A fo­cus on an­i­mal wel­fare

Ex­porters play vi­tal role in im­prov­ing stan­dards

The Western Star - - RURAL WEEKLY -

AUS­TRALIAN live­stock ex­porters and their in-coun­try part­ners have been proac­tive in Mid­dle East and South-East Asian markets dur­ing Fes­ti­val of the Sac­ri­fice cel­e­bra­tions in the past week, off­set­ting the risk of poor an­i­mal wel­fare and sup­ply chain breaches.

Aus­tralian Live­stock Ex­porters’ Coun­cil CEO, Si­mon West­away, said while Aus­tralian ex­porters had played a sig­nif­i­cant role in achiev­ing fur­ther progress in fes­ti­val markets this year, they had also iden­ti­fied some in­stances of Ex­porter Sup­ply Chain As­sur­ance Sys­tem (ESCAS) non-com­pli­ance and had re­ported a num­ber of breaches to the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Wa­ter Re­sources (DAWR).

“Where any Aus­tralian sheep were de­tected out­side of ap­proved fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing in coun­tries like Malaysia, Oman and Kuwait, our ex­porters have pro-ac­tively re­ported the breaches to the reg­u­la­tor and out­lined the im­me­di­ate steps taken, where pos­si­ble, to re­turn an­i­mals to ap­proved sup­ply chains,” Mr West­away said.

Un­der ESCAS, Aus­tralian live­stock must not be sold out­side of ap­proved sup­ply chains and can­not be pur­chased for home slaugh­ter or for slaugh­ter at fa­cil­i­ties that have not been ap­proved as meet­ing in­ter­na­tional an­i­mal wel­fare stan­dards. Special con­trol sys­tems were im­ple­mented for Aus­tralian sheep in markets cel­e­brat­ing the re­li­gious hol­i­day, over and above ESCAS re­quire­ments.

“Stream­lined sup­ply chains, car­case-only sales and the sup­ply of smaller vol­umes to many markets has re­duced the risk of over­sup­ply and demon­strates that Aus­tralian ex­porters’ high­est pri­or­i­ties are con­trol, trace­abil­ity and the wel­fare of live­stock,” Mr West­away said.

“The con­tin­ual im­prove­ment Aus­tralian in­dus­try is achiev­ing is hard-earned and re­flects a gen­uine de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­alise our ‘no fear, no pain’ an­i­mal wel­fare ob­jec­tive.”

Mr West­away said proac­tive re­port­ing of breaches by ex­porters was up­hold­ing the in­tegrity of ESCAS and em­bed­ding ac­count­abil­ity into Aus­tralia’s $230 mil­lion-plus live sheep trade. He pointed to the re­lease this week of the lat­est DAWR Reg­u­la­tory Per­for­mance Re­port, as timely ev­i­dence of in­dus­try trans­parency.

“Poor wel­fare out­comes are never ac­cept­able and the rel­e­vant pow­ers reg­u­lat­ing Aus­tralia’s live­stock ex­port in­dus­try should be ex­er­cised in re­sponse to any de­lib­er­ate wel­fare breaches,” Mr West­away said.

“ALEC wel­comes the ex­tra scru­tiny on Aus­tralia’s live­stock ex­port sup­ply chains dur­ing th­ese busy fes­ti­val pe­ri­ods be­cause we do not shy away from the risks in­her­ent dur­ing th­ese chal­leng­ing peak de­mand pe­ri­ods.

“Aus­tralia’s sheep­meat in­dus­try should be proud of its role, es­pe­cially dur­ing the Fes­ti­val of the Sac­ri­fice, in de­liv­er­ing high-qual­ity, healthy Aus­tralian sheep to our over­seas cus­tomers in a way that com­bines long-stand­ing cul­tural tra­di­tions with the world’s best con­trol, trace­abil­ity and wel­fare stan­dards.”

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

A TIME TO RE­FLECT: Aus­tralian live­stock ex­porters have been proac­tive in Mid­dle East and South-East Asian markets dur­ing Fes­ti­val of the Sac­ri­fice cel­e­bra­tions.

Aus­tralian Live­stock Ex­porters’ Coun­cil CEO Si­mon West­away.

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