Coronavirus crisis: Federal Government takes Independent Observers off voyages

Zach RelphThe West Australian
The Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment has confirmed independent observers will not accompany livestock shipments in response to COVID-19.
Camera IconThe Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment has confirmed independent observers will not accompany livestock shipments in response to COVID-19. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian

Independent observers will not oversee livestock voyages from Australia amid the escalating coronavirus threat, the Federal animal welfare regulator has confirmed.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment said the decision to not have observers accompany live sheep and cattle shipments came in response to the mounting COVID-19 pandemic.

“(The department) has paused the deployment of independent observers on all livestock vessels due to the national and international response to COVID-19,” a department spokesman told Countryman.

“The department is monitoring the situation closely and will begin deploying independent observers when conditions allow.

“In the meantime, additional reporting requirements will be placed on some voyages.

“The department will advise exporters of these requirements on a consignment-by-consignment basis.”

Independent observer provide additional assurance on the effectiveness of exporter arrangements in managing animal welfare during live voyages.

An observer’s role is to monitor and report on activities in approved export programs to ensure animal health and welfare during export.

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