Praise for animal welfare efforts

29 Mar, 2006 08:45 PM

OVERSEAS-BASED animal rights lobby group Animals' Angels acknowledged the Australian livestock industry's efforts to improve animal welfare at a live export forum in Perth last week.

The group's Dawn Lowe met with representatives from Meat and Livestock Australia, Agriculture Department, WA Farmers Federation, RSPCA, Elders, Landmark and livestock transport companies at the event to discuss the issues industry faced.

Mrs Lowe said the forum, which was organised by the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) and attended by 36 people, was a good first step to making constructive changes to animal welfare.

"It was good to have all groups sitting together and talking," she said.

"Everyone was given the chance to have their say so there were lots of ideas coming in."

Mrs Lowe said Animals' Angels had made a lot of achievements during its two years in WA.

She said the group's method of approaching industry direct rather than the media had proved successful.

"We want people to understand that we (animal welfare groups) are not all to be feared," Mrs Lowe said.

"We just want to get some good, positive changes happening."

PGA meat and livestock chairman Tim D'Arcy said he was impressed with the forum turn-out.

He said it was great to see industry and animal welfare group representatives sit together and have a constructive discussion.

He said improving animal welfare standards and communicating those standards was of utmost importance to the delegates.

The relocation of Fremantle port also was a prominent topic.

Others topics raised included infrastructure and capacity issues, training, and national animal welfare standards and codes.

Animals Australia's and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) strategy on conditions in Egypt and the Middle East highlighted to the group the importance of animal welfare promotion and communication.

The group decided an orderly industry response was needed when and if things went wrong.

Murdoch University Dean Professor John Edwards was at the meeting and hailed it a success.

Professor Edwards said the important issues were put on the table and it was a good start to finding resolutions.

"Animal welfare standards in WA have been steadily increasing, but we need to develop them further," he said.

"The WA industry needs to be actively involved in legislation so that it is effective and works in WA."

There will be another assembly with Local Government and Regional Development Minister Jon Ford in Perth on April 5.

Mr D'Arcy said the meeting would seek resolutions to the forum's outcomes.


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