WITH agricultural show season in full swing in some parts of Australia, young livestock competitors at the 582 agricultural shows held across the country each year are being encouraged to complete a free online course in animal welfare and handling standards.
The course is being offered by the peak body for the nation’s agricultural shows, Agricultural Shows Australia.
The courses are designed for young exhibitors and judges of stud and prime cattle, sheep and alpacas, and have been developed in partnership with the Federal Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment.
Agricultural Show Australia chairman Dr Rob Wilson said the courses were an important educational initiative for schools, students and shows alike, and he encouraged students and agriculture teachers alike to utilise them.
“It is the responsibility of shows, competitors and exhibitors to provide proper and humane care and treatment of animals, and we want to ensure the next generation are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills,” Dr Wilson said.
The courses provide training in the basics of animal handling and care, the principles of animal welfare and show ring ethics, safety and animal wellbeing.
“These are all critical aspects to support competitors and for community understanding at a time when consumers tend to know less and less about where their food and fibre originates,” Dr Wilson said.
“We welcome all primary and secondary schools as well as agricultural colleges to use the courses in the classroom to complement the curriculum in the teaching of practical agricultural science courses.”
The learnings and outcomes from the courses would enhance the future of the livestock industry through education, demonstration, and competition so that the competitors become more informed producers or employees in the agriculture or food industries, Dr Wilson said.
The free online courses can be accessed here.