They considered the cattle specific issues to be incorporated into the first Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Land Transport of Livestock.
ALTA executive director Luke Fraser said because of an increased demand from processors and producers for quality assurance throughout the supply chain, the livestock transport industry had already implemented measures to ensure a national standard for its members.
³We have developed TruckCare, which is a quality assurance program that is aimed at providing our members with a consistent set of standards they can follow to satisfy welfare requirements,² he said.
³We anticipated the heightened emphasis on animal welfare some time ago and have had this program in place for some time now.
³It has been driven by demand from producers and processors who have their own quality assurance programs to follow to ensure the whole supply chain is working towards the same goals.²
Mr Fraser said quality assurance through the whole supply chain had to be in place now to gain access to international markets such as the European Union.
³The fact that we have a national standard in place formulated on a scientific basis by independent consultants certainly gives Australia an edge in targeting these markets,² he said.
³It also provides our members with a consistent set of guidelines that they can follow which is important when they have interstate trips to carry out and so forth.²
CCA animal health consultant John Stewart said the industry-wide and national approach aimed to provide clear requirements for all producers for the transport of all livestock species.
³It also allows for issues relating to cattle to be identified for inclusion into species-specific chapters of the transport standards,² Mr Stewart said.
The Standards reference group met in late February and discussed key areas including responsibility for livestock during transport and sale, planning and contingencies, selection of livestock for sale and unloading livestock.
Industry representatives from across the value chain have been involved, so that the standards and guidelines are developed with good animal welfare practice, scientific research and commercial requirements in mind.
The CCA says animal welfare and land transport issues are high on the agenda for the entire livestock industry, so the development of cross-industry approach represents a significant win for all.
When completed the transport standards and guidelines will cover cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, poultry, emus, ostriches, buffalo, goats, alpacas, camels and deer.
A public consultation process will commence in mid 2007.