Our role

The state and territory member Societies provide services to animals in need through their shelters and inspectorates. In the national office, RSPCA Australia works to influence animal welfare policy, practice and legislation across the country
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Key issues

The RSPCA advocates for the welfare of animals across a number of industries, issues and platforms. Help from our supporters is important to progress change. Working together is key.
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Priority issue
Australia is closer than it has ever…
Live sheep export

Support us

Whether you're an individual or a business, there are multiple ways you can support the RSPCA
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About

The RSPCA is an independent, community-based charity providing animal care and protection services across the country.
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Adopt

By choosing adoption, you’ll not only have the chance to make a friend for life, but you’ll be giving an animal a second chance and helping support the RSPCA.
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Make a difference to a pet’s life today.
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In 1965, the British government (UK Farm Animal Welfare Council) first introduced the concept of the ‘five freedoms' for animals, a set of principles that provide a basic framework for analysis of welfare within any animal production system. This was the first real attempt to define the key animal welfare requirements for livestock and has strongly influenced the direction of government policy on farm animal welfare across the world. However, with the more recent development of quality assurance or accreditation programs, questions have been asked about the practical application of the principles contained in the five freedoms. While the five freedoms provide the starting point for setting animal welfare standards, they do not provide sufficient detail for those assessing and auditing production systems. What are clearly needed are scientifically based animal welfare standards that provide sound guidance for animal producers.

The challenge to scientists is to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to developing such standards that encompasses concepts of animal behaviour, physiology, health and immunology. Research on food animals has traditionally focussed on how production levels can be increased. It has only been more recently that scientists have begun to investigate issues of behaviour and cognition in these species. In its 2006 Scientific Seminar, RSPCA Australia asked: What are the biological and behavioural needs of production animals? And how can farm animal welfare science give us greater insights to align husbandry and management practices to better suit those needs?

The Seminar tackled these important questions through an examination of the traits and characteristics of common production animals using recent research examples and specific behavioural case studies. The Seminar demonstrated how increasing our understanding of livestock can improve husbandry practices for the benefit of both animals and producers.

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