The agricultural industry, academics and animal rights groups have come together to discuss animal welfare in a landmark meeting held in Sydney.
Recently launched University of Queensland initiative, The Animal Welfare Collaborative, aims to make Australia a global leader in animal welfare and the Sydney summit brought together 60 groups to discuss how to achieve that goal.
UQ Professor of Animal Welfare Alan Tilbrook said the collective had brought together different groups, with different opinions on the use of animals.
"The strength of the Collaborative is that it is led by Australian universities and thus provides non-partisan independence, credibility, and scientific rigour, allowing us to lead initiatives with a clear focus on the animals," he said.
"The Collaborative has a broad remit to cover animal species, but the group's initial focus is Australia's animal production and horse racing industries, which have been the focus of public concern in recent years."
The Animal Welfare Collaborative involves researchers from UQ, The University of Newcastle, The University of Western Australia and The University of Adelaide.
Groups including Meat and Livestock Australia, Animals Australia, Animal Health Australia, Australian Chicken Meat Federation, Australian Wool Innovation, Cattle Council of Australia, Dairy Australia and the National Farmers' Federation were involved.
Following the Animal Welfare Summit, the group has established key goals to encourage all society to contribute their ideas on how to improve animal welfare, facilitate an inclusive, constructive, evidence-based discussion about animal welfare, promote best practices and translate and enhance a science-based approach to animal welfare.
Animal Health Australia CEO Kathleen Plowman said it was encouraging to see so many groups with a diverse range of views represented at the summit.
"The summit provided a respectful forum for discussion and debate, with everyone in agreement that providing animals with the highest level of welfare outcomes was the main priority," she said.