AgForce calls for supermarkets to reject animal welfare benchmark

Sheep Central, February 15, 2023

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin

QUEENSLAND’S peak farmer body AgForce has joined calls for Australia’s supermarkets to withdraw any support for the Business Benchmark on Animal Welfare.

The organisation has spoken out in support of the National Farmers’ Federation, after revelations the UK-based Benchmark proposes to rank companies based on their commitment to ‘reducing reliance on animal products’.

Key partners of the benchmark also have a goal to halve the multi-billion dollar livestock industry by 2040.

AgForce chief executive officer Michael Guerin said the proposal laid bare the agenda of the radical activist groups behind the organisation, and needed to be stopped.

“This is an extreme agenda that is not based on science at all.

“Australia’s strong regulatory environment and track record – both on animal welfare and sustainability – means there is no ethical reason to reduce demand for Australian livestock products at all,” he said.

Following on from a Weekly Times story that highlighted the Coles’ and Woolworths’ aims to lift their rankings with the benchmark, Sheep Central reported on a call for Australia’s major supermarkets to dissociate themselves from the benchmark due to its proposal to rank food companies on commitments to reduce their reliance on animal protein.

The benchmark’s animal rights centric partners Compassion in World Farming and FourPaws International have proposed the inclusion of new questions in the BBFAW assessment criteria that would enable the ranking of companies on any commitments to reducing reliance on animal-sourced foods.

Mr Guerin said it is horrifying to think that businesses are affiliating themselves to an organisation that has got things so wrong.

“We take animal welfare incredibly seriously in Australia, and our agriculture is often talked about as being the envy of the rest of the world.

“One of the main reasons we produce such high-quality food and fibre is the health of our livestock,” he said.

“You can’t have one without the other, which is why it’s essential we promote continuous improvement in animal welfare.

“Animal welfare continues to be a priority – not only in herd management practices but also combating biosecurity risks such as the current threats of foot and mouth and lumpy skin disease.”


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