Australian livestock exporters welcomed confirmation last week that the Federal Government will conduct a formal review of the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL).
ASEL governs the handling of animals in Australia’s livestock export supply chain from selection on-farm through pre-export preparation, quarantine and transport to the point of discharge in the importing country.
Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) CEO Simon Westaway said the ASEL review process would include the establishment of a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).
“That Committee will ultimately provide recommendations to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR), as part of a process which ALEC believes will provide outcome-based standards, backed by sound scientific evidence,” Westaway said.
“ALEC has previously called for a formal review of ASEL and we endorse the approach being undertaken.”
TAC will comprise an independent chair, two animal health and welfare experts, a person with an expert knowledge of the livestock export industry, and a regulatory expert. It will also be supported by an ASEL Reference Group, comprising representative bodies with a direct interest in the livestock export industry, including animal welfare organisations, the production sector and veterinary profession.
“ALEC has encouraged this review of our $2 billion industry because livestock exporters want ASEL to remain relevant, which in turn promotes a sustainable and growing livestock export trade,” Westaway said.
“Our industry knows the importance of incorporating the latest evidence-based science and new technology into the high standards governing our trade, to ensure the regulatory framework governing the live trade is up-to-date and aligned with world’s best livestock welfare practices.”
Compliance with ASEL is mandated by the Australian Government. A May 2017 report released by the Australian Farm Institute confirmed that mortality rates during ocean transport have significantly declined over time through better management and ship design, to the extent that losses are now comparable with or below normal farm rates.
“Best practice is an ongoing process,” ALEC director and industry veterinarian Dr Brightling added. “We need to ensure new technology and research findings that enhance animal welfare are promptly adopted as standard operating procedures, and that the standards are consistent with regulatory best practice.”