Farmers have welcome the Federal Government's continued support for the future of Australia's live export trade in Canberra today.
In a press release issued following the release of Farmer Review into live exports today, NFF President Jock Laurie said the Government had made a joint commitment with the Australian livestock industry to improve animal welfare standards in overseas markets, securing the long-term sustainability of the trade.
“Today, the Government has shown its commitment to working with industry to improve standards and support an industry that is incredibly important to northern Australia,” Mr Laurie said.
“The farmers and families who rely on the live export trade for their livelihoods – cattle and sheep producers, truck drivers, contractors, small businesses and many Indigenous Australians – have today been assured that this industry will continue.
“The Independent Review of Australia’s Livestock Export Trade, conducted by Bill Farmer, has made some key recommendations for how the trade can be improved in Australia, and the livestock industry is committed to continuing to work with the Government to address and enact these.
“The new regulatory framework, which has already been implemented in Indonesia, will now be rolled out across all other live export markets. The livestock industry has committed to implementing this within the agreed timeframe, in cooperation with the Australian Government and commercial supply chains.
“The industry has, in fact, already started this, working in other overseas markets to ensure that the framework will be rolled out by the end of 2012,” Mr Laurie said.
“We are pleased to note that the recommendations from the Farmer Review align closely with the recommendations made by the Industry Government Working Groups on live export – which shows that both the live sheep and cattle export industries are determined to actively drive the reforms.
“We have stressed before, and we will continue to stress that animal welfare is of utmost priority to Australia’s livestock industry. Australian farmers do not condone animal cruelty: it simply has no place in our farming systems.
“That is why we strongly support the recommendations from the Review that supply chains operate at, or above, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines for animal welfare and the independent audit of supply chain operations in overseas markets.
“And, we welcome the Minister’s commitment that in future, entire markets will not have to be closed to address isolated animal welfare issues. This is extremely welcome news for the producers and communities significantly affected by the live export suspension,” Mr Laurie said.
Vets support moves
In other stakeholder reaction this morning, the president of the Australian Veterinary Association Dr Barry Smyth said the AVA fully supported the comprehensive recommendations made in the Farmer review and the government’s commitment to their implementation.
“We welcome the government’s decision to adopt stunning before slaughter as the preferred method as this animal welfare issue is of paramount importance to vets and the Australian public.
“The AVA believes that the slaughter of livestock must be carried out in the most humane manner possible and that all livestock should be stunned prior to slaughter.
“While we welcome the announced reforms relating to AQIS-accredited vets, our recommendation was that all voyages should include government-funded vets to ensure the highest standards of animal health and welfare," Dr Smyth said.
“It is critical that all of these recommendations are now implemented as soon as possible to help ensure the welfare of Australian livestock at home and abroad,” he said.