³We don¹t tolerate cruelty or irresponsible animal welfare practices which may lead to unnecessary suffering by pigs and we condemn the actions of anyone neglecting their responsibilities to the animals in their care.²
Mr Dent made the comments following reports that a WA piggery was being investigated by authorities, including the police, regarding allegations of animal cruelty.
³The great majority of the 580,000 pigs processed in WA each year have been raised in animal-friendly indoor and outdoor environments, with access to abundant feed and water and appropriate veterinary care when needed,² he said.
³Unhappy, unhealthy, uncomfortable pigs do not breed effectively or produce quality meat, so the wellbeing, safety and health of our pigs is always of utmost concern to piggery owners, operators and staff.
³More than 80pc of WA¹s pork is produced under APIQ, the national pig industry quality assurance scheme, which is based on world¹s best practice in animal husbandry and includes annual random independent on-farm audits.
³APIQ covers animal welfare, food safety and biosecurity aspects of production and is supported by a traceability system known as PigPass National Vendor Declaration.
³Despite these industry-initiated checks and balances, it¹s an unfortunate fact of life that there will be some mismanagement of production units, which we deeply regret, but, as all farmers know, managing and caring for animals is an art and a science.²
Mr Dent said WA producers were getting much of the science right, with good genetics, quality housing and feeding grain-based diets developed by world-leading WA animal nutritionists and using clean, quality assured WA grain.
³The real art is training all piggery owners, managers and staff in the highest possible animal handling and husbandry systems,² Mr Dent said.
³We¹ve invested a lot of time and money in such training and have a full-time training officer based out of WAPPA¹s office.
³A critical part of training stockpersons is giving them the skills to prevent, rapidly diagnose and treat to ensure pigs in their care are free from pain, injury or disease.
³WA producers are determined to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.²