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Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Prohibition of Live Imports of Primates for Research) Bill 2012

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2010-2011-2012

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment

(Prohibition of Live Imports of Primates for Research) Bill 2012

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of Senator Lee Rhiannon)

 

 



Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment

(Prohibition of Live Imports of Primates for Research) Bill 2012

 

OUTLINE

1.       The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Prohibition of Live Imports of Primates for Research) Bill 2012 amends the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to ban the import of live primates for the purposes of research.

The bill amends Part 13A of the EPBC Act which regulates international movement of wildlife including import of primates into Australia.  The bill does not ban the use of primates for research, nor does it provide a blanket ban on the importation of primates for other purposes such as zoos.

There is widespread global concern that the current levels of wild-caught primates throughout the world pose a significant threat to wild populations. A 2009 animal welfare organisation investigation found that wild-caught primates were being exported as “captive bred” primates from Australia’s Indonesian source of imported primates for research; and that those primates were inflicted with cruelty and suffering during their capture, confinement and transportation.

The specific issue of Indonesian primates wild-caught to supply global research markets is raising concerns in CITES and the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group, as well as other wildlife conservation groups.

Australia is signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which commits to ensuring international trade in flora and fauna does not threaten a species’ survival. All non-human primates are listed as CITES specimens.  Further, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) policy on non-human primates for scientific purposes states that “whenever possible investigators obtain non-human primates from National Breeding Centres”.

There are three government funded facilities in Australia breeding primates for research, and no applications or permits for the importation of live primates have been issued since 2009.

These new provisions will make it unlawful to import into Australia primates for research purposes,  formalising current practice whereby primates have not been imported for research purposes into Australia for many years, and ensuring Australia does not participate in the unethical trade of wild-caught primates for experimentation.

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1 - Short Title

2.       This clause provides for the bill, when enacted, to be cited as the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Prohibition of Live Imports of Primates for Research) Act 2012.

Clause 2 - Commencement

3.       This clause provides for the bill to commence on the day the Act receives the Royal Assent.



Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

4.       This clause is the formal enabling provision for the Schedule to the bill, providing that each Act specified in a Schedule is amended in accordance with the applicable items of the Schedule. In this bill the Act being amended is the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 .

5.       The clause also provides that the other items of the Schedules have effect according to their terms. This is a standard enabling clause for transitional, savings and application items in amending legislation.

Schedule 1 - Amendments

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

6.       Item 1 inserts into existing subsection 303CG(1) reference to the new subsection 303CG(5A).

7.       Item 2 inserts new subsection 303CG(5A)  requiring that the Minister must not issue a permit that authorises the import of a CITES specimen if the specimen is a live Primate; and the proposed import would be for the purposes of research or for purposes that include research.

8.       Item 3 inserts into existing subsection 303EN(1) reference to new subsection 303EN(3A).

9.       Item 4 inserts new subsection 303EN(3) requiring that the Minister must not issue a permit that authorises the import of a regulated live specimen if the specimen is a Primate; and the proposed import would be for the purposes of research or for purposes that include research.

10.   Item 5 inserts new subsection 303GB(1) requiring that the Minister may not issue an exceptional circumstances permit authorising the import of live primates for research or authorising the import of regulated live specimens that are primates for research.

11.   Item 6 inserts into existing subsection 303GC(2) reference to new subsection 303GC(5A).

12.   Item 7 inserts new subsection 303GC(5A) requiring that the Minister must not issue a permit under subsection 303GC authorising the Secretary to import a specimen if the specimen is a live primate; and the proposed import would be for the purpose of research or for purposes that include research.



 



Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Prohibition of Live Imports of Primates for Research) Bill 2012

 

This bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the bill

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Prohibition of Live Imports of Primates for Research) Bill 2012 amends the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to prohibit the import of live non-human primates for research purposes.

 

Human rights implications

This bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.  Animals are sentient beings but as yet do not enjoy rights comparable to human rights.  This bill fulfils humanity’s responsibility to protect and defend the rights of animals to live a life free of cruelty and suffering.

The bill will not have an adverse impact on medical research.  Australia has three primate breeding facilities supporting medical research in Australia which serve current research requirements. No primates have been imported to Australia for research purposes since 2009.  This bill seeks to prevent the resumption of the importation of primates for research purposes that are caught in the wild.

 

Conclusion

This bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.

 

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon