The supply chain assurance framework recently implemented in Indonesia will be rolled out across all markets that receive Australian live cattle exports, the Federal Government has confirmed this morning.
An extensive independent review of Australia’s live export trade, commissioned by agriculture minister Joe Ludwig in the wake of damning footage showing Australian cattle being subjected to abuse in Indonesian abattoirs, has recommended that the animal welfare protections rolled out in Indonesia as a result now be extended to all markets.
Recommendations from the review by former Indonesian ambassador to Australia Bill Farmer were handed to Minister Ludwig for consideration on August 31 and have been released this morning.
As widely anticipated the review has not recommended that pre-slaughter stunning be incorporated as a minimum animal welfare requirement, as animal groups such as Animals Austalia and RSPCA have demanded.
Mr Farmer has also recommended improvements in domestic supply chains to ensure that Australian cattle for slaughter are treated at or above internationally accepted animal welfare standards.
At Parliament House this morning Senator Ludwig was joined by Mr Farmer and National Farmers Federation president Jock Laurie as he outlined the Government?s response to the Farmer review.
Minister Ludwig said the Government had accepted all recommendations made by the review and reports from the Cattle and Sheep Industry-Government Working Groups.
He said reforms will be implemented to supply chains on both a domestic and international level.
“The Government is committed to the live export industry and these reforms will provide stability for the industry and thousands of regional jobs,” Minister Ludwig said.
“The reports recommended adapting and implementing a supply chain assurance framework to all markets for the export of Australian livestock, as well as addressing a number of domestic welfare issues.
“The Australian Government has worked closely with the livestock industry and State and Territory governments to develop the new regulatory framework. We have engaged extensively with our trading partners during the development of the reforms and will continue to work with them.
“The new framework will be phased in and will be implemented in stages with 75 per cent of trade covered by February and for all trade by the end of 2012.”
Under the framework, Australian exporters will need to ensure:
- animals will be handled and processed at or better than the internationally accepted standards for animal welfare established by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE);
- they have control of the movement of animals within their supply chain;
- they can trace or account for animals through the supply chain; and
- they conduct independent verification and performance audits of their supply chains against these new requirements.
“The reforms give certainty to the community who made it clear they want better welfare standards, and certainty to industry and livestock producers who want an industry with a long term future,” Minister Ludwig said.
“Importantly, if animal welfare issues do arise in overseas markets in the future, the Australian Government will have the ability to address these issues without closing entire markets. This is important for delivering global food security.”
The Government will also further its commitment to increasing the use of stunning in live export markets by:
- Raising the inclusion of stunning in the OIE guidelines through the formal OIE process;
- Promoting the use of stunning including through work instructions and improved processes and stunning training through regional OIE forums;
- Pursuing, where possible, bilateral agreements which include stunning with our trading partners;
Supporting industry efforts to develop and implement voluntary codes of conduct that raise standards above OIE and which include stunning; and
Funding animal welfare improvements in importing countries with support from Australian industry.
Industry: Changes will cost $25m
Australian Live Export Council chief executive officer Lach MacKinnon told Beef Central this morning that the industry now had a clearer picture of the future and would now work hard to meet the requirements outlined in the new Government policy.
He said the costs involved in rolling out similar supply chain assurance programs as Indonesia in all of Australia's 29 markets would be be exhorbitant, and would likely to be in the order of at least $25 million for industry.
Mr MacKinnon said the industry would be seeking Government assistance to meet the costs of implementing the new measures across all markets.
He added that this morning's announcement represented a solid commitment by the Government to the future of fhe industry, and the exporters welcomed that certainty and support.
“We acknowledge the Australian Government’s continued support for the livestock export trade, and its commitment to securing the trade’s long-term sustainability for Australian producers and exporters through the implementation of a new regulatory framework," he said/
“Australian exporters are committed to delivering improvements in Australia and in overseas marketplaces in cooperation with the Australian Government and in-market governments and importers.
“We look forward to working through the detail of the review with Government. The cost to industry to implement these new regulations will be considerable and we will be looking to further discussion with Government about the funding allocation announced today.”
Time frames and Govt assistance
The Federal Government has outlined the folloing time frames for the rollout of new supply chain assurance programs in each market:
- Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Turkey by 29 February 2012 (75pc of trade)
- Israel, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Oman, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates by 31 August 2012 (99pc of trade)
- Brunei, Mauritius, Russia, Vietnam, other markets by 31 December 2012 (100pc of trade)
The Government has made an allocation of $10 million from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) contingency reserve to eligible countries that import Australian livestock in order to improve animal welfare outcomes. This fund will be spread across ODA eligible nations. The details of this assistance will be settled with eligible nations.
The Government has also made $5 million available to support exporters to deliver improved supply chains. This funding will be available on a 3:1 investment ratio. The full details of this program will be settled in consultation with industry.
To view the Farmer Review’s recommendations and the Government’s response click here
Australian Government response to findings of Industry Government Working Group (IGWG) on Live Cattle Exports
|IGWG for Live Cattle Exports findings||Government response|
|Finding 1 – The IGWG proposes that the regulatory framework in place for exports of livestock to Indonesia be applied to cattle and buffalo exports for feeding and slaughter to all markets.||
See Australian Government response to Farmer Review recommendation 10.
Finding 2 – The IGWG proposes that the schedule for transition to the new regulatory framework be based around:
sequencing of markets based on size of the trade to those markets;
See Australian Government response to Farmer Review recommendation 10.
Finding 3 – The IGWG proposes that in order to address immediate risks prior to the implementation of the new regulatory framework:
industry take action to prevent sales of animals through supply chains that involve facilities that are known to fall well below OIE requirements;
See Australian Government response to Farmer Review recommendations 10 and 11.