WAFarmers acknowledges the release of the Heat Stress Risk Assessment Report (HSRA) by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources today.
WAFarmers President Tony York said WAFarmers has been clear from the start that action must be taken to ensure the well-being of all animals going for live exports.
“We have stressed that science must underpin any new changes and that more time is needed to establish new welfare indicators and this initial report is the first step in that process,” Mr York said.
“WAFarmers are concerned that some of the heat stress modelling assumptions used in the report may have skewed some of the findings.
“More work now needs to be done before the industry can accept any final recommendations.
“Since April, a whole raft of new conditions has been put in place as a result of the McCarthy and Moss Reviews and these new measures have proven effective as reported by independent Observer reports.
“The trade will also be implementing new standards as a result of the review into the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL), which will complement the welfare improvements already in place.
“WAFarmers believes these measures have proven sufficient to allow the trade to continue whilst further welfare assessments are conducted.
“It is clear that the draft HSRA report suggestions will have significant impacts on, not only the live sheep trade, but will have flow on effects to other industries.
“The HSRA report is the first step in the regulatory process. The next step is the completion of a Risk Impact Statement (RIS) to support the final HSRA report due for release around mid-2019.
“Now that the consultation period has commenced, WAFarmers will continue to engage with the trade to analyse the outcomes of this initial HSRA report and will be providing a comprehensive response in late January.
“Our response will advocate in the best interests of WA sheep producers and the animals they produce.
“It is important to get these parameters right, as once these are ascertained, the industry can employ new technologies to ensure the continuation of the trade for all livestock, given the importance of multi-species shipments.”