Everyone in the industry will be aware that the Federal Government has greatly tightened the rules that apply to livestock when they are overseas. The live export companies are now held very closely accountable for what happens to Australian livestock in foreign countries.
That accountability is real. It’s not just words. Simply losing track of just three steers is enough to get an exporter’s Indonesian feedlot into hot water.
With the overseas work pretty much done, the Government is moving on. They’ve agreed to start a review of various requirements that apply to the live export industry inside Australia.
Australian law already says that exporters are accountable for the welfare of stock from the moment they are selected. That doesn’t have to be at the feedlot. It can be all the way back to the paddock.
Those laws and related documents are meant to ensure that ramps are in good order, washouts are available, curfewing is well managed and so on.
Last year, President Beer and the ALRTA gave evidence in front of the Australian Senate and also to the Inquiry chaired by Bill Farmer. We suggested that the laws weren’t achieving the results that we’d all like to see. We declared that we’re worried that, if we can’t get animal welfare right inside Australia, the whole trade will be put at risk once again – and there could also be a knock-on to the rest of the livestock industry.
Very pleasingly, the Commonwealth Government has decided to include the ALRTA as a member of the Review Committee that it has just now established to start work on these ‘live export standards’.
Kevin Fechner is leading our representation on this committee and has already been to his first meeting. If you’ve got something Kevin should know about, get in touch via National Office.
… ‘fit to load’ at Freo now being examined
Last year, when we appeared to give evidence in front of the Farmer Inquiry, the ALRTA made a big issue of the ‘fit to load’ problems that keep cropping up at Fremantle, in WA.
Some stakeholders didn’t want to hear it. One bloke doing the cross-examination tried to tell us it wasn’t true. We stuck to our guns.
When Farmer brought down his report, he made a clear recommendation and important findings about Freo. He drew attention to what was happening and called for change. It was quite a victory.
This month, the Commonwealth Government has finally launched their investigation into how to fix the problems at Freo. They know that they have to ask themselves some hard questions, because some of the problems start very close to home.
Consultation meetings will be held in Perth very soon. LRTA-WA is handling our representation, and we’ll provide support from National Office.