WAFarmers’ Livestock section made a submission on the “Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System” to Department of Agriculture on 15 July.
WAFarmers Meat Council supports the live export industry as an integral component of livestock production and marketing in Western Australia. WAFarmers is highly committed to positive animal welfare outcomes and supports the use of a monitoring system but believes a refined (less red tape) ESCAS will result in better outcomes for producers. Key points of the submission are highlighted below:
- ESCAS has been important for delivering animal welfare outcomes however; there have been impacts throughout the entire supply chain which have resulted in high compliance costs and unnecessary regulation.
- There has been a lack of access to markets through quotas being implemented; the lack of adoption of ESCAS in some countries; or ESCAS acting as a deterrent to trade to limit rather than assist with market access (for e.g. Saudi Arabia, a previously prosperous live-export trade).
- The current system allows “the big players to dominate the market”, while small players cannot access the same opportunities.
- ESCAS would be of greater value if auditing requirements were harmonized and simplified to deliver an efficient, competitive and sustainable industry into the future while still meeting community expectations that Australian animals will be cared for and handled according to Australian standards.
- A points-accreditation and or a QA system based on OIE standards could be more effective in delivering animal welfare outcomes and facilitating trade. For example, the system could use a facility-based audit rather than export-based, reducing and or eliminating the current auditing requirements.