WA Pork Producers' Association (WAPPA) president Liam Flanagan has declared that every effort will be made to work productively with livestock agents to try to ensure that pigs sold at auction, through saleyards at Midland, Narrogin and Merredin, are subject to quality assurance (QA).
The announcement follows a meeting with agents last week at which WAPPA raised concerns it had with the auction system, in particular with an apparent lack of QA.
"Although we agreed to disagree on some areas, both parties were unanimous in their commitment to recognising the very real need for greater adoption of QA and taking appropriate action to make this happen for the interests of all concerned," he said.
Immediate action will include a campaign by livestock agents to encourage producers selling at auction to embrace the Australian Pork Industry Quality Program (APIQ), a national, industry endorsed QA program aimed at avoiding meat contamination and improving standards of stock handling, transport, staff training and pig welfare.
The APIQ program's vision is "to provide customers with safe, wholesome Australian pork through a quality assurance program that helps sustain profitability for the industry in a global market".
It is understood agents have agreed to send producers the application form for the APIQ manual (available free until July 1) with account sales.
Mr Flanagan acknowledged that the decision to market pigs through the auction system at saleyards was one producers had every right to make.
"With all decisions, however, come responsibilities and these producers should not jeopardise WA's $80 million a year pig industry by supplying non QA pigs.
"WA pork producers have recently benefited from significant export market breakthroughs, particularly in Singapore, and this has underpinned the local market.
"However, it must be noted that Asian buyers look for and expect to see that due diligence has been paid to quality throughout the supply chain," Mr Flanagan said.
While agents have had discussions with the WA Pork Producers Association regarding recent media reports, Wesfarmers Landmark and Elders are working for the benefit of the industry and pig auction sales will continue to take place in Midland, Narrogin and Merredin.
Wesfarmers Landmark livestock sales manager Dennis Roberts and Elders livestock manager Bruce McCosh said auction selling was a vital part of the industry and gave growers options when marketing their pigs.
"As agents we are aware of the need for quality assurance where possible and we will assist vendors in complying with quality assurance for the benefit of the industry and all concerned," they said.
"The industry as a whole needs to be united and have all players participating in an open and free market."