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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2013
22 SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2013 Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council The very challenging circumstances the livestock export industry faced in 2011 extended into 2012. On the upside, though, industry is now better prepared to defend ourselves against activist attack. Millions of dollars have been invested in improving supply chains and good animal welfare is embedded and continually improving. Underpinning the trade is the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) which was negotiated with the Government in 2011 and progressively introduced into all cattle, sheep and goat feeder and slaughter markets by the end of 2012. Under these arrangements, each exporter committed to implement new animal welfare processes across supply chains. In turn, the Government committed to ensuring that any breaches in a particular supply chain would not lead to industry-wide sanctions. Introducing ESCAS, though, has been very challenging for industry. A key is the high ESCAS establishment and maintenance costs for both exporters and our international customers. These added costs are impacting on exporter profitability. More work needs to be done between the industry and the government to reduce these costs and restore Australia’s competitiveness. There have been calls across Australian industries for governments to lead the way in tackling the nation’s flagging productivity. For the live trade, a less costly regulatory regime has the potential to bring marked improvements in productivity. Industry remains confident that regulatory costs can be reduced without compromising animal welfare. More than 100 countries export livestock, but Australia is the only one of these investing in the welfare of animals in offshore markets. Importantly, we are making these investments notwithstanding that ownership has already passed to foreign buyers. Our commitment not only ensures a high level of welfare for Australian animals, the good work our industry undertakes also fosters improvements in the treatment of animals sourced from other countries. If the Australian industry was forced from international markets there is no doubt that, overall, animal welfare would decline. Critics of the industry have often claimed that closing or phasing out of the trade would bring economic benefits to Australia. These claims are spurious as a number of industry studies have shown. The value of the trade has also been made abundantly clear when exports have been disrupted. The Longer worm protection with just one injection Cydectin is a registered trademark ofVirbac Australia Pty Limited. Resistance may develop to any anthelmintic treatment. Seek advice from veterinarian or animal health advisor.