Min­deroo re­jects cat­tle plan

Pilbara News - - News - Jenne Bram­mer

An­drew For­rest’s Min­deroo Group has dis­tanced it­self from an am­bi­tious plan by bil­lion­aire Gina Rine­hart to ex­port about 800,000 live cat­tle a year to China, de­scrib­ing it as short-sighted.

It came as WA Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan said the State would adopt tougher live­stock wel­fare stan­dards, bring­ing them into line with the rest of Aus­tralia.

It is un­der­stood Mrs Rine­hart has ap­proached the WA, North­ern Ter­ri­tory and Queens­land Gov­ern­ments seek­ing a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing be­fore tak­ing her cat­tle ex­port plan to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

It was re­ported last week some of the cat­tle would be sourced from Min­deroo’s pas­toral sta­tions, a claim re­jected by Min­deroo Group.

Min­deroo Group spokes­woman Ta­nia Hud­son said there had been no ap­proach from Mrs Rine­hart, and the com­pany had no in­ten­tion of sup­port­ing such a project.

Min­deroo, which owns Har­vey Beef, sup­ported lo­cal pro­cess­ing, she said.

“It is short-sighted to re­gard Aus­tralia as sim­ply a breed­ing ground when there is enor­mous po­ten­tial for eco­nomic and so­cial ben­e­fits to flow through­out re­gional Aus­tralia with lo­cal pro­cess­ing,” Ms Hud­son said.

“Pro­cess­ing is chal­leng­ing, but we are com­mit­ted to the sec­tor as em­ploy­ers and cus­tomers.”

New wel­fare stan­dards in­volve the McGowan Gov­ern­ment seek­ing an amend­ment to the An­i­mal Wel­fare Act 2002, which will pave the way for manda­tory and legally en­forced wel­fare stan­dards in WA, en­sur­ing a na­tion­ally con­sis­tent ap­proach.

Na­tional stan­dards and guide­lines for live­stock trans­port were en­dorsed in 2012, but WA and the ACT are the only ju­ris­dic­tions that have not yet reg­u­lated them.

The new WA stan­dards in­clude the use of pain re­lief when de-horn­ing cat­tle, lim­it­ing the time in which live­stock do not have ac­cess to wa­ter dur­ing trans­port, as­sess­ing and man­ag­ing the heat load risk in feed­lots and the muz­zling of work­ing dogs that ha­bit­u­ally bite.

In WA, many of these ac­tions are rec­om­mended rather than man­dated.

Ms MacTier­nan said the amend­ments to the Act were an im­por­tant step to­wards tak­ing an­i­mal wel­fare beyond just “pre­ven­tion of cru­elty” by in­tro­duc­ing en­force­able min­i­mum stan­dards for an­i­mal care and man­age­ment.

“Strong an­i­mal wel­fare and pro­duc­tiv­ity in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor go hand-in-hand,” she said.

“These stan­dards will strengthen the in­dus­try and pave the way for a sus­tain­able sec­tor.”

There would be more con­sul­ta­tion with live­stock in­dus­tries on the ap­proach to im­ple­ment­ing the stan­dards.

Gina Rine­hart has an am­bi­tious plan for a ma­jor ex­pan­sion of live cat­tle ex­ports to China.

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