – 949. This article examines Australia’s regulation of free-range eggs and evaluates the comparative impact of a voluntary labelling scheme and a mandatory information code.
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v C.I. & Co Pty Ltd  FCA 1511. In this case, the respondent, C.I. & Co Pty Ltd was found to have engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in contravention of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) by labelling caged eggs ‘Free Range’ and ‘Fresh Range-Omega 3.’
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Pepe’s Ducks Ltd  FCA 570. The Federal Court of Australia found that Pepe’s Ducks engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in contravention of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) for using the phrases ‘Open Range’ and ‘Grown Nature’s Way’, and a picture of an outdoor duck on its packaging of its barn-raised duck meat products and in its advertising. These words and images created representations which were misleading and deceptive as they incorrectly suggested that the ducks were allowed to spend a substantial amount of time outdoors, with access to a body of water and allowed to forage for food outside.
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Pirovic Enterprises Pty Ltd (No 2)  FCA 1028. In this case, Pirovic Enterprises was found to have engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in contravention of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) for use of the phrase ‘Pirovic Free Range Eggs’ to describe eggs sourced from hens who were largely barn-raised.
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v RL Adams Pty Ltd  FCA 1016. The respondent, RL Adams Pty Ltd engaged in conduct that was misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive in contravention of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), by labelling and promoting eggs as ‘free range’ when the hens were confined to barns and could not access the outdoors.
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Snowdale Holdings Pty Ltd (2016) 339 ALR 455. In this case, the Federal Court of Australia found Snowdale Holdings Pty Ltd had engaged in conduct which was misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive. Snowdale made statements on their packaging and advertising that their eggs were ‘free range’. The court found that these statements amounted to a representation that the eggs were laid by hens farmed in conditions where the hens were able to, and most did, go outdoors and roam freely on an open range on most days. Contrary to this representation, the Snowdale hens had very limited access to the outdoors.
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Turi Foods Pty Ltd (No 4)  FCA 665. In this case, the Federal Court of Australia found that Baiada Poultry Pty Ltd, Bartter Enterprises Pty Ltd and the Australian Chicken and Meat Federation Inc. (the peak coordinating body for participants in the chicken and meat industry in Australia) engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in contravention of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) by using the phrase ‘free to roam’ in advertising and packaging material for chicken meat products.
- Australian Consumer Law (Free Range Egg Labelling) Information Standard 2017 (Cth). This instrument provides a potential safe harbour from claims of misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to eggs labelled as ‘free range’. According to the Explanatory Statement, the purposes of the information standard are to ‘provide for the labelling and sale of eggs represented as free range that are produced and sold in Australia’ and ‘require that eggs sold in Australia must have been laid by hens that were kept in certain conditions, if those eggs are to be represented as free range’. The Standard defines ‘free range eggs’ as eggs laid by hens that ‘had meaningful and regular access to an outdoor range during daylight hours during the laying cycle’, ‘were able to roam and forage on the outdoor range’ and ‘were subject to a stocking density of 10,000 hens or less’. The Standard has been criticised by various animal protection groups and advocates, who argue that the Standard does not set a high enough standard for ‘free range’ egg farming – particularly in regards to stocking density. Listen to an interview discussing the issues with the Standard here.
- Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) sch 2. The Australian Consumer Law, contained in Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), is utilised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to bring actions against businesses that use welfare claims such as ‘free range’ inaccurately.
- Eggs (Labelling and Sale) Act 2001 (ACT). This ACT legislation requires egg producers and retailers to clearly label and signal to consumers whether eggs have been produced using cage, barn or free-range production systems.
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, ‘Advertising and Selling Guide’ (Web Page). This page provides a guide on the regulations surrounding animal welfare claims on products, in particular obligations relating to ‘free range’ and ‘not tested on animals’ claims.
- McDonald, Rachel, ‘Is Free Range Good Enough?’, The Wire (Web Page, 26 April 2018). An interview with Sarah Margo, former Legal Counsel for Voiceless re the Australian Consumer Law (Free Range Egg Labelling) Information Standard 2017 (Cth).
Factory Farming & The Environment
Journal Articles/Research Articles/Reports
- Bell, Alan W, ‘Animal Science Down Under: a History of Research, Development and Extension in Support of Australia’s Livestock Industries’ (2020) 60(2) Animal Production Science 193, 221-3. This article provides a brief history of research and development in Australian livestock industries, as well as public awareness of farming practices.
- Benke, Kurt and Bruce Tomkins, ‘Future Food-Production Systems: Vertical Farming and Controlled-Environment Agriculture’ (2017) 13(1) Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy 13, 13-26. This article discusses the sustainability of Australia’s farming practices. In particular, it analyses Australia’s increasing population and diminishing water supply. The article argues that the most prominent threats from Australia’s agricultural practices are climate change, soil depletion, degradation from over-farming and poor production practices.
- Bruce, Alex and Thomas Faunce, ‘Food Production and Animal Welfare Legislation in Australia: Failing Both Animals and the Environment’ in Gabriela Steier and Kiran Patel (eds), International Farm Animal, Wildlife and Food Safety Law (Springer International Publishing, 2017) 359. This chapter explores ‘how animals in Australia are raised and processed domestically for food and exported internationally’ and explains ‘the systematic exclusion of State and Territory Animal Welfare Actsto farm animals intended to be processed for food’. Case studies are discussed – live export and poultry welfare. Discusses the environmental externalities associated with intensive farmed animal operations, including atmospheric CO2 emissions and water degradation, promoting the use of artificial photosynthetic technology in order to work towards energy and waste neutrality.
- Wiedemann, SG, EJ McGahan and CM Murphy, ‘Resource Use and Environmental Impacts from Australian Chicken Meat Production’ (2017) 140(2) Journal of Cleaner Production 675, 675-684. This study examines various agricultural methods for growing chickens in relation to resource use, greenhouse gases and freshwater consumption. It also notes that feed production was the largest contributor to all impact categories.
Factory Farming & Human Diseases
Journal Articles/Research Articles/Reports
- Abraham et al, ‘Current and Future Antimicrobial Resistance Issues for the Australian Pig Industry’ (2017) 57(12) Animal Production Science 2398. This report critically examines antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance in Australian intensive pig production. It discusses relevant public health concerns and presents potential prevention and control measures.
- Akram-Lodhi, A Haroon, ‘COVID-19 and the World Food System’ (2020) 85 (Winter) Journal of Australian Political Economy 11. This article discusses the link between world food systems and pandemics. In particular, it focuses on the impact of market imperatives on COVID-19.
- Bell, Allen W, ‘Animal Science Down Under: A History of Research, Development and Extension in Support of Australia’s Livestock Industries’ (2020) 60(2) Animal Production Science 193, 223. This section of the article describes how increased intensification of animal agriculture exacerbates the risk of pathogen transmission.
- Nunn, Mike, ‘Australia’s Biosecurity: Future Challenges for Animal Industries’ (2011) 8(2) Australian Farm Business Management Journal 39. This article focuses mainly on farmed animal health, explaining that Australia’s animal industries face a wide range of biosecurity challenges.
- Palmer, Sarah, Max Sully and Farida Fozdar, ‘Farmers, Animal Disease Reporting and the Effect of Trust: A Study of West Australian Sheep and Cattle Farmers’ (2009) 19(1) Rural Society 32. This article reports on an investigation into an apparent decline in the reporting of livestock illness and deaths. It examines data obtained from Western Australian sheep and cattle farmers and concludes that the key factor influencing reporting decisions was trust in the government.
- White, Steven, ‘Farm Animal Protection Policymaking and the Law: The Impetus for Change’ (2018) 43(4) Alternative Law Journal 244. This article ‘explores problems underpinning standard-setting for the protection of farm animals in Australia which have provoked calls for change’. Particular focus on the link between factory farming and disease emergence.
- Wiley, Kerrie E et al, ‘Australian Beef Industry Worker’s Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices regarding Q Fever: A Pilot Study’ (2019) 37(43) Vaccine 6336. This study examined the knowledge, attitudes and practices of Australian beef industry workers in relation to zoonotic infection Q fever and Q fever vaccination. The authors examine current trends and propose a coordinated public health approach and awareness campaign in order to control and prevent Q fever outbreaks.
- ‘What is ‘One Health’?’, RSPCA Australia (Web Page, 4 May 2020). The RSPCA describes the concept of ‘one health’, the concept that ‘human health and animal health are interdependent and bound to the health of the ecosystems in which they exist’. The article discusses how collaboration can help protect human and animal health, and ensure food safety and security. It also examines zoonotic diseases, food safety, and antimicrobial resistance.
Last updated August 2021.
Thank you to the Voiceless Legal Volunteer Team (2020) for their significant research and writing assistance: Francesca Nyilas, Annice Savill, Filomena Rosella, Morgan Stonebridge, Masika Morris, Chloe Jung, Aashritha Kumar, Stephanie D’Amelio, Jacqui Maehrlein and Billie Shone.