ALP’s animal welfare initiatives are not enough for farmers
PROPOSED animal welfare policy initiatives announced by the Australian Labor Party have failed to meet the expectations of wool producers, WoolProducers Australia said last week.
Last week, the ALP said an Albanian Labor government would provide $1 million a year to create the office of the Independent Animal Welfare Inspector General to increase accountability and transparency in reporting animal welfare violations.
It would also work with state and territory governments and allocate $5 million over four years to renew the animal welfare strategy. Statement from ALP leader Anthony Albanese said the Inspector General for Animal Welfare will strengthen reporting to Parliament on new and emerging export markets, export and mortalities numbers, allegations breaches of animal welfare standards and the investigations undertaken, and any penalties or other action taken in the event of breaches of Australian animal welfare standards. The ALP said in its statement that currently only live export mortalities and actions taken are reported; however, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Environment is already reporting violations of ESCAS and independent travel observer reports. There is also already an Inspector General for Live Animal Exports whose primary role is animal welfare.
The party said it would phase out exports of live sheep in consultation with industry and the Western Australian government, including considering impacts across the industry’s value chain. But he remains committed to banning the export trade in northern summer live sheep based on the scientific evidence included in the draft report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Environment.
Labor said it also supports value addition to create more employment opportunities.
“We don’t think it’s appropriate to set a deadline for the industry.
“Labour will not ban livestock exports,” the statement said.
“Scientific advice does not support a ban on livestock exports as long as strict animal welfare standards are in place.”
ALP failed to engage – WPA
However, WoolProducers Australia said ALP Shadow Agriculture Minister Julie Collins and her ALP colleagues had failed to engage and recognize the work of livestock industries before the announcement. The tech producer body says the ALP announcement fails to recognize the industry’s high level of investment in improving animal health and welfare by proposing an export ban of live sheep and unnecessary duplication through the creation of the office of the Independent Inspector General for Animal Welfare. .
WoolProducers chairman Ed Storey said it was disappointing that Ms Collins did not comment on Labor’s animal welfare policy during the farm leaders’ debate at the National Press Club three weeks ago, promising only that the industry would be happy.
“Today’s announcement is well below our expectations.
“It is frustrating that the ALP apparently found time to engage with animal rights groups prior to today’s announcement, while failing to engage with industry,” said said Mr Storey.
WoolProducers said the Animal Welfare Inspector General’s proposed reporting functions to Parliament are no more than a $1 million a year duplication of pre-existing industry and government reporting processes.
“It is alarming that the major reporting duties of the proposed Inspector General are based on negative measures, a clear indication of the underlying intent of this policy announcement.
“If the ALP took the time to engage with industry, it would appreciate the significant investment of producer levies and the work being undertaken through industry-government partnerships to continually improve animal welfare,” Mr Storey said.
“We are disappointed that Labor seems to have listened to a squeamish minority who refuse to believe that the farming industries are investing in their animals in any way.
“We can only hope that if Labor wins the next election, the promised ‘industry consultation’ will come through,” he said.
WoolProducers said national animal welfare regulations are set by the respective state and territory governments, not the federal government, and although the WPA has supported the alignment of animal welfare standards where possible, there is a need to have animal welfare regulatory frameworks in place to support lifetime animal welfare outcomes within the context of the climatic conditions and production systems of the respective jurisdictions.
The WPA said the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for sheep were finalized in consultation with industry, government and animal welfare groups in 2016 and supported the development of the legislation and related compliance and enforcement activities since then.
“I would like to see greater alignment between states and territories on a range of issues, but this policy announcement appears to show a complete lack of understanding of the challenges that come with our federated system of government.
“We have encountered difficulties in cross-border management of natural disasters, the provision of health and education services and, more recently, in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mr Storey said.
“To think that spending $5 million over four years can magically alleviate these animal welfare challenges is a pipe dream.”
ALP listening to a small uninformed minority – NFF
National Farmers Federation chair Fiona Simson also said Labor was not ready to hear about the monumental improvements in the live sheep export sector and the industry’s importance to producers. , communities and Australia’s trading partners.
“They continue to be beholden to a small, misinformed minority of radicals who invade farms and steal animals.”
Ms Simson said Australia’s live sheep exports needed to fundamentally improve and they did.
“Industry initiatives, regulatory reviews and research have all contributed to improved animal welfare outcomes.
“Sheep shipments to the Middle East were stopped by regulations during the hottest parts of the Northern Hemisphere summer,” she said.
“Disappointingly, instead of getting the facts and listening and working with farmers and industry, Labor has copied and pasted its reckless policy of 2019 without any consideration for the context of 2022.
“This policy is a blow to farmers and communities that depend on sheep exports,” Ms Simson said.
“It sends shivers down the spine of every farmer about the precedent he is setting. If live sheep exports can be canceled so easily, what’s next? ” she says.
“It is industry that Labor should listen to when it comes to farm animal welfare, not urban minority radicals.”
“NFF’s discussions to date with Chief Anthony Albanese and Agriculture Spokesperson Julie Collins on the big issues facing agriculture unfortunately seem likely to have fallen on deaf ears,” said Ms. Simson.
“We invite Mr Albanese, Ms Collins and any other member of the Labor team to visit a farm and see first hand how farmers operate.
“So far there have been Labor Party crickets on climate and sustainability and its intersection with agriculture; water management and a genuine regional development plan.