INDUSTRY CODES OF PRACTICE, STANDARDS & GUIDELINES
There are numerous Codes of Practice and Standards and Guidelines developed for farming of livestock in Australia. Legislation needs to keep up with constantly developing farming practices and consumer expectations.
ANIMAL WELFARE LEGISLATION IN VICTORIA
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTAA), Victoria's primary animal welfare legislation, is over 30 years old. Outdated in parts and with a complex structure, it creates difficulties for regulators to administer and for stakeholders to understand their requirements. The VFF is the key stakeholder representing agricultural animal is this reform.
AUSTRALIAN ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES
Nationally consistent standards and guidelines for the welfare of livestock are being developed cooperatively by government and livestock industries. The welfare standards and guidelines are based on the revision of the current model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals. The VFF are working with government to have the Australian Animal Welfare Standards & Guidelines (AAWSG) adopted in Victoria.
The AAWSG for livestock aim to streamline livestock welfare legislation in Australia, ensuring that it is practical for industry and results in improved welfare outcomes.
Australian producers have always been aware of their responsibilities for livestock welfare, however, increasing awareness among consumers is placing significant pressure on livestock industries to improve animal welfare. The development of welfare standards and guidelines underpins access to overseas markets and reinforces Australia's international leadership in livestock welfare. Without such change Australia risks losing consumer confidence and significant national and international markets.
Further information on the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines is available at www.animalwelfarestandards.net.au/
ELECTRONIC NATIONAL LIVESTOCK IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM
The Victorian Government’s decision to mandate eID in sheep and goats in Victoria is contrary to the VFF’s policy that advocates eID should be voluntary until a nationally consistent system is agreed upon.
It is now the role of the VFF to achieve the best possible outcome for our members and Victorian livestock producers.
The VFF believe that any livestock identification system should be nationally consistent and is therefore concerned at the prospect of the isolated position of the Victorian industry. The Victorian Government must ensure every effort is made to guarantee that Victorian sheep and goat producers are not disadvantaged by mandating eID.
We ask the Victorian government to ensure zero financial impact on-farm during the implementation and to install safeguards to guarantee supply chain costs don’t burden livestock producers as the system matures. The Victorian government must commit to the long term implementation of this system through investment that will result in improved supply chain traceability and emergency animal disease response outcomes. There must be significant focus on enforcement in areas of the industry that have a lessened awareness of the biosecurity risks and their responsibilities; namely hobby farmers in peri-urban areas and non-accredited online sales of livestock.
See full submission here
RED MEAT SENATE INQUIRY
Earlier this year the Livestock Group and members rallied against the boycott of meat processors at the Wodonga saleyards on the post-sale weighing of cattle.
The VFF along with NSW Farmers hosted a meeting at Barnawartha Town Hall which was the catalyst for a senate inquiry into the effect of market consolidation on the red meat processing. With over 300 farmers rallying against the market power of red meat processors it was met with widespread anger that they reject post sale weighing.
Click here to read The road to a better market place submitted for the Cattle Council of Australia 2015 Yearbook.
The VFF and the NSW Farmers Association have been working in close partnership over the last few months to put a spotlight on the red meat processing sector and the detrimental effects it’s having on farm gate prices. It follows both the Barnawartha Boycott meeting which brought more than 300 farmers together and growing market power including the takeover of Primo by Brazilian agri-giant JBS.
The VFF lodged a submission on behalf of members to the Regional Affairs and Transport Committee for the inquiry into the Effect of market consolidation on the red meat processing sector. View the VFF's submission here.
NATIONAL VENDOR DECLARATION (NVD) FORMS
The VFF is aware that many livestock producers are currently experiencing difficulty obtaining the new NVD forms.
The VFF would encourage producers to access the electronic version of the NVD, the eDEC or the new free eNVDs. The eDEC offers producers a significant cost saving (up to 48%) compared with the printed version and simplifies the completion process as it takes producers through the components of an LPA NVD step-by-step and can be printed once completed.
The eDEC is only available to producers who hold a current Property Identification Code (PIC) and who are accredited with the on-farm food safety program LPA. This program offers on-farm risk management tools to ensure information declared on the LPA NVD/Waybill is verifiable. eDECs can be purchased by logging into the LPA user profile site, selecting the Producer eDEC program and following the prompts.
There are clear instructions, frequently asked questions and support available to assist with the process. Technical support can be accessed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Producer eDECs can be purchased using a credit card and cost $20.90 (including GST) for 20 NVD Waybills (eDECs can also be purchased in bundles of five, 10, 50 and 100). To validate the eDEC, three copies must be printed and signed to replicate the LPA NVD/Waybill book. As with LPA NVD/Waybills, purchased eDECs are valid until used and are referred to as tokens. eDECs that have been printed are valid for 15 days. The eDEC token can only be activated from the specific computer on which the eDEC user account was established.
Emergency LPA NVD/Waybills are available for use in circumstances where an LPA NVD/Waybill is not available to a vendor and an order for a NVD book has been placed. Emergency LPA NVD/Waybills are available online through the LPA user profile site and can also be accessed via the LPA hotline on 1800 683 111 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm AEST).
To access the eDEC visit: http://lpa.ausmeat.com.au. You will need your PIC number and your LPA user ID and password. If you have forgotten this information click here
LIVESTOCK AND FARM CRIME SPECIALIST GROUP
The VFF has been working with Victoria Police to develop a strategy to deal with livestock theft and other farm crime. The Livestock and Farm Crime Specialist Group include a list of officers who have been specially trained to deal with farm crime.
You can find your local Agricultural Liaison Officer by clicking the link: Victoria Police AGLO Contacts [pdf]
As the livestock industries are heavily reliant on export markets it is important to ensure their long term viability through meeting customers' needs. To do this the Livestock group ensures:
- That the National Livestock Identification System meets the needs of Victorian livestock producers and overseas customers.
- That the structures are in place to ensure the Biosecurity of Victoria’s livestock sector and the ability to demonstrate this to customers.
- We have an Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) response plan that is current and relevant.
The single largest threat to Victorian livestock producers is an exotic/emergency animal disease (EAD) outbreak. The impact of such outbreaks can be clearly demonstrated by looking at recent Foot and Mouth Disease outbreaks in the UK and closer to home the Equine Influenza outbreak in 2007. Ensuring that at a state and national level, we have a robust biosecurity strategy is one of the best ways to prevent this from happening.
VFF Livestock plays a key role in ensuring the biosecurity strategy remains robust by continually lobbying government to have adequate resources to respond to outbreaks, taking part in EAD preparedness activities, and in the event of an outbreak playing a coordinating role in communicating between industry and government.