Young livestock competitors at the 582 agricultural shows around Australia are being encouraged to complete a free online course in animal welfare and handling standards offered by the peak body for agricultural shows.
The courses were designed for young exhibitors and judges of poultry, cattle, alpacas and sheep and are available on the Agricultural Shows Australia website.
The new lessons were developed in partnership with the Australian government's Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment.
ASA chairman Rob Wilson said the courses were an important educational initiative for schools, students and shows alike, and encouraged agriculture teachers to utilise them.
"It is the responsibility of shows, competitors and exhibitors to provide proper and humane care and treatment of animals," Dr Wilson said.
"We want to ensure the next generation are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills."
The courses provide training in the basics of animal handling and care, the principles of animal welfare and show ring ethics, safety and animal wellbeing.
"These are all critical aspects to support competitors and for community understanding at a time when consumers tend to know less and less about where their food and fibre originates," he said.
"We welcome all primary and secondary schools as well as agricultural colleges to use the courses in the classroom to complement the curriculum in the teaching of practical agricultural science courses."
The learnings and outcomes from the courses aim to enhance the future of the livestock industry through education, demonstration, and competition so competitors become more informed producers or employees.
The courses can be accessed for free online at agshowsaustralia.thinkific.com.
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