Fast-tracking of accreditation for livestock handlers has been introduced to keep Australia's live sheep and cattle boats on the water.
Under the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL), at least one stockperson accredited by LiveCorp must be on board every vessel.
Their main role is to ensure feed and water is always available to livestock and treating any health problems.
LiveCorp CEO Sam Brown said some stockpersons were nervous about signing up for voyages given global travel restrictions due to Covid-19.
"It's understandable that not everyone wants to leave the country, knowing they probably won't be allowed off the ship at the other end to fly home.
"It means travelling back on the vessel and facing up to 14 days of self-isolation when they arrive in Australia," Mr Brown said.
"At the same time, our trading partners are emphasising the importance of the live trade because passenger flights which often also carry chilled and frozen meat have been cut back.
"Unlike Australia, which produces enough food for three times our population, many of our customers overseas rely on imports for their food security.
"Keeping the livestock export trade moving, along with the rest of the red meat supply chain, will also give the Australian economy a boost by protecting the jobs of a diverse range of people in regional communities."
The stockperson accreditation will remain valid September 30, 2020, subject to changes in approval from the regulator and advice on Covid-19.
Mr Brown said the welfare of animals and humans on the vessels and back in Australia was paramount.
"The process we've put in place recognises prior learning, as do many other training courses. In this case, that's experience in areas such as care of livestock and giving them health treatments.
"Just like the face-to-face course we usually run, everyone has to pass an exam before being accredited.
"The inquiries we're received so far include provisionally accredited stockpersons, stockpersons who've let their accreditation lapse, and people who've been working with livestock for many years, both on and off vessels.
"It's important to note that all vessels have a medically trained person in the crew and carry medical supplies as a matter of course, as well as being able to access expert advice over the phone if necessary.
"Already stringent biosecurity regulations, to ensure vessels are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before being allowed into Australian ports, have also been stepped up."
- For more details and a copy of the stockperson application form, go to the LiveCorp website at www.livecorp.com.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The story Exporters speed up accreditation of stock handlers to keep boats afloat first appeared on Farm Online.