Goat owners and producers now have additional support to ensure the welfare of their animals and, in turn, help maintain market access and improve productivity, with the release of an important national welfare document.
Funded by the Goat Industry Council of Australia (GICA) and developed by Animal Health Australia (AHA), the Australian Industry Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Goats is a voluntary guide providing advice on topics from facilities and equipment to breeding management.
Taking 18 months to develop, the Guidelines 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, said AHA’s Project Manager Welfare, Kelly Wall.
“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,” said Ms Wall.
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 look forward to continuing their work with the goat industry to ensure robust welfare practices are followed to improve animal health and enhance market access.