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Goat welfare standards to help maintain market access and boost productivity

Sheep Central, August 23, 2016
Feral meat goats.

Feral meat goats.

GOAT owners and producers have additional support to ensure the welfare of their animals, help maintain market access and improve productivity, with the release of a national welfare document.

The ‘Australian Industry Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Goats’ is a voluntary guide providing advice on topics from facilities and equipment to breeding management. It has been funded by the Goat Industry Council of Australia and developed by Animal Health Australia.

AHA’s welfare project manager Kelly Wall said the guidelines took 18 months to develop, which involved targeted consultation with goat producers at various levels of the supply chain and from different product sectors, state representatives, animal welfare organisations and veterinarians.

“This consultation has led to a robust guiding document, allowing producers to achieve the best welfare and market outcomes for their animals.

“Although the document is a voluntary guide, it still has the ability to inform a nationally uniform approach to ensuring goat welfare is adhered to – a significant achievement for all those involved in its development,” Ms Wall said.

GICA president, Rick Gates, said that while most goat producers would already be familiar with the welfare practices outlined in the guidelines, the document will still assist those who are a little unclear.

“Most owners and producers are already doing the right thing, so for many farmers this document is a confirmation that they’re on the right track.

“However, for those that are unsure about their welfare practices, this document can help them improve their methods,” he said.

GICA and AHA said they looked forward to continuing their work with the goat industry to ensure robust welfare practices are followed to improve animal health and enhance market access.

The Australian Industry Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Goats can be accessed on the Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines website goat page (animalwelfarestandards.net.au/goat). Producers can also obtain a hard copy by emailing [email protected].

Source: Animal Health Australia.

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