FEDERAL agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce says the Coalition Government will scrap Labor's plan to develop an inspector general of animal welfare role as part of its response to governmance of the live export industry.
Speaking in Townsville just minutes ago during the opening stages of the livestock export sector’s LIVEXchange 2013 conference, Mr Joyce reaffirmed the Coalition’s commitment to a strong, profitable, humane and well-regulated livestock export sector.
He said it was time to recognise livestock exports as a legitimate trade.
“We all need to be realistic about the fact that livestock are raised for food,” he said.
“There are some groups and indeed some politicians who want to end the trade. Those people are entitled to that view, but it is not my view, nor is it the government’s view. I will not be swayed by people who want to ban live exports.”
Mr Joyce said the industry did have to manage the unique challenges of ensuring appropriate animal handling and welfare practices from paddock to plate.
“We have a regulatory system to deal with issues when they arise. That said, no system is perfect, and this industry needs to continue to manage the risks that occur when livestock are moved across borders.
“The current regulation of livestock exports is designed to minimise that risk. That’s why I’m confident that we do not need to establish an Inspector General of Animal Welfare (as proposed by the former Labor Government).”
“The Inspector General was a classic example of layer upon layer of bureaucracy without any practical outcome. The livestock export regulator was already, and remains, subject to appropriate oversight and review mechanisms. This is one bit of red tape we can do without,” Mr Joyce told the meeting.
He said he was heartened by comments made by the industry in recent weeks about its commitment to animal welfare, including the sanctioning of exporters for non-compliance with the animal welfare standards.
“No one supports animal cruelty, least of all farmers and all those reliant on the trade. But equally no one wants to see our farmers, exporters and others involved in rural industries go under if there is no market for their livestock,” Mr Joyce said.
- Beef Central’s publisher James Nason is attending the livex conference in Townsville, and will file reports later today and tomorrow.