The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources says two exporters have been temporarily suspended from supplying cattle to Vietnam, in the wake of the recent cruelty allegations in Vietnam.
In a media release issued on Friday the Department said that upon investigating serious allegations of animal cruelty in Vietnam, all exporters were immediately directed to account for all animals in their supply chains, with strict supervision and handling conditions applied.
As a result of the ongoing investigation, the department said it has now suspended 21 facilities in Vietnam, including three feedlots and 18 abattoirs.
The department is conducting exporter control and traceability audits for all eight exporters with supply chains in Vietnam, due to be finalised by the end of July.
As a result of these audits to date, two exporters have been directed to cease supply to the Vietnam market until effective measures have been put in place to address animal control, traceability and verification processes.
Additional conditions have also been placed on four exporters as a result of these ongoing audits, including:
- increased reporting requirements;
- additional monitoring and supervision by in-market staff to ensure all animals in their supply chain are handled in accordance with the standards required by the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).
The Department has not revealed the identity of the two suspended and four sanctioned exporters involved.
“Any further regulatory action to address issues identified through these audits will be determined once audit findings for each exporter are completed,” the Department’s statement said.
“Through ESCAS, every incident reported by industry, third parties or discovered through audit is investigated.
“Exporters are required to address all issues identified by correcting the problems found or by removing non-compliant facilities from their supply chain.”
Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council statement:
“The decision by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to direct two Australian livestock exporters to cease supply to Vietnam until effective measures have been put in place to address animal control, traceability and verification processes is a clear demonstration of the Department’s regulatory oversight and powers of control over the exporters activities.
The suspension of an exporters’ ESCAS supply chain is a serious and disruptive regulatory action and can have a significant commercial impact on business. Exporters’ businesses have undergone revolutionary change and expansion of responsibilities as a result of the implementation of ESCAS and the services required to deliver ‘line of sight” oversight of animal welfare in cooperation with customers.
As ALEC has stated on a number of previous occasions, exporters take their regulatory requirements very seriously and if individual exporters, feedlot or abattoir systems have faltered in detecting in-market breaches, then they must be sanctioned in a manner that effectively deals with any problems and provides a pathway for improvement. ALEC trusts that the Department will move quickly to reinstate market access as soon as the affected exporters can demonstrate effective control, traceability and verification processes.
ALEC will continue to engage with the Department to ensure that any issues arising from the Departmental audits of exporters’ implementation of the industry’s control and traceability standards are well understood and any issues arising are analysed and addressed.”
Source: DAWR. ALEC