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PC recommends red tape pain for no welfare gain

Australia's red meat industry stakeholders are naturally concerned about the release of the Productivity Commission’s final report into the Regulation of Agriculture, which recommends the establishment of an Australian Commission for Animal Welfare.

Livestock producers, lot feeders, meat processors and livestock exporters share the view that the final report has over-reached with regard to animal welfare.
 
Australian producers and other supply chain stakeholders are proud of their hard-earned reputation as world leaders in livestock welfare standards and are committed to demonstrating to the community we are continuously improving standards and practices.
 
Indeed, the Red Meat Advisory Council’s Meat Industry Strategic Plan (MISP 2020) confirms our industry’s absolute commitment to improved animal health and welfare, while more effectively engaging with the public regarding supply chain initiatives which align industry practice with community expectations. Furthermore, industry has committed to working with Government to better communicate to the community the significant work being done.
 
It is important to note that Australia’s red meat and livestock industry contributes approximately $7 billion to Australia’s gross domestic product. The industry is also Australia’s largest food manufacturer and a significant employer in rural and regional areas, directly employing some 200,000 Australians on-farm across the supply chain, while supporting thousands of other jobs indirectly.

it also adopts skewed animal welfare lobby policies to solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist
Don Mackay, Independent Chairman, RMAC

But the additional red-tape and bureaucratic processes recommended by the Productivity Commission won’t help improve the welfare of livestock on farms or in our supply chains, it will merely create further administrative costs for the red meat industry.
 
At a time when Australia’s competitiveness and global market access is already being tested by our high operational costs, the Productivity Commission report’s animal welfare recommendations do not reflect the practical, commercially viable policies embraced by industry and supported by the Federal Government.
 
It would appear significant industry and government efforts to drive and uphold the world’s best animal welfare outcomes have been overlooked in this report. Through industry direction, industry research and development bodies such as Meat & Livestock Australia, LiveCorp and Australian Meat Processors’ Corporation have spent millions in researching best-practice methods and enabling stakeholders to upskill and adopt new standards throughout the supply chain.
 
Not only does the recommendation to establish an Australian Commission for Animal Welfare actually go against the core objective of the report – to find ways to increase agricultural productivity in Australia by cutting red tape – it also adopts skewed animal welfare lobby policies to solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist, putting at risk thousands of Australian jobs.

Don Mackay is the Independent Chairman of Australia's Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC).
Don Mackay is the Independent Chairman of Australia's Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC).

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