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RSPCA releases tips on responsible sheep meat and wool sourcing

Sheep Central, April 28, 2021

TIPS on how to interrogate Australia’s wool and sheep meat supply chains are included in a suite of new resources from the RSPCA designed to help the nation’s businesses make ethical choices and improve animal welfare.

Under the sub-categories of ‘supply chain analysis’ and ‘production process’ the RSPCA poses questions to help the businesses understand animal welfare considerations and what aspects can be improved to implement “responsible sourcing of animal-based products”.

For sheep meat and wool, these animal welfare considerations include: long distance transport; mustering, yarding and shearing; painful husbandry procedures such as tail docking, castration, mulesing (or other breech modification) without pain relief; whether sheep spend extended time in feedlots and if live export is involved.

The suite of resources includes 16 different species-specific guides that cover sheep, goats, beef and dairy cattle, as well as guidance on how to develop an animal welfare policy and define key procurement goals.

RSPCA Australia chief executive officer Richard Mussell said an increasing number of Australian businesses were responding to community concern about animal welfare.

“It’s encouraging to see so many businesses wanting to make sure they’re meeting their customers’ expectations and prioritising animal welfare when it comes to sourcing products.

“We understand it can sometimes be complicated and hard to know what to look for,” Mr Mussell said.

“Our new responsible sourcing guides are there to help businesses better understand their supply chains and source animal-based products with a focus on good animal welfare.

“We know Australian consumers care about animal welfare and want to support businesses that do,” he said.

“For many organisations it may not always be obvious how to go about improving animal welfare in their supply chain.

“When it comes to the responsible sourcing of animal-based products, there’s a lot that individual businesses can do,” Mr Mussell said.

“The RSPCA’s responsible sourcing guides will make it easier to review supply chains and ensure that animal welfare is at the heart of a business’ sourcing policy.”

Click here to read the RSPCA’s responsible sourcing guides.

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