The Federal Government’s Department of Agriculture has added additional conditions on future operations of some live exporters, following the release of six compliance investigation reports concerning the handling and welfare of Australian livestock exported to overseas markets.
The reports concern allegations of mistreatment, improper handling and unauthorised movement of animals in importing countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
In a statement issued this morning, the Department has determined that in some instances, handling and slaughter was not consistent with World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) standards, or that animals left approved facilities demonstrating that an exporter’s Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) arrangements were inadequate.
The Department has placed additional conditions on future consignments of affected exporters, including:
- restrictions on the use of specific supply chains to reduce opportunities for livestock to exit approved facilities
- increased supervision of movement of livestock through the supply chain to ensure handling standards are met
- increased reporting and monitoring obligations to enable for more regular stocktaking of livestock in approved supply chains
- additional security at feedlots and abattoirs to minimise the risk of theft of livestock.
The additional conditions are intended to promote compliance with the approved ESCAS, the department said.
Exporters had also implemented their own measures, including further training to improve animal handling when animals are being unloaded.
“The Department investigates all complaints to ensure that animal welfare outcomes are consistent with international standards and ESCAS guidelines,” the statement said.
“A strong livestock export industry is a significant contributor to the Australian economy and supports our regional communities. The Department will continue to work with the industry, and the public, and importing countries to ensure the trade continues and animal welfare standards are met,” it said.
- The investigation reports are available on the Department’s website, click here to view.
- Three reportable mortality incident reports have also been published, for which further information is available here.