MP brings newborn lamb to Vic parliament

Benita KolovosAAP
MP Andy Meddick brought a lamb to parliament as he urged improved shelter for farm animals.
Camera IconMP Andy Meddick brought a lamb to parliament as he urged improved shelter for farm animals. Credit: AAP

A Victorian crossbench MP has brought a newborn lamb to parliament as he called on the government to make shade and shelter a legal requirement for farm animals.

Animal Justice MP Andy Meddick introduced Lily the lamb to MPs on Wednesday in an effort to "put a face to the suffering lambs across Australia endure".

Lily, who was clad in a rainbow knitted jumper, matching blanket and nappy, was born at the weekend and would have died after becoming orphaned and left in the cold if she wasn't found by rescuers.

Mr Meddick said more than 15 million lambs die from exposure across Australia each year, largely because they are offered no legal protection from the elements.

"The cold snap coming through Victoria is a reminder of how vicious our winters can be, especially during the recent storms," the Western Victoria MP said.

"While we're rugged up inside with our pets, lambs are being born outside in the blistering cold. It's not surprising that many won't make it."

He said he hoped MPs would better understand the issue once they met Lily.

"If you've ever been lucky enough to meet a lamb, you'd know they are individuals with their own personalities, entirely deserving of kindness and safety," Mr Meddick said.

"The least we can do is provide them with adequate shade and shelter."

Mr Meddick moved a motion in the Legislative Council calling on the Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas to make shade and shelter mandatory for all animals.

But Ms Thomas insists it is already an offence for an owner or someone in charge of livestock to not provide proper and sufficient shelter and water under Victoria's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

"The Victorian government is working to modernise Victoria's animal protection laws," she said in a statement.

"Setting minimum standards of care for animals in legislation is among the proposals under consideration, including standards for shelter and other aspects of an animal's environment."

Nationals Leader Peter Walsh said it was in farmers' best interests to look after the health of their animals and he criticised Mr Meddick for "double standards".

"Farmers are sick of having their commitment to high animal welfare standards questioned by a radical ideologue who would love nothing more than to end farming and agriculture for good," he said in a statement to AAP.

Mr Walsh, who is also the opposition's spokesman for agriculture, said Mr Meddick did not stand up for issues that are "actually important to the regional people he claims to represent".

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