Seven projects focused on improving animal welfare in Australian livestock export markets have shared in $1.8 million in funding.
The projects, to be overseen by Meat & Livestock, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Australian Livestock Exporters Council, were announced in Darwin on Thursday by federal minister for agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon.
In a media release supporting the announcement he said the funding to improve animal welfare conditions in livestock export markets would help to assure a strong future for Australia’s cattle industry.
“Our regulatory framework, the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), puts animal welfare at the centre of the livestock export trade," Minister Fitzgibbon said.
“By working with exporters to improve and strengthen implementation of animal welfare standards in supply chains, the government is ensuring a strong future for the industry which contributes about $1 billion a year to Australia’s economy and supports 10,000 jobs in rural and regional communities.
“ESCAS has been the most significant reform the live export industry has ever seen and makes Australia’s system the best in the world in terms of animal welfare outcomes.
“Exporters are responsible for making sure animals in their supply chains are treated in line with internationally accepted animal welfare standards and that means working with supply chains overseas to improve their practices.
“To achieve these standards we need investment in Australia and overseas and this is a shared effort with industry.
“The seven projects announced today help ensure a bright future for our domestic industry by focusing on strengthening animal welfare outcomes in supply chains.
“For example, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) will receive $707,000 to expand delivery of its training on animal welfare standards in Australia’s overseas livestock export markets.
“Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) also have each been funded to deliver projects in Australia and overseas including the development of a training module for auditors and translation of standard operating procedures and other materials.”
The announcement was welcomed by Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon as a commitment in the industry’s future.
“Australia is the only country out of more than 100 that exports livestock that requires specific animal welfare conditions to be met,” Mr Snowdon said.
“Working with industry, ESCAS provides us with an opportunity to influence animal welfare conditions in other countries.
“Importantly this work is being done in cooperation with the industry. I often hear from Territory cattlemen and women that they are keenly interested in the welfare of their livestock
“This will contribute to the sustainability of the live animal export industry,” Mr Snowdon said.
The seven projects funded are:
- Translation of ESCAS Training Materials – $165,000 to Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to translate ESCAS training materials, including standard operating procedures, work instruction and compliance materials into Turkish, Malay, Russian, Farsi, Chinese and Vietnamese. The documents have already been published in English, Arabic and Bahasa;
- ESCAS Capacity Building Partnership Program – $550,000 to MLA to provide funding to upgrade existing ESCAS approved facilities and facilities yet to be approved in new and existing markets;
- ESCAS Auditor Training – $209,000 to MLA to deliver three training courses in Indonesia, South East Asia and the Middle East and North Africa for ESCAS auditors focusing on the OIE checklist and compliance requirements;
- Train the Trainer Program – $66,000 to MLA to increase the skills and knowledge of people within the supply chain that are responsible for ensuring that the ESCAS requirements are met by others at a lower operational level;
- OIE training to more countries – $707,000 to World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to expand the current countries to receive OIE animal welfare standards training to more countries that import Australian livestock. The OIE has successfully delivered training in Indonesia and the Philippines and has commenced training in Turkey;
- Social License to Operate Workshops – $63,300 to Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) to hold workshops to educate and inform exporters about the changed societal views on livestock production and issues around the export trade. The aim of the workshops is to improve industry understanding about the diverse range of community views on the trade, and improve industry’s ability to take a leadership role in public debate; and
- Australian Visitation Investment Program – $176,000 to MLA to identify key overseas stakeholders who would benefit from visiting Australia to promote the Australian industry’s compliance with international best practice.
Source: Department of Agriculture, Fisheres and Forestry