The Australian Livestock Exporters' Council has welcomed $8.3 million in budget funding for a new entity to oversee animal welfare in the sector.
The Federal Government has committed the more than $2 million per year over four years to implement the Livestock Global Assurance Program (LGAP) for the live export industry, which would evolve the current Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).
First established in 2011, ESCAS has implemented animal welfare standards throughout the various international supply chains, administered by the Department of Agriculture.
While the same standards would be maintained under LGAP, compliance monitoring and auditing would move to a new commercial entity, while shifting welfare responsibility to each individual facility.
With partial funding for this year outlined in the federal Budget, CEO Simon Westaway says a final decision on whether LGAP goes ahead will occur in coming months.
"This is really pleasing news," he said.
"It's another vote of confidence in what the livestock export industry is trying to implement in terms of finding an improved and sustainable way forward.
"It will be also seen as a catalyst for the membership of our organisation, and the wider industry, towards us making a decision on whether we proceed with a new company to run the new program."
Mr Westaway said the cattle, sheep and goat live export sectors would need to vote on the new model.
"We've been working through a budget, working through an implementation plan and working through how the arrangement would work between the company we establish and the Federal Government as the regulator," he said.
"LGAP is about getting consistency at all the facilities with respect to ethical slaughter and of the management of the control and traceability of Australian livestock as they come through those facilities.
"It's time now, as an industry, to step up and make a decision: do we want to have more control of our destiny around the quality assurance of our work and how the supply chain works once livestock leaves Australian shores?"
The event format alternates annually between LIVEXchange, the two-day conference, and LIVEXforum, the shorter 1½ day forum format. The first event was held in 2013 LIVEXchange Conference in Townsville. Other events have since been held in 2014 LIVEXforum in Melbourne and 2015 LIVEXchange Conference in Darwin.
The LIVEXforum in Canberra this year will be held 26-27 October 2016 and will align with other key industry meetings and the Charity Gala dinner.
Some incredible speakers will take the stage to discuss issues we face, and of particular note are:
Dr Teresa Collins from Murdoch University
Forum: Welfare Indicators: How We Shape the Future
Professor David Mellor - Science Director from International Animal Welfare Consultants
Forum: Updating Animal Welfare Thinking: “Freedoms,” “provisions,” aligned “welfare aims” and “lives worth living.”
Mick Keogh the ACCC's Agriculture Commissioner
Forum: Competition in Agriculture
Dr Michael Maxwell from Clayton Utz
Forum: Regulation – the impact
As well as business and networking, LiveCorp and the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) host a charity auction as part of the Gala Dinner at LiveEx Fourm. This year LiveCorp and ALEC have selected Lily Mackett and Royal Far West as the beneficiaries of the funds raised through the auction.
The Charity Auction brochure with details of all items available for purchase can be viewed here. Silent bids on auction items can be submitted to Paula Leniston via email at email@example.com.
The silent auction will be open until midnight Wednesday 26 October 2016.
The SEALS News section is a collection of recent events, articles, and updates, and is contributed to by SEALS staff.