The ongoing kerfuffle about the involvement of WWF in the development of Ausgraze is a distracting side show. A more useful consideration is whether or not self assessed best management practice tools such as Ausgraze will meet the need for internationally credible verification of environmental and animal welfare management. Sadly the answer is no.
For twelve or more years MLA has devised and supported a litter of now abandoned projects that have failed to meet the need for producers to improve environmental and animal welfare management in ways that enable their achievements to be recognised and rewarded. Ausgraze is out of the same litter and it will die by the wayside as soon as levy and tax funds dry up. MLA, the Fitzroy Basin Association and government departments should be held accountable for this continuing expenditure of levy and taxpayer funds on projects that clearly will not deliver the recognition that landholders need on domestic and international markets and from communities more broadly.
Time is running out for beef producers, in fact for all landholders, to grasp the opportunities presented by an increasing focus on environmental and animal welfare management. Unless we have decisive and soundly based leadership we face the risk is of having ineffective and costly environmental and animal welfare requirements imposed industry-by-industry by international and domestic market operatives and/or by governments.
CEO ALM Group