MLA shares welfare action plan

Countryman

Australia’s livestock export industry has launched its strategic vision for improving animal welfare outcomes in livestock export markets.

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) chairman Don Heatley said an important part of this vision was the development of comprehensive action plans for each export market, with the first plan to be implemented in Indonesia — Australia’s largest market for cattle exports.

“The industry is committing to only supply Australian livestock to facilities where supply chains meet or exceed the relevant sections of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) animal welfare standards, ” Mr Heatley said.

“Our deadline for meeting this goal is 2015, however, we will be working hard to achieve this as early as possible.”

Mr Heatley said it was an ambitious plan that would enable the industry to have tighter management of animal welfare outcomes in overseas markets.

“It will deliver a system to identify, monitor and address welfare requirements through the implementation of endorsed livestock welfare standards, ” he said.

MLA created this strategy after an independent review of Indonesian facilities conducted last year.

A key element of the Indonesian action plan includes implementing endorsed livestock welfare standards for ports, transport, feedlots and abattoirs to ensure the country is operating at, or above, OIE standards.

In addition, MLA will seek to establish an Indonesian animal welfare task force comprising a team of Australian livestock experts and 20 Indonesian animal welfare officers.

The role of the taskforce will be to conduct a stocktake of all facilities and locations processing Australian livestock.

After the stocktake, the team will work towards upgrading infrastructure and providing processing training to every facility handling Australian cattle.

“Our Indonesian trading partners are committed to the implementation of our plan, ” Mr Heatley said.

“This is a big step — Indonesia will be at the forefront of developing countries in adopting OIE standards.”

LiveCorp chief executive Cameron Hall said the strategy would enhance the industry’s investment in programs designed to improve animal welfare in overseas markets.

“It demonstrates that the industry is committed to implementing lasting animal welfare improvements in our key livestock export markets, ” Mr Hall said.

“We are the only country investing in animal welfare in our overseas markets.”

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