Concerns new animal welfare office could bring more red tape

The Western Australian Farmers Federation (Inc.) (WAFarmers) supports Federal government initiatives to strengthen animal welfare standards in the live export industry.

WAFarmers Meat Section President Jeff Murray said the industry was dedicated to improving animal welfare standards.

“Animal welfare is an issue the industry takes very seriously and there have been quantifiable improvements to the supply chain,” Mr Murray said.

“Industry bodies are investing millions to train animal handlers and create real change in foreign markets.

“The public should not underestimate the massive reform which is underway across the livestock industry.”

Only time will reveal whether the creation of an Independent Inspector-General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports, announced by Federal Minister for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon today, will result in significant improvements to the system, Mr Murray said.

“It is difficult at this early stage to assess the merits or otherwise of the position,” Mr Murray said.

“Our priority is to streamline the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System, but it appears this will add another level of bureaucracy.

“Over time, it will become clear whether this is a token political gesture designed to appease those who are misinformed on the reality of live export standards, or whether it will result in significant improvements to the system.

“The WAFarmers Meat and Wool Councils have previously raised concerns that the creation of such an office will result in additional regulatory burdens, and while we respect Mr Fitzgibbon’s assurances that it will not, only time will tell.”

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