Farmer report: track every animal

Last weekend the Sunday Age reported that the Independent Review of Australia’s live export trade has formally recommended that full ‘traceability’ should be extended to all live export markets for all species of animal. (This is what we’ve already predicted in the ALRTA News.)

Bill Farmer’s final report and recommendations are still being reviewed by the Government. It has not been officially and publicly released.

The Sunday Age has revealed that government officials have already begun briefing foreign diplomats on the expected new requirements, particularly in order to minimise adverse reactions in Australia’s $300-million-a-year live sheep export markets.

More than 2.9 million sheep were sent offshore in 2010, with 70 per cent going to Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, and a smaller share to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

Bill Farmer’s understood to have concluded that, by tracing every animal’s movement right to the point of slaughter, exporters will be able to stop Australian animals being butchered at sub-standard abattoirs or, particularly, being taken for home slaughter in some of these countries.

It will require electronic tags in every animal (something that’s available through the National Livestock Identification Scheme) and also some scanning technology in overseas facilities.

The Sunday Age quotes Lach McKinnon from the Australian Livestock Exporters Council (ALEC) as saying “The trade will come under pressure … but we are going to have to work with it,” and the Sheepmeat Council’s chief executive, Ron Cullen, is quoted as saying the new tracing requirement “… is a cost we have to wear to ensure the future of the industry.”

… WA joins eNLIS for sheep

In a well timed move, Farran Dixon, the Brands Registrar inside WA’s Department of Agriculture and Food has been on the ABC, announcing that sheep and goat producers in Western Australia will now be required to electronically record any stock movements onto their properties.

I’m told the requirement brings WA into line with the rest of the country under the electronic module of the National Livestock Identification System.

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