In my role as Cattle Council CEO, I get out of the confines of my office in Canberra and get my feet on the ground as much as possible.
Through my travels, one of the things I have noticed is periodic evidence of breaches of the Cattle Welfare Standards.
In light of recent animal health and welfare concerns, I write to cattle producers everywhere to remind them that they have a responsibility to meet industry’s and consumers' expectations surrounding animal health and welfare.
Your responsibility to operate under the Cattle Welfare Standards is legislated by State and Territory governments, meaning prosecution for breaches is a potential reality.
Specifically let’s focus on the ‘Fit to Load’ and Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL).
Too often there are breaches of the standards in saleyards right across Australia.
Producers are responsible for the livestock they are sending for sale; this refers especially to their health and welfare.
If your livestock meet any of the following criteria, they cannot be transported, it’s a legislated offense.
Animal’s must be able to bear weight on all legs, must not be dehydrated and must not be suffering from visible distress of injury, including ingrown horns, cancers, blindness in both eyes, ruptured pizzles.
Likewise, producers supplying live export markets must meet the conditions prescribed in ASEL in addition to the fit to load guide.
These include but are not limited to a live weight between 200kg and 650kg, a specific body condition score depending on the class of livestock and, if horned, must be no greater then 12cm and must be tipped.
It is of vital importance that producers educate themselves about the Standards they are required to meet when consigning livestock.
Individual producers have a responsibility to farming communities across Australia to continue strengthening our reputation as professional custodians of the land and livestock.
Remember, saleyards are one of the windows through which passers-by see our industry and how we treat our animals.
Please don’t be the person responsible for bringing our industry into disrepute.
Producers can find a full list of their obligations for the transport of livestock through the, Is it fit to load? Guide on the Meat and Livestock Australia and Cattle Council of Australia websites.
- Cattle Council of Australia CEO Margo Andrae is one of The Land’s new columnists talking all things livestock.