People wishing to provide their views and input on new draft animal welfare standards that will underpin the Livestock Global Assurance Program (LGAP) now have 60 days to have their say.
LGAP is described as international animal welfare conformity assessment program that aims to enhance the welfare and management of livestock and for Australian exporters.
The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) says the industry driven program will support the existing mandatory Government-controlled Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).
The Australian Government regulatory system introduced in 2011 places responsibility on Australian livestock exporters for exported livestock to the point of slaughter.
LGAP is the product of an ongoing research and development initiative of the Australian livestock export industry and is funded by Meat & Livestock Australia, LiveCorp and the Australian Government through matching R&D funding.
ALEC CEO Alison Penfold said over the past year exporters, in-market stakeholders and animal welfare and standards development professionals had been working towards developing LGAP and the welfare standards which are now open for comment.
“LGAP is about several things – for Australia improving delivery of ESCAS compliance through a welfare conformance program that is arm’s length from industry, independent of government and responds to concerns raised about the effectiveness of ESCAS.
“From an international perspective, it’s about providing a first of its kind pathway for others exporters, live exporting nations and other countries to improve their animal welfare practices and means of demonstrating their commitment to animal welfare to customers and consumers.”
Several organisations including the OIE, Standards Australia, Department of Agriculture & Water Resources, Cattle Council of Australia, Sheepmeat Council of Australia, Goat Industry Council of Australia, various national and state-based farmer/pastoralist bodies, Animals Australia, RSPCA, World Animal Protection and the ISO Secretariat on Animal Welfare have so far been invited to comment.
Dr Temple Grandin, who addressed the industry’s LIVEXchange Conference in Darwin last week, has also been provided with the draft Standards and invited to comment.
“ALEC encourages a broad range of interested parties to contribute to these standards designed to enhance the welfare and management of livestock that are exported and imported around the globe.”
The development of LGAP as an R&D project has been guided by an Industry-Government Consultative Committee and supported by significant consultation over an 18- month period with impacted stakeholders, government officials and interested parties.
Its development stems from the 2011 Farmer Report into the livestock export trade which recommended the industry develop a welfare assurance system.
“A Standards Committee, formed in line with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guidelines, will compile and consider all comments received on the official comment form before finalising the Standards,” Ms Penfold said.
The LGAP Standards draw on various international precedents covering animal welfare and management. Using guidance provided by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in relation to standards development, they convert the guidance in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code (OIE Code) into a set of verifiable international requirements.
These requirements cover the management of livestock such as cattle, buffalo, goats and sheep by operators and facilities from discharge to the point of slaughter. (LGAP standards do not cover food safety or biosecurity measures, such as quarantine requirements and on-farm preparation in Australia to onboard vessel or aircraft management which is covered by the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock.)
The LGAP Standards comprise the following documents:
- LGAP 1000 Livestock assurance – Fundamentals and vocabulary which describes the fundamentals of livestock assurance and specifies the vocabulary (terms and definitions) to be used across the LGAP Standards;
- LGAP 1001 Livestock assurance – Requirements for animal welfare and management which specifies requirements for animal welfare, health and management; the personnel of Operators and Facilities; infrastructure and equipment; livestock identification and movement; transport; and slaughter and processing;
- LGAP 1002 Livestock assurance – Requirements for the management system of Operators and Facilities which specifies requirements for the management system of Operators and Facilities that manage livestock, including leadership and responsibilities; processes; documented information, monitoring and records; management review and internal audit; nonconformities and corrective actions; and
- LGAP 1003 Livestock assurance –Requirements for Operator chain of custody which specifies the requirements for traceability and the chain of custody associated with livestock.
Source: ALEC. The comment period, which was formally declared open by LGAP Standards Committee independent chair David Kennedy this week, will be open until January 29, 2016. To download copies of the Draft LGAP Standards and the Comment Form, as well as instructions for submitting comments and further information about LGAP, visit: www.livestockglobalassurance.org