During Phase 1 of the AAWS (prior to 2011), one of the goals of this working group was the development of National Standards for Zoo Animals.
Unlike livestock industries which have been covered by animal welfare Codes of Practice for many years, there has never been an equivalent system for non-production animals such as zoo animals.
A major undertaking for the AAWS has been the development of national standards and guidelines to protect the health and welfare of animals kept for exhibition. This is a great example of the strength of this program and what can be achieved through partnership and commitment.
Challenges to face the working group included harmonising industry and government perceptions on animal welfare, and creating standards that both industry and regulators can relate to.
All stakeholders including industry, governments and animal welfare rights groups participated in the drafting of the guidelines which garnered valuable expertise and helped to better inform and unify the collective industry.
The outcomes focused guidelines will allow organisations to manage and document in a formal capacity and if implemented nationally will see exhibited animals kept to the same standards throughout Australia.
Due for completion in mid 2011, the project was expected to be referenced in state and territory legislation in 2012.