Six compliance investigations into allegations of mistreatment, improper handling and unauthorised movement of Australian livestock in importing countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, have been released by the Department of Agriculture.
Deputy Secretary at the Department, Phillip Glyde said the investigations found a range of weaknesses in the system, from animals being moved outside the supply chain, through to animal welfare practises and handling that were not consistent with international animal welfare standards.
He said one of the reports concerned a particularly tragic event where around 4,000 animals died during extremely hot weather on a particular day during the voyage.
System has weaknesses
“As a result of that experience, the Department required additional conditions for the exporter’s next consignment. This meant all of the sheep had an additional 10 per cent space, and that voyage was completed without incident,” Mr Glyde said.
He said the Department had placed additional conditions on all future consignments of the affected exporters.
“These include restrictions on the use of specific supply chains to reduce opportunities for livestock to be taken from approved facilities; increased supervision of movement of livestock through the supply chain to ensure handling standards are met and increased reporting and monitoring obligations,” he said.
He said the Department also wanted additional security at feedlots and abattoirs to minimise the risk of theft of livestock.
“The additional conditions are intended to promote compliance with the approved Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS),” Mr Glyde said.
“The system is designed to make sure we have continuous improvement in animal welfare outcomes for Australian animals. We’re only one of 100 countries that export animals, but we’re the only one that has these animal welfare requirements.”
He said exporters had also implemented their own measures, including further training to improve animal handling when animals were being unloaded.
“The Department will continue to work with the industry, the public, and importing countries to ensure the trade continues and animal welfare standards are met,” Mr Glyde said.
The investigation reports are available at this PS News link.