Live ex review report in

01 May, 2013 04:00 AM

THE federal government has accepted recommendations from an industry review into the handling of breeder livestock for export markets, making several improvements to cut red tape and improve animal welfare standards.

But a move to rule out lifetime traceability for exported breeder livestock has angered leading vocal animal rights group Animals Australia.

The recommendations came out of the Industry Government Implementation Group’s (IGIG) review into the export of breeder livestock.

The review was recommended by the Farmer Review into Australia’s livestock export trade which was implemented following the Gillard government’s June 2011 suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said the IGIG had ruled in line with the Farmer Review by finding it wasn’t “practical or reasonable” to impose arrangements on industry and government to ensure visibility of animal welfare for the entire life of exported breeder animals, which can spend more than 10 years in the importing country.

“Although this trade has its complexities, we are taking steps to ensure that breeder animals will be afforded an acceptable level of care,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Added exporter responsibilities will be put in place to ensure acceptable animal welfare outcomes will be maintained at the first breeder facility in the importing country.”

Minister Ludwig said the review looked at the current system and processes and identified improvements to better ensure the welfare of exported breeder livestock.

He said the breeder trade was an important part of Australian primary industry.

MLA and LiveCorp’s 2012 statistical report on the live export trade said 77,000 dairy breeder cows were exported for the year valued at $176.9 million and 37,000 beef breeder cattle were exported at $77.5 million, representing a volume increase of 110 per cent on 2011.

No statistics were recorded for breeder sheep volumes from the 2.8 million sheep exported in 2012 - but for 2011 the report says 12,500 breeder sheep were exported from Australia, valued at $3.2 million.

Minister Ludwig said the IGIG has identified ways to strengthen the trade’s future by enhancing the animal welfare conditions while managing the regulatory impact.

He said a big part of the review was improving how to certify livestock are legitimately being exported as breeders.

The recommendations also dealt with occasions where animals are exported as breeding livestock but were found to be unsuitable for breeding.

“When these animals are held in the same facilities as feeder animals, industry will now ensure processing in accordance with ESCAS regulations, including traceability and animal welfare requirements,” he said.

“This will help to manage the perceived risk that breeder exports could be used to avoid ESCAS requirements.”

However, Animals Australia accused the government of putting industry’s views and profits ahead of adequate animal welfare regulations, with the review failing to recommend measures to protect exported breeder animals from cruelty.

Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White said it was unacceptable that tens of thousands of Australian cattle, sheep, buffalo and goats will continue to be exported with no adequate safeguards in place and most to countries where there are no laws to protect them from cruelty.

Ms White - who played a central role in the government’s suspension by exposing animal cruelty in 12 Indonesian abattoirs via ABC’s Four Corners program - said the government was saying industry self regulation had ended.

But, “they are putting responsibility for the welfare of exported breeder animals straight back into the hands of industry”.

“In effect, the recommendations in this review provide no reassurance whatsoever that animals will be treated humanely,” she said.

“In addition, exporters will only need to assess the first facility that animals go to.

“There is nothing to stop these animals being moved to other facilities and no measures to protect them during transport and slaughter in the importing country.

“The lack of independent assessment and oversight remains a key flaw in any government proposals that purport to protect the welfare of animals.

“At the very least, Australia should set as a benchmark that animals exported for breeding and slaughter purposes can only go to countries that have enforceable animal protection laws in place.

“Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for the vast majority of animals exported from Australia.”

But Minister Ludwig said he was pleased to endorse the review’s recommendations that demonstrate “the Australian Government and industry’s determination to increase our standards for the welfare of exported breeder livestock, while also supporting the sustainability of the live export trade”.

Animals Australia’s response also referred to a controversial incident last year where Australian sheep and breeder dairy cows died on a Sheikh’s property in Qatar.

The incident resulted in a government investigation on the back of a complaint made by RSPCA Australia.

A ruling handed down by DAFF in March this year found no breaches of Australian regulations occurred in relation to the death and mistreatment of 60 Australian breeder cattle on the Al Waab farm in Qatar, with no regulatory action taken against the Australian livestock exporters that supplied the animals.

At the time, Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) CEO Alison Penfold said the Farmer review had noted that the breeder trade was complex and life-time traceability difficult to achieve.

She said ALEC didn’t support full life-time traceability for breeder cattle because they can be on-sold many times over that period.

But she said the industry was conscious of welfare requirements for breeder cattle, which are high value animals with longer life times, and worked with customers to ensure they were only exported to acceptable facilities.

Review recommendations

  • By August 2013 a review of the criteria used to confirm the legitimacy of breeding livestock consignments will be completed by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and industry;
  • By August 2013 Australia’s livestock export industry will establish industry-based arrangements to manage the risk associated with Australian breeder livestock moving into slaughter chains where they are held in an ESCAS facility.
  • By the end of 2013 DAFF will require a declaration from an exporter confirming due diligence has been undertaken to ensure acceptable animal welfare outcomes will be achieved at the first breeder facility in the importing country.
  • Industry and government will continue to pursue improvement in the implementation of international animal welfare standards – government through the OIE and export businesses through support to breeding facilities and through animal welfare research, development and extension materials.

    For further information on the DAFF report on breeder livestock exports, click here.

  • Date: Newest first | Oldest first


    1/05/2013 3:05:16 PM

    I am now sure that Lynn White's vendetta with live exporters has absolutely nothing to do with animal welfare, with her callous disregard for the poor animals her campaign successfully stranded here to perish in drought. The next 6 months should give ample opportunity for video footage of Ms White's grisly alternative to LE, and with lifetime traceability. Maybe we should collect the NLIS tags of cattle that perish as a result of her meddling and produce our own docu on why such activism should be banned. AA won't rescue any of these cattle, they are just a casualty of their war.
    2/05/2013 9:30:17 AM

    Spot on Gabriel.
    2/05/2013 10:58:40 AM

    Gabriel - if these cattle die of starvation in your possession you are guilty of animal cruelty and I hope you do film it so you can be charged. Don't try to blame everyone else - your cattle - your responsibility to feed them.
    2/05/2013 1:23:36 PM

    To say that Lyn White has nothing to do with animal welfare is clearly erroneous. You are trying to shoot the messanger. And one message is that we should not be subjecting animals to a blatantly cruel demise. I just wish people would read the evidence even on the DAFF website before they make accusations. And if you breed animals it is your job to feed, water and ge erally look after them not let them starve to death.
    Jen from the bush
    2/05/2013 2:14:10 PM

    Just more AA stupidity, Susan. The logistics of feeding a herd might be possible in little blockies around town but not possible on any large scale operations. Suggest you get a pen and paper and work out: 1. cost of such an exercise 2. storage of such an exercise and ongoing protection of such storage if not needed for years. and 3. transport of such an exercise. Make sure you factor things in such as writing a letter to protest to the white ants which would have a field day. Ignorance is bliss is it not?
    2/05/2013 3:11:25 PM

    Slowly for Susan No market No money No credit NO grass No water No hope And all because of your childish ignorance of the cycle of life in the north and your arrogant interference.
    Jen from the bush
    2/05/2013 4:47:18 PM

    Like Gov vet Gehan said, LE was and is needed to avoid the cruelty of mass starvation and mass death out in the bush. In case you missed something, death is usually cows and calves and they usually die over DAYS by going down and then crows picking their eyes and bums out and wild dogs(offspring of abandoned dogs by your mates), crows and fellow cows eat the downed animal. The only relief is a mercy bullet IF found among trillions of trees. The only other relief might be a 'quick' death ripped apart by said dogs after cow dies. Now which 'death' do you prefer?
    2/05/2013 9:43:58 PM

    the world is changing all the time. maybe gabriel its time to change too and get into something else. to put your cattle on the ships from hell is so disgusting. i and thousands of others do not class you as farmers. and would not give you a cent to help you out ever. you need to open your eyes.
    Cattle Advocate
    3/05/2013 8:32:08 AM

    Where are the 1000's who signed the petition to BLE against the advice of DAFF, in these cattle's hour of need? AA on LE in WA 'We won't rest until we give them the final shove into the dark pages of history where they belong.' AA bragged about how expensive they have made LE without a 2nd thought for these cattle or their carers who have committed no crime, unlike the standover merchants and 'unfortunate' death threats that now sees TE cattle worth $20. As a wise old bushman said.'The trouble with this country is we've got too many people telling us what to do who don't know themselves.'
    3/05/2013 9:56:42 AM

    Sasha, You are right, times are changing. There will come a time when people like you may be investigated as a national threat for plotting against the people of Australia and our economy. You may be able to find a few thousand supporters, but remember 20 million Australians don't support you.
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    light grey arrow
    Common sense Kate, how? GRDC does not have to be in Canberra to evaluate and distribute funds
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    We must do contracts for the product if we have kept OUR LAND CLEAN. Our Australian Farmers are
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    There are limits to productivity .Hard to be productive in a drought .You can't beat the fact