Pain relief mandate moving slowly closer

Pain relief mandate moving slowly closer


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VFF Livestock Group president Leonard Vallance.

VFF Livestock Group president Leonard Vallance.

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The government is committed to change as part of a review of animal cruelty prevention legislation.

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A rising wave of support for change has seen the mandatory use of pain relief when conducting mulesing operations move closer to reality.

The news in Victoria that pain relief at mulesing was firmly on the agenda was given a further fillip when the NSW Farmers annual conference passed a motion supporting pain relief at mulesing recently.

VFF Livestock Group president Leonard Vallance said the push to have pain relief mandated was gathering momentum.

Mr Vallance said the group had discussed what changes the government wanted to bring in and the industry's views.

Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said the government was meeting and consulting with groups such as the VFF on a review of the Protection of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA).

Ms Symes said it was a good conversation to be having with the consultation to start in August.

"There is appetite for change and that's certainly something we are committed to doing," she said.

Mr Vallance said there had been a lot of pressure about pain relief.

"We are better off to be in there having a reasonable conversation with the legislators rather than being told at some later stage that this is what you've got [to do]," he said.

"We have had no adverse feedback in Victoria on this decision."

Mr Vallance said mandatory pain relief was already WoolProducers Australia and Sheep Producers Australia's policy.

"It's common sense and that's the way the industry is going," he said.

"There is no viable alternative to mulesing to suit the whole industry."

He said there wasn't the equipment at the moment to conduct pain relief for castration and tail docking in a commercial way.

"The systems were not adequate at this stage," he said.

Meat & Livestock Australia community engagement manager Jacqueline Baptista said the VFF's message was "absolutely the right way to go".

"I think we will see other states follow fairly quickly, I think most of the community thinks pain relief is installed in agricultural practices anyway," Ms Baptista said.

"We are all about continuous improvement, putting one foot in front of the other."

She said there were good examples of what can happen when an industry decided to change.

Most producers were aware of the challenges facing the industry and most were proactive in meeting them.

"I would love to see momentum grow nationally in the same field, proactive producers taking up practices on-farm to make continuous improvements themselves," she said.

"We can see real change in the next generation coming through."

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