The Government has announced a new independent position to review and audit Australia’s live animal export industry.
The Independent Inspector-General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports will be a statutory office holder, reporting directly to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The position will provide assurance and oversight of the role of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry as the regulator of live animal exports.
The Independent Inspector-General will audit and review the live animal export regulator across the supply chain, including our investigation and compliance procedures, adding an important layer of independence to the regulatory system to ensure it delivers animal welfare outcomes.
Many people in our community are angered by incidents of animal mistreatment of any kind. Footage aired in recent times from overseas processing centres is particularly distressing. The establishment of an Independent Inspector-General is a sensible extension of the measures already put in place by the Labor Government to promote animal welfare, including:
- The implementation of a world-leading animal welfare assurance system, known as the Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS);
- Funding a range of projects to strengthen the implementation and delivery of ESCAS both domestically and internationally, including workshops with exporters to build community attitudes; and
- Ensuring Australia has a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with new markets that take our livestock.
Australia has a world-leading animal welfare assurance system that covers the whole supply chain. In fact, we are the only country in the world that requires specific animal welfare conditions are met for exported livestock.
As is the case with any industry or area of government regulation, we can’t absolutely promise there will never be another incident of animal mistreatment. This has to be balanced with the fact that the live animal export industry supports 10,000 Australian jobs and thousands of Northern Australian farming families. Many of who, over the last decade, have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to prevent the incursion of noxious weeds and pests on their properties.
Without a market to sell their cattle, farmers in Northern Australia will be forced from their land, exposing Northern Australia as a haven for noxious weeds and pests. Sustainable farming in the far northern, remote regions of our country is in the national interest of all Australians.
It is hoped this additional measure will create an environment in which both the industry and animal welfare advocates respect the views and aspirations of one another and commit to working together to ensure the best possible outcomes for all concerned.
Further information on this issue may be found at: http://www.daff.gov.au/animal-plant-health/welfare/inspector-general-of-animal-welfare-and-live-animal-exports