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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2012
SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2012 43 Biosecurity on the Farm The PGA participates in Western Australian sheep farm biosecurity through its membership of the WA OJD advisory committee and the Footrot Management Committee. The PGA supports WA's science based footrot management program. The PGA has continued to contribute to the national and state debate over OJD through its membership of the state committee and was pleased to be able to make a submission on the review of the national OJD Management Plan. The PGA's position is that the national management plan should empower producers to make sensible risk management decisions. To achieve this, the PGA believes that abattoir monitoring is imperative and it must be encouraged so that it is representative of sheep flocks and remains on-going. It must report results in a timely way directly to individual primary producers so that they have accurate real time information on the OJD status of their flock. The PGA was also pleased that SCA asked for comments on the PGA's position as to the status of Ovine Brucellosis in Western Australia. Livestock Export Although the price of wool has improved significantly over the past year, it should not be overlooked that open markets for the live export of sheep was a major economic contributor to the continued existence of Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia The PGA was established in 1907 and represents progressive meat and wool producers in both the pastoral and agricultural regions of Western Australia. sheep based farm enterprises in Western Australia. The full impacts of the findings of the Farmer Review into the live export trade are only now becoming obvious to Western Australian sheep exporters and their farmer suppliers. With the implementation of the Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) there has been a change in the responsibility of livestock exporters from the point of discharge to the point of slaughter. It is yet to be seen if this increase in liability will result in lower prices offered for export sheep or if it will result in overseas markets being closed to Australian livestock due to the cost of compliance. Animal Welfare The new financial year saw the decision to move the responsibility for the administration of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 from the Department of Local Government to the Department of Agriculture and Food WA. It is the PGA's firm belief that departments such as these are best placed to scrutinize animal husbandry practices. This initiative will lead to an increase in inspectorate capacity and the PGA welcomes the better animal welfare outcomes this will bring. Last year, the PGA looked forward to having input into the conversion of the nationally agreed standards for sheep and cattle into law by regulation under the state Animal Welfare Act 2002. This process has finally progressed in Western Australia, and the PGA will participate as required. NLiS The PGA's position with respect to sheep and goat animal identification is to support the current Western Australian status quo of visual NLIS tags, linked to mandatory mob based movement reports downloaded to the NLIS database. This is a mature system within WA and producer compliance is high throughout the state. If circumstances change, then the PGA will consider its position, but any change would need to be based on market demand rather than a vague promise of market access flowing from some precautionary principle. ian Randles POLICY OFFICER