November 15, 2021
AgForce Queensland has slammed the ANZ Bank for adopting animal welfare principles without seriously engaging with the livestock industry.
CEO Michael Guerin said the principles – which may be used by the bank to decide whether or not to approve a loan or keep a customer – were adopted after input from Animals Australia and the RSPCA.
“ANZ formed these principles with almost no engagement with the livestock industry or any of Australia’s State farming bodies, including AgForce,” Mr Guerin said.
AgForce has previously publicly supported a position of “zero tolerance” for animal cruelty in Australian agriculture.
“In fact, this country’s animal welfare standards are one of the main reasons we produce food and fibre often considered the envy of the world,” Mr Guerin said.
“There are regulations at a Federal and State level, and AgForce has its own animal welfare policy, aligned to these and to the National Farmers’ Federation’s policy, which we helped develop.”
He said ANZ was seeking to not only see that these welfare standards were adhered to “but that customers ‘exceed‘ them – without any further explanation as to where exceed starts and ends”.
Mr Guerin said ANZ had stated that the bank “received over 2000 emails in 2020 and 2021 supporting AA’s position, all of which we responded to explaining our work to consider the issues and offering discussion with the complainants”.
“Which seems to indicate that ANZ is prepared to appoint themselves judge, jury, and even executioner on nothing more than hearsay from animal activists when it comes to deciding whether or not to financially support a farmer’s business,” Mr Guerin said.
“Surely though, if there is an animal welfare issue, then it is government’s place to investigate and take action – not a bank’s.”