As part of a major R&D project funded by the MLA/LiveCorp Live Export Program and matched Australian Government funding to develop key animal welfare indicators along the live export supply chain, the live export industry through Murdoch University has launched a survey to seek community and stakeholder views on the industry’s animal welfare performance.
Chief executive of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, Alison Penfold, said there were currently too few objective and transparent measures of the live export industry’s animal welfare performance.
“The two that are regularly called on – onboard shipping mortality rates and ESCAS compliance – do not provide a complete picture of the scale of industry effort and commitment to animal welfare along the supply chain,” she said.
Nor did they necessarily provide sufficient data coverage to support industry’s ability and commitment to target areas for improvement.
“This lack of credible data enables community attitudes to be shaped by a narrow prism of information, including the portrayal of industry as unconcerned about the treatment and welfare of livestock in its charge,” Ms Penfold said.
“By building a suite of indicators and measures of animal welfare along the live export supply chain, exporters will be better able to monitor, identify and action areas for improvement, track progress and benchmark performance, and increase industry transparency and evidence of the industry’s genuine commitment to animal welfare.
“In building these indicators, it is important to us to do so in consultation with the community and interested industry stakeholders.
“We know many people involved in the industry such as producers and those who are not participants but passionately interested have strong views about ways and means of improving the treatment and transportation of livestock.
“The survey is a means of engaging with interested parties to identify what people think about animal welfare in the live export industry and what people want in terms of welfare indicators for sheep, cattle and goats along the livestock export supply chain from farm gate to point of processing in destination markets.
“The survey focuses on potential welfare measures and indicators that are informative about an animal’s welfare, are important to stakeholders, are practical for assessing livestock along the supply chain and are economical to measure and quantify.
“With the information collected from the survey, we expect to have a set of indicators developed by the end of 2015 with the intention to commence implementation as soon as practical thereafter.”
The survey is now available at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1872406/Welfare-Indicators and is open until 10th May 2015.
Source: Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council