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New director to drive animal welfare reform

The WA Department of Agriculture and Food’s new Animal Welfare director will call on years of international experience to position the WA State as a leader in animal welfare regulation.

Sarah Kahn joined the department in February 2017 and is leading a dedicated team committed to improving animal welfare outcomes in Western Australia.

Dr Kahn has an extensive and varied background including previous roles as Director of the International Trade Department of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and most recently as an advisor to the OIE on international animal health and welfare standards.

WA Department Biosecurity and Regulation executive director Kevin Chennell said Dr Kahn was ideally suited to oversee the WA State’s animal welfare regulation and would draw on a wealth of experience managing global animal welfare issues.

“Dr Kahn has managed some major animal welfare challenges in her career, including establishing standards for international trade in terrestrial and aquatic animals and animal products,” Dr Chennell said.

“She joins the department at a time when animal welfare regulation in Western Australia is undergoing significant change as we implement key recommendations of the 2015 Animal Welfare Review.

“Dr Kahn will take the lead on some critical initiatives, such as a review of the Animal Welfare Act 2002, implementation of national welfare standards and guidelines for livestock, and the development of the WA State animal welfare strategy and policy and inspector governance frameworks.

“The department is also building its animal welfare compliance team, and focusing on improving community and industry education and engagement.”

Dr Kahn has qualifications in Veterinary Science from Melbourne University (1978) and a Masters Degree in Science at the University of James Cook in North Queensland in 1997.

Dr Kahn said the department was already making significant headway implementing the Animal Welfare Review in a number of key areas.

“The department is developing an online site as a gateway for community and industry consultation, and planning is underway for the WA State strategic plan and policy framework, which will set out WA’s long-term vision and goals for animal welfare,” she said.

Image: Dr Kahn

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