Australia is the worst performer (“G”) under the VACI, together with Belarus. The country has a very high level of animal product consumption and production and a decentralised approach to animal welfare legislation and enforcement.
Australia is highly dependent on animals, with around 8.2 animals farmed per person, which is twice the global average. Australia slaughters around 28.1 land animals per person per year, almost triple the global average of 10.1. Most pigs, chickens and other farmed birds are confined in factory farms and some cows are raised entirely or partly within intensive farming systems.
Australians consume the second-highest number of land-based animals (after the United States) and have the highest proportion of land-based animal protein in their diet at almost 64%. According to the Roy Morgan Research Institute, the number of people who self-identify as entirely or mostly vegetarian rose from 9.7% to 12.1% in 2019.
Australia is a marginal performer ("D") under the Animal Protection Index (API), and its farmed animal protection legislation achieved a poor performance rating ("E") under the same index. The country has limited national animal protection laws and policies, and continues to permit battery cages for layer hens, live export and painful husbandry procedures without the use of anaesthetic. Learn more about the quality of Australia's legislative protections here.