Inspector to oversee Australia’s live animal exports
A long-awaited report into the independent live animal export regulator’s culture and capability has been released, more than two months later after expected.
Federal Agricultural Minister David Littleproud announced Philip Moss’ review into the Federal Department of Agriculture’s role as independent live export regulator this morning.
In the 100-page document, Mr Moss made 31 recommendations including that DAWR “ensure the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock are reviewed on a regular basis to reflect industry, scientific and regulatory developments and community expectations”.
Mr Moss also called on the department to create an independent external entity, known as the Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports, to police its regulation of live animal exports.
A principal regulatory officer within DAWR has also been proposed to “improve regulatory practice, compliance and its culture as regulator”.
Mr Littleproud welcomed Mr Moss’ review and said greater regulation was needed to promote animal welfare standards during live export voyages.
“I specifically asked Mr Moss to consider an inspector-general in his review, and I said at the time I don’t care who thought of the idea,” he said.
“Mr Moss recommends it so I’m doing it. I don’t give a stuff who claims the credit.
“The principal regulatory officer will be key in driving cultural change within the department as well as improving compliance and investigations.
“I accept Mr Moss’ recommendation that the regulator of the live export trade have an animal welfare branch and introduce animal welfare indicators along the supply chain as part of the regulatory framework.
“Compliance and regulation should not be a bureaucratic tick box — to change culture, the light needs to be shone onto animal welfare and the threat of being caught and punished needs to be real.”
DAWR has supported all 31 recommendations.
In April, footage of 2400 sheep dying on voyages to the Middle East during a shipment in August 2017 emerged, prompting Mr Littleproud to initiate a range of reviews and immediate responses.
Animals Australia chief investigator Lyn White said the trade had seen animals exposed to tendon slashing, eye stabbing, sledgehammering, mass suffering and deaths from heat stroke on ships.
“There is not a single valid justification for this industry being allowed to continue,” Ms White said.
* An independent external inspector-general of live animal exports to oversee the department in its role as the regulator.
* The department re-establish an animal welfare branch and place animal welfare at the centre of its regulatory activities.
* The department develop a system ensuring any issues and concerns raised by staff members about live exports are addressed in a transparent and timely manner.
* Australian government accredited veterinarians and authorised officers be required to make a declaration each year of any personal conflict of interest.
* A principal regulatory officer role be created within the department to develop a culture of being professional regulators.
- An independent external inspector-general of live animal exports to oversee the department in its role as the regulator.
- The department re-establish an animal welfare branch and place animal welfare at the centre of its regulatory activities.
- The department develop a system ensuring any issues and concerns raised by staff members about live exports are addressed in a transparent and timely manner.
- Australian government-accredited veterinarians and authorised officers be required to make a declaration each year of any personal conflict of interest.
- A principal regulatory officer role be created within the department to develop a culture of being professional regulators.
- Skills, resources and technology for effective regulation by the department were lacking.
- Concerns the department’s dual roles in promoting the trade and policing it could be contradictory, especially after the animal welfare branch was scrapped.
- The department rarely used significant powers to suspend or cancel an export licence and it took whistleblowers to prompt that action earlier in the year.
- A department staff member told the review there was little point in raising concerns, as they would not be well received or fairly considered.
- The department as the regulator has failed to prevent continuing animal welfare incidents.
- Parts of the live animal export industry have failed to adhere to the existing standards and give priority to animal welfare.
Source: Philip Moss’s Review of the Regulatory Capability and Culture of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in the Regulation of Live Animal Exports
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