Animal welfare is at the heart of Wellard’s operations, and our company has a long history of advocating reforms within the live export industry.
Wellard welcomes the live export reforms announced by Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources today. The reforms are in response to a recent high mortality event on a vessel operated by another exporter and subsequent scientific review by veterinarian Dr Michael McCarthy.
“With reform, Australia’s live export industry can continue to provide important price competition for Australian farmers while meeting community expectations on animal welfare, now and into the future,” said Wellard Executive Director Operations Fred Troncone.
“There needs be cultural change in our industry so that we all aim for a 100% success rate on every voyage.”
Wellard notes that as a near term risk mitigation measure, the Government has implemented an across the board reduction in stocking densities for sheep being transported to the Middle East in that hemisphere’s summer.
Importantly the Government plans to transition as soon as possible to a more holistic model which takes into account each vessel’s ventilation performance when setting stocking densities for the required animal welfare outcomes.
“Wellard fully supports regulations that reward shipping owners who have invested in modern vessels with advanced ventilation systems and animal welfare outcomes, and penalises vessels with ventilation systems that do not provide the same air turnover levels,” Mr Troncone said.
“Wellard has been advocating for reforms to livestock shipping standards for more than a decade, so the Government’s decision to go beyond the McCarthy report to quickly phase out old vessels that cannot meet minimum air speed across livestock pens, that carry livestock in two tiers, or fail to meet lower ventilation requirements on open decks, will be a win for animal welfare.”
Mr Troncone said the new requirement for independent observers to accompany all live export shipments was a transparency and accountability measure imposed on the live export industry due to high profile failures on individual shipments. However, the Company believes the observers should be allocated on risk-assessment basis.
“While we understand that the deployment of independent observers on shipments from Australia is a measure designed to regain confidence in the industry, we believe that in many cases these resources would have little or no impact. There are trade routes, exporters, vessels and species that carry little risk and have enjoyed very good animal welfare performance, so the added cost of an independent observer may not be justified on every voyage. We believe that these resources would be best directed to independently observe shipments that carry higher risks,” he said.
For further information:
Executive Director Operations, Fred Troncone
Phone: + 61 8 9432 2800
FTI Consulting, Cameron Morse
Phone: + 61 8 9485 8888
Mobile: +61 (0) 433 886 871