PEAK national wool, sheep and stock agent bodies representative bodies have united to issue an industry reminder on ensuring sheep consigned for sale are fit to load.
WoolProducers Australia, Sheep Producers Australia and the Australian Livestock & Property Agents Association have reminded producers, carriers and agents to ensure they are meeting the requirements of the Fit to Load guide.
WPA chief executive officer Jo Hall said adhering to the criteria of the guide is one of the many ways Australian sheep producers and wool growers can demonstrate they are serious about sheep welfare.
The guide is designed to help producers, livestock agents, buyers and transporters meet their legal obligations under the Australian Animal Welfare Standards for the Land Transport of Livestock and help to ensure high animal welfare standards are maintained throughout the livestock industries. Topics in the guide include preparation of livestock for transport, feed and water, examples of animals that are unfit to load and what to do if an animal is unfit to load.
The peak bodies said it is the responsibility of the person in charge to ensure that animals are prepared correctly, will cope well with the entire journey and are not suffering any illness or injuries.
Industry awareness days will highlight the issue
To further enhance industry’s ability to meet these requirements, ALPA is currently undertaking a number of industry awareness days with a strong united focus on implementing practical and appropriate measures to achieve this aim.
ALPA CEO Peter Baldwin said it is part of the ALPA charter that its agents take a disciplined and forthright best practice approach to animal welfare, which remains a key issue in our industry and within society.
“The role of an agent in the welfare of animals remains critical and none of us condone animal cruelty nor pain and suffering.
“Our education and professional development programs continue to recognise the value of an unstinting and collegiate whole of industry approach to best outcomes in sheep health and welfare,” he said.
The peak bodies said transporting unfit animals not only reflects poorly on the person in charge of the animals but on the wool and sheep meat industries. It is a reminder that there is a joint responsibility for animal welfare, and it is imperative that all animal welfare obligations are being met.
The bodies said sheep in transit are highly visible and it only takes a few moments for someone to upload what they see to the rest of the world. If all livestock are Fit to Load, the reputational risk to the Australian industry is reduced, they said.
Fit to load guide must be adhered to
SPA CEO Stephen Crisp said it is vital that the guide is used as the accepted standard at all points in the supply chain, and that feedback is provided to any producer that requires clarification of what is expected.
A copy of the guide can be downloaded from the MLA website, by searching ‘Fit to Load’ or download a copy of the guide here.