LPA-accredited producers are being reminded to have a copy of the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines on hand and be familiar with its contents prior to the changes to the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program taking effect from 1 October.
Animal welfare is one of two new requirements in the upgrade of Australia’s national on-farm red meat assurance program.
The two new elements – the other being biosecurity – have been incorporated into LPA.
MLA’s Integrity Systems Company said the changes are being incorporated to ensure Australian red meat continues to meet the expectations of consumers from more than 100 markets globally.
“LPA is our guarantee to customers that Australian red meat is produced humanely, ethically, safely and in a biosecure way. Integrating animal welfare requirements strengthens the promise made to customers and streamlines the process of record-keeping and reporting for livestock producers,” Integrity Systems Company CEO Dr Jane Weatherley said.
“The large majority of livestock producers are all well aware that livestock care is fundamental to the success and sustainability of every farm.
“The new requirements set up the minimum standard required under the LPA program. That means LPA-accredited producers must be able to demonstrate that on-farm systems have been implemented to ensure handling of livestock is consistent with the requirements of the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines (Standards & Guidelines).
“These Standards & Guidelines were developed by industry to harmonise and streamline livestock welfare legislation in Australia, resulting in improved welfare in a way that is practical for industry.
The Standards & Guidelines cover producers’ responsibilities in relation to:
- feed and water
- risk management in extreme weather, natural disasters, disease, injury and predation
- facilities and equipment
- handling and management
- breeding management
- humane euthanasia
- land transport.
“For cattle, they also cover castration, dehorning and spaying; calf-rearing systems; dairy management; and beef feedlots.
“For sheep, additional chapters address tail docking and castration; mulesing; and intensive sheep production systems.”
Dr Weatherley said the incorporation of animal welfare into LPA meant that LPA-accredited producers must have access to a current copy of the Standards & Guidelines for cattle, sheep and/or goats, as applicable, as a reference on every property and that people involved in the husbandry of livestock must be familiar with its content.
“People responsible for the management of livestock handling need to have successfully completed training in relation to the Standards & Guidelines through the LPA program’s online education and assessment course, LPA Learning, or equivalent training.
“Where livestock producers have staff, these staff need to be familiar with what’s in the Standards & Guidelines. It’s simply a case of talking them through what’s expected when caring for livestock, and making sure there is a copy of the Standards & Guidelines available,” she said.
Producers who have worked through the LPA Learning animal welfare module will be able to print a certificate of completion as evidence of their compliance from October 1.
From October 1 producers need to become familiar with the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines o have a copy on hand ensure staff are aware of what is involved.
Source: Integrity Systems Company.The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines documents can be downloaded from www.animalwelfarestandards.net.au.
Producers can access additional information at www.mla.com.au/animalwelfare.