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MEDIA RELEASE

Wellard supports animal welfare in Vietnam

11 March 2015

Wellard Rural Exports supports efforts by the Australian industry to address a number of Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) issues, so that they do not undermine the continued operation of facilities that conduct their operations in accordance with ESCAS and proper animal welfare standards.

Wellard COO Fred Troncone said exporters to Vietnam need to work closely with their clients to assist  with the identification of any breaches or potential breaches.

“ESCAS is a supply chain-based system where underperforming supply chains are removed. This is exactly how the system was designed to work,” he said.

All cattle supplied by Wellard to Vietnam are processed using pre-slaughter stunning, and many of the abattoirs are new abattoirs constructed specifically to meet Australian standards.

Last month Wellard suspended three abattoirs in one region in Vietnam from its supply chain. The suspension was a proactive and pragmatic decision and was not in response to any alleged, perceived or known breaches of the Company’s ESCAS (see press release 27 February 2015). The importer who supplied the abattoirs agreed with the Company’s decision and immediately stopped the supply Wellard cattle to the nominated abattoirs.

Mr Troncone said the suspension was for risk management purposes.

“Some nearby abattoirs were not meeting the standards we require and it was important that there was no confusion about which abattoirs belonged to our supply chain and also to demonstrate our seriousness about absolute ESCAS compliance,” Mr Troncone said.

“Once Wellard senior management visited each abattoir and confirmed they were meeting acceptable standards, the suspension was lifted.”

This action is generally consistent with previous actions by Wellard to remove or suspend the supply of livestock to particular supply chains when compliance was at high risk.

In July last year Wellard also sought to improve animal welfare practices outside of the Company’s supply chain, by providing around 100 captive bolt stunners and charges to 50 abattoirs in Vietnam to help improve animal welfare and slaughtering techniques for cattle from all nations at the nominated abattoirs.

The abattoirs, which were not part of Wellard’s Vietnamese supply chain and mainly processed local Vietnamese cattle, used outdated slaughter practices which created welfare and safety risks to both animals and abattoir workers.

“This donation by Wellard was an investment in cultural change and immediate improvement in the slaughter techniques of these abattoirs in Vietnam so that animal welfare of local Vietnamese cattle was improved, this donation is also our way of contributing to a market which is supporting Australian producers by buying quality Australian livestock said Mr Troncone.”

Mr Troncone said Wellard was pleased that its Vietnamese supply chain complied with the RSPCA operational requirements “that must be in place to achieve good animal welfare outcomes in slaughter facilities”.

RSPCA requirement

Wellard Vietnam abattoir requirement

Enforceable animal welfare legislation

Supply chains accredited under Australian ESCAS and therefore OIE compliant

A skilled, trained and permanent workforce

Regular training seminar for all supply chain staff required

Standard Operating Procedures implemented

Skilled training team must be present during the first week’s slaughter for newly approved facilities. This ensures that correct processes are properly embedded.

Requirement for pre-slaughter stunning

2x stunners required in every facility (one as a primary source, one as back-up if operational issues occur with primary stunner)

Regular auditing against measurable animal welfare standards

Animal Welfare Officers present in every abattoir

Weekly snap inspections by roving Senior Animal Welfare Officer

CCTV installed for continuous monitoring

Independent audits conducted

 

“Wellard is focussed on continual improvement of animal welfare outcomes throughout the world, and our Vietnamese importer is 100 per cent supportive and has made a considerable investment to ensure cattle are processed to the standards Australia requires,” Mr Troncone said.

 

For further information please contact:

Cameron Morse

Phone: + 61 8 9485 8888

Mobile: +61 (0) 433 886 871

Website: www.wellard.com.au

 

Background – Wellard

Wellard is a world leader in the production and distribution of livestock and grain.

Its two largest subsidiaries are Wellard Rural Exports, Australia’s largest livestock exporter and ship owner, and Wellard Agri, a large mixed farming land owner and operator specialising in the production of grains, legumes and livestock.

Wellard Rural Exports has supplied quality dairy and beef cattle and sheep and goats to the world for more than 30 years, and its investment in the live export industry is without peer.  Based in Fremantle, Western Australia, the company’s operations cover every aspect of the export chain, including feed milling, livestock aggregation, road transport, feedlot facilities throughout Australia and modern shipping.

The company’s flagship carrier, the MV Ocean Drover (formerly the MV Becrux), is a purpose-built livestock carrier capable of carrying 75,000 sheep or 18,000 cattle to major markets around the globe.  She was commissioned in 2002.

Two, technologically advanced, purpose-built vessels, the MV Ocean Swagman and the MV Ocean Outback, were launched in 2010. They offer unparalleled levels of safety for the livestock, crew and vessel, and can transport 7000 cattle, 25,000 sheep, or a combination of both.

Wellard’s abattoir, Beaufort River Meats, processes up to 2500 sheep and lambs a day, enabling Wellard to meet customer demand for both livestock and chilled and frozen meat.

Wellard Agri owns and operates eight farms covering 35,700 hectares across three principal agri-hubs. The two northern hubs are located at Dongara and Watheroo in Western Australia’s central midlands and one is located at Kojonup in the Great Southern region of WA.

The Dongara hub is home to The Grange, a 14,500 hectare property which is considered one of Western Australia’s blue chip farming properties.

The remaining landholding being more than 21,500 hectares, in total planting 23,500 hectares to a variety of grains and legumes. The other 6,100ha is devoted to sheep and cattle production, including the Hyfield Poll Merino stud at Kojonup. In addition, Wellard leases an additional 13,500ha for livestock and grain production.

Wellard Agri also has operations in the farm machinery sector, through management of the CLAAS Harvest Centres at Esperance, Katanning, Wongan Hills and Geraldton for the Landpower range of farm machinery.

Visit www.wellard.com.au