Page 4 - Australia Pork Newspaper
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The steaks are high: is your pig fit to transport?
Point of View
THE recent issues in the live sheep export trade bring a timely reminder for Aussie pig produc- ers – proper handling and care of pigs, includ- ing when we transport them, saves everyone’s bacon in the long run.
sioned a study looking at the cost benefit of con- demnations in abattoirs, which showed they cost the industry about $10.33 million.
As an industry, we are pretty vigilant on getting these things right.
Around half this cost is borne by producers covering the cost of the condemned material and penalties.
We all know, when mov- ing any livestock, whether it be from farm to abattoir, another farm or saleyard, there are many elements to consider.
scrutiny of the livestock industry and the need to always tick those animal welfare boxes.
photos and videos on readily accessible social media sites, so the focus on accountability is in- tense.
With producer animal health and/or animal husbandry interventions, about 73 percent of this cost could be saved.
by DEB KERR General Manager Policy
But the sheep industry’s live export animal wel- fare situation has high- lighted the increasing
We live in a world where every phone is a mechanism to publish
Community support for our producers can be jeopardised by one inci- dent, particularly as soci- ety remains remote from agriculture.
It should be noted that this study looked at all condemnations, not just those that might relate to animals unfit to load.
• Is the loading area suitable when factoring in pig behaviour?
It’s a sobering reminder that when times get tough, we can’t afford to slip.
• What needs to be ad- justed for weather condi- tions?
Today’s pricing crisis may see an increase in pigs being transported that perhaps should not.
• Have you factored in heat stress?
SAFEMEAT and the Export Meat Industry Advisory Committee are two consultative bodies the red meat and live- stock industry use to en- sure integrity is main- tained in Aussie meat.
• Have you calculated the right loading density for the pigs and the jour- ney?
• Have you organised the spell and watering requirements appropriate for the journey time?
APL is part of this part- nership and has agreed with the other livestock industries that animal welfare during transport is a priority issue.
• Assess your condition, are they fit to travel?
Australian Pork Limit- ed has a resource to help you assess your pigs: the ‘Is it fit for the intended journey’ guide.
Governments have now agreed to the Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines – Land Trans- port Standard of Live- stock 2012.
Contact me, and I am more than happy to send you a copy.
When it comes to ani- mals that are sick, in- jured or at risk, it is sim- ply unacceptable to move or sell them.
This standard is to be introduced into each state’s regulation to be mandatory, and a breach may lead to prosecution.
This is a direct benefit to producers.
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What is an acceptable ‘normal’ practice for a farmer, is not for most of Australia’s consumers.
During the Millennium Drought (and working for a different organisation), I undertook an analysis of animals (pigs, cattle, sheep and goats) arriv- ing at export plants that had been reported due to animal welfare or unfit to load reasons.
We know the majority of producers in Australia are doing the right thing.
Ninety-eight percent of animals reported for animal welfare breaches were deemed unfit to load.
We have done studies on saleyards and abat- toirs to identify risks to resolve.
But there are unfortu- nately instances where animals arrive at a desti- nation when they perhaps shouldn’t have.
Think an animal in late stages of pregnancy, or riddled with cancer, or in one case, with a broken hip.
There are principles to keep in mind for load- ing and transporting our pigs:
The statistics were likely worse due to the significant drought at the time.
From an animal wel- fare perspective, the right thing to do is to either treat or euthanise the ani- mals on farm.
Thanks to movies like Babe, many people view pigs as superior sen- tient animals including through the humanising of animals.
From a profit perspec- tive, during an already hard time for the indus- try, some animals are put down at the end destina- tion (with the producer being charged for the cost of disposal) and carcasses are being par- tially or completely con- demned.
To this end, they expect a higher standard of care to be applied to pig husband- ry – from birth through to the animal’s death.
In 2015, APL commis-
Moreover, as an indus- try, let’s ensure we con- tinue our animal welfare leadership and deliver against this expectation.
Page 4 – Australian Pork Newspaper, September 2018

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