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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2013
SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2013 33 Standards and Guidelines We have consulted widely in coming up with our position in support of the conversion of the proposed Standards for sheep into national voluntary guidelines. NSW Farmers have conducted a survey of its sheepmeat and wool producers members in NSW which has clearly shown that while about 85 per cent producers support a nationally consistent set of principles for animal welfare only about 23 per cent think that legislated minimum standards will achieve better welfare outcomes than the current Model Code of Practice. NSW Farmers believes the recent release of the Producers Guide to Sheep Husbandry Practices developed by SCA and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is a great example of an appropriate resource to assist the industry to achieve best practice outcomes. Ovine Johne’s Disease Ovine Johne’s Disease (OJD) has been an important and challenging issue for NSW given differing prevalence rates and management views across the state. A series of workshops were jointly run in NSW by the Livestock Health and Pest Authorities (LHPAs), NSW Department of Primary Industries and NSW Farmers to provide information to producers on the new National OJD Management Plan. Following the release of the discussion paper by the peak councils NSW Farmers also hosted an OJD forum in February 2013 to provide producers with the opportunity to raise their views on the proposed plan. Coinciding with the commencement of the new National Management Plan on 1 July 2013, the NSW Minister for Primary Industries has announced that Sheep Health Statements will no longer be mandatory in NSW. When the Sheep Health Statement was introduced in 2004 it was made mandatory for a period of one year however, this has not been revoked until now. NLIS tags NSW Farmers are strongly opposed to mandatory electronic tags replacing the current mob based NLIS system for sheep and goats. The release of a Standing Council on Primary Industries (SCoPI) report into the feasibility of commencing such a scheme has seen strong opposition from producers throughout the state. While NSW Farmers supports producers who wish to use radio-frequency identification (RFID) as a management tool, without any clear benefits to biosecurity traceability its introduction would be a considerable and unnecessary expense to industry. Estimates upwards of $35 million in additional costs to producers and along the supply chain and significant planning, infrastructure and handling issues at saleyards could not be covered by industry at this point in time. NSW Farmers has been particularly concerned that the debate about electronic tags is taking focus away from the essential task of ensuring the current system continues to work well. We are committed to a constructive discussion about National Vendor Declaration compliance and this cannot occur while a move to mandatory electronic tags is still a possibility. Live exports NSW Farmers have continued to support the live export trade and the ESCAS market assurance program which has been developed by government in consultation with industry. We have joined with, MLA, Australian Live Exports Council, SCA and other SFOs in condemning the cruel and inhumane treatment of sheep following incidents this year in the Middle East and Pakistan. While these incidents are unacceptable, they are not reflective of the wider industry. The involvement of Australia in actively working in overseas markets to help improve animal welfare conditions has resulted in significant improvements to the welfare of animals. Wild dogs Wild dogs are a significant issue for producers across the state, especially given the dry conditions following a couple of good seasons which have seen numbers build. To assist landholders combat the problem, NSW Farmers has gained funding from Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) to implement a project aimed at reducing wild dog predation in Western NSW. This will be the first in what we hope to be a series of projects to combat wild dogs and pest animals across the state. For further information www.nswfarmers.org.au NSW Farmers Association The Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines have been an important issue for NSW Farmers this year.