Media Release

Animal welfare efforts gain $256,000 funding boost

27 November 2014

The Coalition Government is funding a new programme to enhance the knowledge of independent auditors who assess the treatment and handling of Australian livestock overseas.
 
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said managing the welfare of Australian livestock overseas continues to be a key issue for this government, and the training is designed to improve animal welfare outcomes whilst streamlining the paperwork.
 
“We are showing it is possible to improve outcomes while growing the trade and taking red tape out of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS),” Minister Joyce said.
 
“Last month I announced improvements to the auditor checklists that reduced unnecessary duplication and cut down on the time needed to complete audits.
 
“Reducing the length and complexity of the forms that auditors use and improving the education they receive about animal handling and slaughter processes ensures international animal welfare standards are met while cutting audit costs. We’re after good outcomes not piles of files.
 
“It is more advantageous to exporters, importers, and importantly the livestock, that auditors know how animal behaviour changes in response to different circumstances and what ESCAS requirements set out to achieve.”
 
To enhance the skills of independent auditors, the Coalition Government has provided Meat and Livestock Australia with $256,000 funding to deliver the training programme in South-East Asia and the Middle East.
Funding for the project comes from the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy and was included in the 2014-15 Budget.
 
“It’s important we keep a focus on generating better returns at the farmgate – and this is one way we can simplify the process for importers and exporters to drive improved farm profitability and productivity,” Minister Joyce said.
 
“The Coalition Government will always support the Australian farming families and communities that rely on a strong livestock export sector.
 
“In 2013-14 livestock exports were worth $1.2 billion to the Australian economy and underpinned some 10,000 jobs in rural and regional areas. This government wants to see that figure grow and is committed to decreasing red tape to help that happen, while improving market access and maintaining high animal welfare standards.”