NEW standards for handling livestock were introduced to Parliament last week which will provide greater certainty for animal welfare, biosecurity and traceability standards in Victoria.
The bill will be the vehicle through which Victoria recognises national standards that are being developed in this area, Hugh Miller, Department of Primary Industries executive director biosecurity Victoria and chief veterinary officer said
“The national agreement requires all livestock industries to be consulted and agreed with; this is simply how we’ve approached underpinning those standards,” Dr Miller said.
The process would also ensure the new standards were introduced with very little burden on people in the industry, he said.
And with most industries in Victoria having embraced quality assurance programs which are independently audited and have a lot of integrity, Dr Miller said people already involved would “in a sense get a free kick”.
“For the mainstream people in the livestock industry, these standards reflect the good practices they’re already doing.
“In that sense, the introduction of the standards doesn’t signal radical change in the industry but simply a much more transparent way the industry can demonstrate it had standards and they are being adhered too.”
Introduced last week by Agriculture Minister Joe Helper, it will most likely be debated in the New Year and passed in February, Dr Miller said.
Quality assurance national standards were introduced earlier this year outlining minimum requirements for the transport of livestock, such as resting and transporting livestock, proper preparation, truck maintenance and flooring.
Introducing the Act, Mr Helper said Victoria was moving to create uniform welfare standards which reflected changing market, customer and community expectations and the need to develop a nationally consistent standard for handling livestock.
“Operators will have a choice in how they demonstrate their compliance; those who don’t participate in an approved program will still be able to demonstrate that they meet the standards through inspection and auditing by the Department of Primary Industries,” he said.
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