This NEWS page highlights industry developments such as Members in Action, President's Corner and Migrations.  If you have any NEWS items featured here or in Migrations - Contact us today! 

  • 06 Nov 2014 4:18 PM | Deleted user
    Panel will provide advice to NHVR on advanced fatigue management applications.

    Fatigue experts appointed to scrutinise AFM applicants
    The NHVR is the body responsible for advanced fatigue management (AFM) accreditation.

    Trucking firms that lodge advanced fatigue management (AFM) applications deemed to be risky will have to front a panel of fatigue experts to gain approval for their plans.

    The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has established an independent five-member panel to advise it on AFM applications in a move that also impacts upon companies with existing AFM accreditation.

    The NHVR is the body responsible for handing out AFM accreditation, and the fatigue expert reference group (FERG) will be called upon when applicants undergo a risk assessment, which scores a business based on consideration of fatigue risks and countermeasures.

    "Under AFM business rules, the NHVR must screen AFM applicants using the risk classification system (RCS). Applications that have multiple medium or high risks must be referred to the FERG for advice," the NHVR says.

    "Operators whose AFM applications are referred to FERG must submit a written safety case, but can elect to present this safety case in person to the FERG."

    The appointment of the panel affects operators with existing AFM accreditation received when the states ran fatigue management.

    According to the NHVR, applications that must be referred to the FERG "will include many current AFM-accredited operators who were approved by former state-based regulators".

    National Transport Commission (NTC) deputy chair and commissioner Carolyn Walsh will chair the panel, which includes professors Drew Dawson, Phillipa Gander, Narelle Haworth and Ann Williamson.

    Unlike the 12-hour standard hours regime or the 14-hour basic fatigue management module (BFM), AFM accreditation allows businesses to develop their own fatigue management systems and processes for driving hours and rest.

    "Operators accredited under the AFM scheme have NHVR approval to move beyond simply counting hours in a driver’s diary to running their entire business with a direct focus on managing fatigue," NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says.

    "They are accountable for making sure their drivers are truly fit for duty and have good fatigue management in place, not only during each journey but every day of the week that could impact on that journey."

    Since taking control of AFM, the NHVR has created AFM templates for the livestock transport sector to save trucking operators the hassle of building their own plans from scratch.


  • 06 Nov 2014 4:16 PM | Deleted user
    Study compares relationship between cattle welfare and trailer microclimate during cattle transport

    Humane transport of livestock is important for both carcass quality and animal welfare. However, it is difficult to mitigate stress for animals in-transit. During a typical journey, calves lose weight due to the stress of weaning and being withdrawn from feed and water during transport. Many factors contribute to this stress, including welfare of the calves before transportation, and temperature and space allowance inside the trailer during transportation. A better understanding of the pre- and post-transportation risk factors and in-transit factors that influence calf welfare will inform strategies for improving animal welfare outcomes.

    Thus, 2,238 Canadian beef calves, representing 24 commercial loads transported from auctions or single sources to 4 feedlots, were evaluated for transportation welfare between September 2010 and November 2012 in Alberta. Two articles summarizing the results are featured in the November 2014 issue of the Journal of Animal Science: "Trailer microclimate and calf welfare during fall-run transportation of beef calves in Alberta" and "Trailer microclimate during commercial transportation of feeder cattle and relationship to indicators of cattle welfare".

    Calves in the study received ear tags with devices that recorded temperature and humidity of the air around them. Similar data loggers were also fitted around various parts of the inside of the trailers (the "deck," "doghouse," "belly," and "back" compartments, 3 to 5 cm below the ceiling) and also to the driver's and passenger's mirrors to record ambient conditions. Truck drivers maintained a log of cattle, recording their conditions before the journey, at any stops during which calves were checked, and when they were unloaded at their destination.

    The study compared the relationship between cattle welfare and trailer microclimate during journeys between 11 and 23 hours in duration. Calves were weaned between 24 and 48 hours before transportation and had access to hay and water in the interval between weaning and transport. Space allowance was also taken into account and ranged from 0.56 to 1.17 m2/animal. Stress was measured before and after transit through salivary cortisol levels, hematocrit, shrink (percentage of initial body weight lost during transport), and morbidity.

    The researchers found that the internal conditions of the trailer are important for calf welfare. This includes temperature and humidity within the trailer and trailer movement. "Vehicle motion is an important consideration in monitoring in-transit climate...due to elevated temperature and humidity at the animal level," the authors wrote. Non-highway travel and stationary periods resulted in the greatest temperature and humidity at the animal level, compared with ambient temperature. Health of the animals before transportation was also an important determinant for post-transportation welfare.

    Variations in stress were observed during winter and summer journeys. Cattle transported in summer months experienced more shrink than those transported in winter months. However, researchers found increased salivary cortisol levels during winter transportation.

    Despite the rise in stress levels in the cattle, most animals arrived at their destination healthy and in good condition. The transportation process did not appear to cause distress to the livestock. Because the calves still expressed some degree of stress, the authors suggest that further research should be conducted on the relationship between transportation and cattle welfare.

    "We inferred that the study results support future investigation of the extension of in-transit microclimate as a risk factor for post-transport treatment and disease," the authors wrote. "...The influence of transport did not result in poor welfare within the study population but may be of importance for higher-risk cattle."


  • 06 Nov 2014 4:15 PM | Deleted user
    KATHMANDU, NOV 04 - The Supreme Court of India has asked animal rights activists and other parties, including the Home Ministry and state governments, to come up with an action plan for effective implementation of the restriction on the export of animals to Nepal during the Gadhimai festival.

    The court on Monday directed all the parties to meet on November 14 and discuss the modalities to implement the export ban, and report the developments to it on November 22.

    On October 17, the Indian apex court passed an interim order to the Union of India and state governments of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengalundefinedfrom where a majority of the animals are transportedundefinedto prevent ‘illegal transportation’ across the border.

    “We direct the respondents to ensure that no live cattle and buffaloes are exported out of India into Nepal, but under licence,” read the order.

    NG Jayasimha, managing director of Humane Society International, India, said, “We’ve arrived at the most crucial time, which is implementation. We have reached the last mile and we will make sure that we complete the journey successfully.”

    Complying with the order, the Home Ministry said they have issued necessary directives to the Armed Border Force and Indian Police. Jayasimha said they will now be working with all other parties to prepare logistics and ensure that the order is duly carried out.

    “For an order of this scale to be implemented just a few activists won’t work, we need collaboration and that’s where we are headed,” he said. At least a quarter of a million animals, including buffaloes, rats, snakes, pigeons, hens and goats are sacrificed during the two-day sacrificial ritual to appease Goddess Gadhimai in Bara district. Devotees from Nepal and neighbouring states of India will flock to Barayapur for the once-in-five years festival that falls on November 28 and 29.

    Animal Welfare Network Nepal President Manoj Gautam said they are encouraged by the Indian Supreme Court’s decision and expect Nepal’s court and other regulating bodies to also take positive steps and work collaboratively. “We are hopeful that government bodies will also work effectively to bring about a change,” he said.

    While activities on the other side of the border could significantly reduce the number of animals to be sacrificedundefinedsince 70 per cent of the livestock comes from Indiaundefinedanimal welfare advocates in Nepal say that a large number of animals will still be sacrificed for which they are working with the government to bring about changes in the way the sacrifices are performed.

    Dr Umesh Dahal, senior veterinary officer at the Livestock Department, said that a blanket ban on animal sacrifice is not possible but they will work towards better managementundefinedfor hygiene purpose and to secure animal welfare.

    The government, with inputs from animal welfare groups, has finalised an action plan, which directs a sufficient number of animal health inspection posts to be set up, to inspect animals that come in, along with post sacrifice management. But, Gautam said, without effective implementation strategy, the action plan could fall through. “Our monitors will be at the site noting every case that the government deals with,” he said. “We will try to help the government team by providing information on how they can better function at the site.”


  • 06 Nov 2014 4:11 PM | Deleted user
    f B'alam were on eHarmony or, his dating profile might look like this:

    Single, spotted male, seeking companionship. Loves destroying toys, hanging out on his favorite log and dining out on dead rats.

    Instead of Tinder or OKCupid, B'alam is relying on the matchmakers in charge of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan Program, which sent him last week from his home at the Milwaukee County Zoo to the San Antonio Zoo.

    His potential mate, a year-old female named Arizona, is coming from the zoo in Seattle.

    San Antonio zookeepers are hopeful that the pair of jaguars will take a shine to each other and someday, maybe in a year or so, they'll be blessed with babies.

    When B'alam, which means jaguar in Mayan, and his brother Zean were born to Pat and Stella at the Milwaukee County Zoo last year, zookeepers knew the family would eventually get broken up.

    Just like in the wild. Had the brothers been born in the wild, their mother would have kicked them out to fend for themselves months ago, not long after she finished nursing and before she became ready to breed again.

    Their births and those of other animals in the Species Survival Plan Program at AZA-accredited facilities are carefully monitored for breeding.

    A variety of factors are considered in ranking animals on the lists, including age, gender, geographic location, parentage, behavior and genetics.

    "It's definitely a blend of art and science," said Stacey Johnson, coordinator of the jaguar Species Survival Plan since 2006.

    Decades ago a large number of animals in zoos were captured in the wild. But most zoos no longer do that, instead breeding their captive animals and swapping with other facilities.

    While that's more humane than plucking creatures from their native habitat, it also means the pool of genetics is not as diverse as it is in the wild.

    Enter the Species Survival Plan, which was started in 1981 to concentrate on endangered animals whose best chance to survive might be captive breeding programs.

    The plan helps maintain healthy and genetically diverse populations of more than 150 species among AZA-accredited facilities.

    In some cases, the last few surviving examples of a species are in zoos.

    "It allows us to rescue species on the verge of extinction. There's a growing number of species of wildlife that would be gone if it hadn't been for zoos intervening, sometimes at the last minute," said Johnson, director of collections at San Diego Zoo Global.

    Zoos do not buy or sell animals, but the zoo acquiring the animal pays for transportation.

    While Stella was born in captivity, Pat came from the wild. He was a "problem" jaguar in Belize. But instead of killing him, authorities in that Central American country took him to a local zoo and eventually transferred him to Milwaukee.

    Because Pat's genetics are from the wild, his offspring are higher up on the list of desirable jaguars at American zoos.

    There are 111 jaguars in 46 accredited facilities participating in the jaguar Species Survival Plan, including 58 females.

    Of that total, six were recently at the Milwaukee County Zoo, including Pat and Stella, their first litter of B'alam and Zean, and their second litter of a female and male born in the summer.

    Under the plan, B'alam was chosen to go to San Antonio while Zean will head to the Elmwood Park Zoo near Philadelphia. Zean will be paired with a female jaguar from Seattle named Inka.

    Milwaukee's female and male cubs born this summer, which haven't been named yet, will likely go to other zoos next year.

    Both zoos are pumped to get jaguar cubs.

    "I can't say enough how thrilled we are," said Anita Santiago, mammals department supervisor in San Antonio.

    The San Antonio Zoo had a breeding jaguar pair several years ago, but the couple did not produce offspring. Its most recent jaguar, a 9-year-old female named Maya, is not a good candidate for breeding and was sent to a zoo in Albuquerque to make room for B'alam and his new mate.

    Elmwood Park Zoo loves jaguars so much it made the cat a part of the zoo's logo. The zoo is raising $4 million for a new jaguar exhibit expected to be finished in 11/2 to 2 years.

    The previous Elmwood Park jaguar couple, which did not successfully breed, died recently.

    "It was a huge blow to our zoo. They were easily the most beloved animals here," said Shaun Rogers, Elmwood Park Zoo marketing director.

    Moving to a new home is not easy undefined especially for jaguars. Just getting them into their moving crate is a challenge. Which is why Milwaukee zookeepers Amanda Ista and Jessica Munson started getting B'alam, the first to go, ready a few weeks ago.

    No tranquilizers will be used during the journey to their new homes because zookeepers don't know how or when they will wake up.

    So instead zookeepers gradually introduced B'alam to his crate to get him accustomed to it, first by leaving both doors open, then just one door open, then placing pieces of chicken inside and finally a nice treat undefined a dead rat undefined to induce the hungry and curious feline to go inside.

    "The public always asks us, 'Aren't you sorry to see them go?'" Munson said. "We have to do what's best for the animals."

    Ista added: "It's like health care workers. You have to keep some separation, but sometimes you do get close to an animal."

    Because there are no direct flights from Milwaukee to San Antonio, B'alam was taken by truck to O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and flown in the cargo hold to Houston, where he was picked up and driven to San Antonio.

    Though Milwaukee is losing two of its jaguar cubs, the zoo frequently gets animals from other facilities.

    Currently on the Milwaukee County Zoo wish list: an Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, a Chilean flamingo, an African spoonbill and a red kangaroo.


  • 31 Oct 2014 11:41 AM | Deleted user
    USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service sent this bulletin at 10/29/2014 11:21 AM EDT

    We have completed the much-needed maintenance of our current Animal Care Information System (ACIS) search tool.

    We appreciate your patience as we’ve worked through numerous technical issues. You can expect your data searches to be much faster now. We envision the search tool to once again be a valuable resource for you and thousands of other stakeholders searching for information about individuals and facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act – including inspection reports, animal inventories and research facility annual reports.

    Our original plan to create a brand new ACIS remains in place, so we will continue to develop that in the months ahead. In the meantime, we are pleased to present to you this repaired search tool which will allow you to query and receive data a lot quicker.

    The search tool is located here on our website.

    As always, if you have questions or are in need of assistance with your data search, please contact Dave Sacks in our Riverdale, Md., office at 301-851-3749.

    At USDA Animal Care, ensuring the welfare of the animals we regulate is at the heart of everything we do.
  • 31 Oct 2014 11:39 AM | Deleted user
    ARCADIA, Calif. – Leigh Court is expected to zip pretty quickly through seven furlongs as one of the top choices for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, and Woodbine based conditioner Josie Carroll is hoping for an uneventful trip. But getting to Santa Anita was anything but uneventful.

    After the 10 hour van trip from Toronto, Leigh Court experienced some first flight jitters once she loaded onto a Tex Sutton horse transport aircraft in Louisville.

    "She wasn't very comfortable on the plane," Carroll said Tuesday after sending Leigh Court to the track for a look around. "They took her off, tranquilized her, and she still wasn't very happy. They were going to put her back on the following day, but at that point, it seemed probably wiser to put her on a van." Carroll said the 36-hour van ride went off without a hitch, and the filly relaxed all the way to California.

    Leigh Court won the Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland last time out, beating Stonetastic and Southern Honey, two fillies she will face again in the Filly & Mare Sprint.

    She will start from gate 6 in a field of 10, and Caroll said she is coming into the race in top form.

    "This filly has trained into this race very, very well," Carroll said. "I know it's a tough field of fillies but she's a tough horse."

    Gary Boulanger will ride.

    Osbornes get first Cup starter: Kentucky state Rep. David Osborne and his wife, Lori Hebel-Osborne of Prospect have their first Breeders' Cup starter in Majestic Harbor, who earned a free roll in the Breeders' Cup Classic by virtue of capturing the Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita.

    The 6-year-old horse, who spent much of his career stabled in Kentucky with trainer Paul McGee before relocating to Sean McCarthy in California, subsequently was sixth in the Pacific Classic and fourth in the Awesome Again. Both races were won by unbeaten 3-year-old Shared Belief, the Classic favorite.

    "To see the horse walk out of the stall with the (Breeders' Cup) saddle towel on, the tears just" started, Hebel-Oborne said. "It was emotional. I guess it's like somebody seeing their son wear their Super Bowl jersey. You just can't believe it."

    Hebel-Osborne operates a marketing firm that manages corporate hospitality at big events, so she has been at many of the Breeders' Cups.

    "Certainly I've worked many Breeders' Cups, but never on this side of it," she said. "It makes me feel brand new, like I've never done it before."

    Hebel-Osborne says she will work Friday, but her clients are giving her a respite (Saturday). "They said 'enjoy this.' I'm still going to visit a bunch of my customers. And any of my customers coming, I'm buying them a $2 win ticket on my horse."

    Majestic Harbor is 20-1 in the morning line. The $20,000 Keeneland yearling purchase has earned $674,014.

    Euro buzz: Much of the buzz around the barn where European runners are stabled at Santa Anita surrounds Toronado, winner of the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot earlier this year. The Irish bred colt is owned by Al Shaquab Racing, the stable of Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad of Qatar. He is the 5-2 morning line choice in the $2 million Breeders Cup Mile.

    Harry Herbert, racing adviser to Al Shaquab, said Toronado has been a very consistent performer, but will face a new kind of challenge on Saturday.

    "The form is rock solid," Herbert said. "But here it's different. You've got speed, everything happens, the tightness of the track. The rhythm of the race is going to be very different than he's used to. That's the big question."

    $300 million question: Top jockey John Velazquez, whose mounts have won more than $300 million and counting, will field questions from the public in a live online chat Wednesday from 7:00 p.m. To 8:00 pm Wednesday evening. The live chat is hosted by, a new website featuring news and social media interaction. Velazquez' mounts include Cigar Street in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Stephanie's Kitten in the Filly & Mare Turf, and Thank You Marylou in the Filly & Mare Sprint.

    USA Today

  • 31 Oct 2014 11:36 AM | Deleted user
    DENMARK - With African swine fever just 10 hours driving time away, the Danish pig industry is to intensify disease protection measures at its land border with Germany by building a state-of-the-art vehicle wash at Padborg.

    According to the Danish agriculture organisation, Landbrug & Fødevarer (Agriculture & Food; L&F), 22,000 trucks cross the Danish border every year with piglets and pigs that are sold abroad.

    These vehicles carry a risk of transmitting infectious diseases to Danish pig herds and so the Danish Pig Research Centre (PRC) has decided to invest in a new car wash at the border, with the support of L&F.

    PRC President, Erik Larsen, said: "There are a number of diseases such as African swine fever and PED lurking just outside Denmark, and we must do everything to stop before reaching Denmark.

    "Previously, there was a legal requirement for the washing of animal transport at the border, but as it fell away, we took the responsibility on ourselves by establishing the Danish Transport Standard with an extra safety wash when vehicles enter the country."

    African swine fever is found regularly in several of the countries bordering Russia. The disease has now spread into the entire Baltic region and is now found in eastern Poland. The fear is that it will spread further across Europe.

    The United States has tremendous problems with a very aggressive type of gastrointestinal disease, porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED), which particularly affects piglets and causes mortality through diarrhoea and dehydration. Between 50 and 100 per cent of baby pigs die of the disease.
    L&F says that the virus is also found in Germany, Italy and Asia. There is a high risk that this aggressive PED type at a time can gain a foothold in Europe, and that is partly why VSP now increases hygiene requirements at the border.

    Mr Larsen said that swine fever is now less than 10 hours away from Denmark, and that bacteria and viruses can be transmitted via the trucks moving in high risk areas such as Poland, where many Danish piglets are sold at the moment.

    "The precautions to avoid infection in Denmark need to be strengthened, and that is what we are doing now," he added.

    Currently, trucks are subject to 48 hours quarantine after it has been washed at the border. But with the new and improved disinfection method, the quarantine time is reduced to 12 hours.

    "Proper washing and disinfection is more important than time. Our studies show that washing can be done much better and more professionally than what we see today," said Mr Larsen.

    The new car wash is being built in Padborg and PRD expects it to be in use from next year. The disinfection costs will be paid by the transport companies but PRC says the shorter quarantine period will help to allay the extra cost.

    ThePigSite News Desk
  • 02 Nov 2012 11:53 AM | Deleted user
    Capital city rallies against live exports drew crowds of hundreds, rather than thousands, over the weekend.

    The Opposition's Agriculture spokesman John Cobb says those numbers could reflect what he believes is a growing understanding that Australia is a 'force for good' in international animal welfare.

    He says people will always be rightly concerned about the proper and humane treatment of animals, and Australia is helping to improve that treatment around the world.

  • 22 May 2011 11:43 AM | Deleted user
    Broadcast: 22/05/2011 1:49:37 PM
    Reporter: Kerry Lonergan

    ANNE KRUGER, PRESENTER: Australian farmers have been defending their right to export live animals virtually since the trade began.

    You may remember when former prime minister Malcolm Fraser and then NFF boss Ian McLachlan stared down union threats over sheep shipments to the Middle East in the 1980s.

    The argument back then was based more on the impact on jobs in the meat processing sector.

    More recently, the opposition has come from animal rights groups who argue the trade is unnecessarily cruel. And every so often they supply the mainstream media with unsettling images of the way some overseas customers handle Australian export sheep and cattle.

    They are about to step up their campaign with fresh material gathered in Indonesia, one of Australia's biggest live export markets.

    This weekend, the industry has released its new global strategy following an independent review that is aimed at convincing end-users to lift their game.

    Kerry Lonergan reports.
    KERRY LONGERGAN, REPORTER: It's a billion-dollar-a-year business. The live trade out of the north is critical to the economy across the top of Australia and beyond.

    Much of the country from Kununurra to the Barclay Tableland is suitable only for cattle grazing.

    So with virtually no processing facilities from Townsville right around to Perth, there are no options - it's export or close down.

    CAMERON HALL, LIVECORP: So many people in remote and regional communities in northern Australia rely on the live trade - as some, or many, as their only source of income, and their only market, but others for a very significant part of their income.

    So the impact would be massive. We know that the live trade adds 7.8, nearly 8 cents a kilo to all cattle sold across Australia whether they are going into the live trade or not.

    KERRY LONGERGAN: So what's the problem?
    The weights issue with Indonesia is something the industry has always felt would be resolved eventually. The problem is lifting certain animal welfare standards in Indonesia.

    Last year the industry, with support from Canberra, commissioned an independent report to check on welfare standards for Australian cattle sent to Indonesia and recommended improvements.

    The panel, which included vets, feed lot and abattoir experts from Australia and the UK, had as its baseline the internationally recognised OIE or World Organisation for Animal Health standards.

    Of course, the live trade is not just about cattle and not just about Indonesia. The live sheep trade already has experience with OIE standards.

    Sheep exporters to the Middle East were given a pull through after the Cormo Express incident several years ago. The subsequent inquiry led to a massive injection of industry training money into the Middle East.

    RON CULLEN, SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL: We think we have done a pretty good job in terms of changing animal welfare in the marketplace, and that is why we moved to developing these action plans for each specific market, and that will set some more measurable objectives.

    I think, if anything, the lesson we learn is, that we have not been able to demonstrate in an objective way the improvements we have been making. So these action plans will hopefully do that for us.

    And we've got people over in the Middle East, right now, who are talking to both importers and government officials about how we'll get those action plans under way.

    KERRY LONGERGAN: Now, Ron Cullen, could the live trade to the north learn anything from the sheep exporters?

    RON CULLEN: I guess we'd like to think we both learn from each other and we've had a combined approach, in terms of developing these action plans. And industry needs to be sure that we're all aiming for OIE standards - the World Health Organization for Animals.

    Those standards are the sort of standards we ought to be able to meet in all of our marketplaces.

    So the action plans we will develop will be about having an idea of the whole chain system, so that each bit of the chain from discharge through to processing meets OIE standards.

    KERRY LONGERGAN: The report on the Indonesian trade, which is publicly available - there will be a link to the report on the Landline website - included several ticks and neutral comments with recommendations. Almost inevitably, the panel was critical of certain practices within
    Indonesian abattoirs.

    DR PAUL CUSACK, REVIEW PANEL MEMBER: Our greatest concern with processing was an instance where multiple cuts were required to sever the carotid arteries. Once the carotid arteries are severed at the point of processing, then the animal loses consciousness very quickly.

    So that's an issue that we identified. And the recommendation is that there be further training given to improve the skill, or the speed with which that single cut is administered. And that is as simple as having the correct equipment, sharp knives and a good approach and a good technique.

    KERRY LONGERGAN: Two issues emerge here, the obvious one is training.

    AUSTRALIAN TRAINER (Landline 2010): Because in Indonesia it is very hot, when they get sick with diarrhoea, like this one, they become dehydrated, so then they can't fight the bacterial infection that is coming.
    (Severely emaciated sheep in stock pen)

    ROHAN SULLIVAN, NY CATTEMENS' ASSOCIATION: Well, I think it will be given major priority. As you're probably aware, Kerry, the review looked right through the market chain in Indonesia.

    The main things that were found were that the animal welfare was found to be generally good throughout the chain, except for the last little bit, which is at the point of processing. And that is where most of the effort has got to be made into the future.

    KERRY LONGERGAN: And it's that point of processing which is, and will remain, the key issue in the live trade.

    As Cameron Hall, LiveCorp CEO, acknowledges, it's not simply a matter of telling Indonesian meat workers the correct procedure. Unlike Australia there are other factors.

    CAMERON HALL: Look, I think the Indonesian people... The Indonesians have a long history, if you like, with animals and with processing. But they are - the Indonesian people are not cruel people.

    The Indonesian people want to make change and want to improve things, and we have seen that, you know, quite significantly over the past five years - right at an industry level, at the facilities themselves, and also with the Indonesian government.

    KERRY LONGERGAN: It is partly also cultural and religious. Is this part of the reason why they don't stun them, often, before they are slaughtered?

    CAMERON HALL: The stunning issue is a complex issue. And, it's, I guess, it is a sensitive issue around three areas, cultural, religious and even legal.

    We've been promoting stunning with the Indonesian industry and the Indonesian government over the last five years. And there is stunning in place in some facilities in Indonesia. And we're working at the moment to increase that number and we will, by the end of the year, have more
    facilities stunning. But, stunning is slow in its uptake and until recently, in many areas, it had been illegal to even have the equipment.

    KERRY LONGERGAN: So is it possible to have animals that are stunned killed, and be confirmed as halal?

    CAMERON HALL: Yes. Animals, even in Australia, are stunned and confirmed halal. But it is around working with the local religious authorities in Indonesia, which we are doing on an ongoing basis, and ensuring that they understand the science, and that the stunning process meets the religious beliefs.

    KERRY LONGERGAN: One of the leading importers of Australian cattle is Dicky Adiwoso. He's an Australian-educated vet, with firm views on the animal welfare issue within his own country. It must lift, he says, to world standards.

    DICKY ADIWOSO, LIVESTOCK IMPORTER: Animal welfare is something that we have to the values we have to impose on the people who are taking care of the animals. From the time that it's born until the end of their life, that we have to take care of them. It's not the- people are looking at it differently at the beginning and here, and then we have to change our values, how we to do it in other countries.

    We have to look at what is the global values of animal welfare, which we are trying to impose and bring the value.

    KERRY LONGERGAN: Now, as mentioned, the export of Australian sheep to the Middle East has had its animal welfare issues.

    But with the shorter distances, a very low shipping mortality rate, and the fact that cattle are generally tougher than sheep, the live trade to the north has, by and large, escaped sanctions for animal welfare issues.

    But given the nature of animal rights activism these days, and given the economic importance of the trade, what might happen if, for whatever reason, the trade was stopped?

    ROHAN SULLIVAN: Well, I think after we have picked ourselves up off the floor, it would be a disaster for our industry - well, for me personally, for my family personally, and I think would be a disaster for rural people in northern Australia.

    Total turn off from the territory is about 600,000 head a year and there is about 300,000 head that goes to live export, and most of that to Indonesia.
    So it is an absolutely vital part of our industry and, you know, on a personal level, for my own family property, it's nearly 100 per cent of our turnoff goes to live exports. So without the live export trade we'd be finished, basically.

    KERRY LONGERGAN: So with this review, which clearly points to 'unacceptable by Australian standards' processing routines in some Indonesian meat works, what's next? Cameron Hall says, more training for Indonesian meat workers is on the schedule, but training is just part of a much bigger agenda. I

    CAMERON HALL: I think it's part of the answer. There is a whole range of aspects that need to work well together. We are still talking about Indonesia that is a developing economy, and they don't have as much investment into facilities, they don't have as much infrastructure. Many of the facilities don't have power or coal chain, or all of those sorts of things.
    So there's a - I guess there is a broad range of things. But we know that at the point of processing - which is our most difficult area - we know that when the training is properly adopted and those people have the skills, that the welfare improvements are significant.

    KERRY LONGERGAN: Now according to LiveCorp, the industry will be allocating up to $1 million a year for training and other animal welfare issues in Indonesia. This is a crucial part of the action plan for improved animal welfare conditions in all export markets, and follows the success of similar programs in the Middle East.

    One final note on this story for the moment at least, Landline has been told that the activist group Animals Australia has video of Australian cattle being processed in Indonesia. We asked for a copy of that video, and we asked Animals Australia for comment. Both requests were declined.

    Here is the link to the MLA Indonesian Live Export Report:

  • 08 Mar 2008 11:40 AM | Deleted user
    By Cameron Hall, CEO, LiveCorp (Australia)

    March 2008

    Recently, the WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) and the CIWV (Compassion in World Farming) launched a campaign called Handle with Care. Their campaign is focused on what they see as cruel treatment of animals being transported for slaughter.

    The global trade of live animals moving to slaughter is “big business” according to this report, and they also state that this transportation is “…clear evidence of the welfare, food safety and meat quality problems it causes.” The WSPA and CIWF point out specific commodities and lane segments including Pigs transported from Canada to Hawaii; Cattle from Brazil to Lebanon; Horses from Spain to Italy; Sheep from Australia to the Middle East; Goats from Colombia to South America; as well as Chickens spreading Bird Flu in Thailand.

    The report has quite a few flaws (in the opinion of most AATA members) and we asked the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Cameron Hall of LiveCorp in Australia (an AATA member) to help us address some of misleading statements of their report. LiveCorp is the industry services organisation for the Australian livestock export industry for shipments by sea and air to all markets that Australia services. The main tasks of LiveCorp relate to market and trade access, in-market technical advice, training and education, R&D, management of relationships with key stakeholders including government both in Australia and overseas and most importantly the continual improvement of animal welfare management across the chain before, during and after shipment. Mr. Hall is very knowledgeable and his company has worked diligently to improve the transport process, as well as investing heavily in training all groups involved in the movements. We posed the following questions to Mr. Hall.

    1. Are the complaints of the campaign justified?

    No. Everyone involved in the Australian livestock export industry cares deeply about animal welfare - from the farms where our animals are raised, to the ships they are transported on and the overseas countries where they are sold.

    The fact is that animal rights extremists continue to ignore the facts about the livestock export industry, which are detailed below.

    Many livestock exporters, haulers, forwarders, etc. are members of the Animal Transportation Association (AATA) and are dedicated to improving the welfare of animals in transport. Only unlicensed and unscrupulous companies are engaged in this type of abuse, but you cannot paint the entire industry with one broad stroke. It’s important to know that there are a great many of us working to ensure proper policies are in place to prevent these unscrupulous companies from continuing to wreak havoc on this industry.

    2. How widespread are such abuses?

    The Australian livestock export industry does not tolerate any form of animal abuse.

    The industry is one of the most highly regulated in the world, and is subject to strict regulatory requirements developed to ensure the wellbeing of Australian animals exported to overseas markets.

    Australia is also recognised as having the world’s best standards for livestock export, with the industry committed to providing the highest standards of care for the animals we export overseas.

    All livestock vessels transporting livestock from Australia are clean, modern and operate under the highest standards in the world. Australian animals are well cared for onboard these vessels, having enough room to move around, lie down and access the constantly available food and water. Each vessel also has ‘hospital pens’ to provide extra care for any animals that need it. In addition, the industry employs trained and accredited stockmen to accompany all voyages, and AQIS-accredited veterinarians to accompany all voyages to the Middle East.

    Once Australian animals arrive at their destination they are held in feedlots where they have constant access to cool fresh water, nutritious feed and shade. They are cared for by stockmen trained by the Australian livestock export industry on how to best care for Australian animals.

    Most of these animals are then transported to processing facilities on trucks driven by drivers that have been trained to ensure a smooth ride for our animals. Other animals are transported to local markets where they are sold to communities and families that do not have access to refrigeration to store chilled meat. If it weren’t for Australian livestock, these families would have no access to affordable red meat protein.

    Australia also invests heavily in improving standards of animal care in the countries we export to, in particular countries throughout the Middle East. This work is detailed below.

    Additionally, countries such as the United States, Canada, Mexico and others work hard to instil good policy and good training / techniques to ensure animals are handled and transported humanely. There are many AATA members who are devoted to improving the welfare of the slaughter animals while in transport or at the farm.

    3. What progress has been achieved in recent years?

    The Australian livestock export industry recognises the importance of research and development in improving its standards and practices, and invests A$1.6 million each year in a comprehensive range of R&D projects which range from studies onboard livestock vessels to research on animal care once Australian animals arrive overseas.

    Animal welfare is an over-arching consideration in the industry’s R&D program. In 2006-07, 41% of the R&D budget was spent on livestock management and welfare. In 2007/08 this is planned to increase to 52%.

    R&D has been a major contributor to achieving improved export success rates, which now exceed 99% of all animals exported. Success rates have improved consistently over the past ten years due to industry’s high level of investment, as well as its commitment to continuous improvement. This commitment continues today, with industry striving to ensure its success rates increase each year.

    Key outcomes delivered over the past five years as a result of R&D also include minimising the risk of heat stress onboard ships; minimising the risks of disease during livestock export; and developing a best practice guide for veterinary drugs during livestock export.

    Industry also invests both money and human resources into improving animal welfare outcomes in the countries we export to, particularly in the Middle East, and we are seeing real improvements from this work. A $1.75-2 million is invested into programs supporting the improvement of animal welfare in the livestock export process chain.

    The Australian animal welfare specialists employed by industry in the Middle East region provide practical training to veterinarians, stockmen, feedlot operators on how to work with Australian animals. These representatives travel to each importing country in the Middle East to work with people on the ground.

    Industry also funds and implements upgrades to infrastructure, such as feedlots, abattoirs and port facilities, in the Middle East and Asia and establishes joint initiatives with local governments in these regions to improve animal welfare. In addition, industry also provides regular inspection and assessment of facilities including ships, ports, trucks, abattoirs and feedlots, as well as assisting with the unloading of Australian animals from vessels.

    This investment and training is delivering real improvements including:

    - An improved understanding among stockmen, feedlot operators and others throughout the supply chain of how to work with Australian sheep, which are not domesticated like local Middle Eastern sheep and therefore need to be handled differently.

    - Improvements in the way animals are being handled while being unloaded from ships, leading to shorter unloading times so that sheep are in feedlots with feed and water much quicker than previously. This improved rate is a direct consequence of teaching local stockmen techniques to work with the animal’s natural behaviour, providing a more efficient and less stressful process for the animals.

    - Improvements in feedlot management including access to cool water, feed, and shaded pens. For example, in Doha industry facilitated the implementation of water chilling facilities to ensure sheep had constant access to cool water. Industry also advised and assisted in changing the feedlot’s infrastructure to replace solid walls with rails, increasing airflow through the feedlot.

    While these improvements are very positive, industry acknowledges that there is still more to be done to improve animal handling practices and is committed to continuing its involvement in the region to make long term improvements.

    4. Does it make economic or ethical sense to end the trade in live animals?

    Absolutely not. A cessation of the trade would have disastrous effects both ethically and economically.

    Australia is the only country that invests in improving animal welfare standards in the countries we export to, and our training activities in the Middle East are playing an important part in improving global animal welfare standards.

    As a developed nation we have a duty of care to help less developed nations improve their awareness and commitment to the importance of animal welfare. Walking away from the trade now undefined as activists are demanding undefined would mean turning our backs on this responsibility.

    Claims made by activists that Australia should walk away from the trade and replace it with the chilled meat trade are short-sighted and unrealistic, as explained in the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) report on live animal exports released in Australian on 27 February 2008.

    According to the report "any restrictions on this trade from Australia are expected to have an adverse impact on the industry as the importing countries would source livestock from competing markets rather than substantially altering their demand for beef, veal or sheep meat."

    As the report confirmed, if Australia stopped supplying livestock to the Middle East, the trade would not be replaced by the chilled trade. Instead, livestock would be sourced from other countries undefined such as Sudan, Somalia and Iran undefined that do not share Australia’s commitment to animal welfare, and global standards would suffer. We are part of the animal welfare solution. If we are not involved in the trade, we are simply powerless bystanders.

    The Australian livestock export industry is an integral part of the national cattle and sheep industries, contributing A$1.8 billion to the Australian economy each year and employing 13,000 Australians.

    An independent report completed by Hassall and Associates in 2006 titled “The Live Export Industry: Value, Outlook and Contribution to the economy” found that a closure of the livestock export trade in cattle and sheep would cause an ongoing reduction in the GVP (Gross Value of Production) of Australia’s sheep and beef cattle industries in the order of $550 million per annum. This loss is a 6% reduction in the gross value of the entire cattle and sheep meat industries (ABS 2005).

    Further, many regions that benefit from the livestock export trade do not have ready access to alternative markets for livestock, and any reduction in the trade would impact directly on farm income.

    A further independent report commissioned by Meat & Livestock Australia and LiveCorp and released in August 2007 undefined Assessing the Value of the Livestock Export Industry to Regional Australia undefined examined the five regions most reliant on the industry undefined the Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria and the northern and southern regions of Western Australia.

    The Report found that during 2006 the industry contributed $0.83 billion to regional economies and generated employment for over 11,000 Australians in these areas, underpinning the economic activity and social wellbeing of large slices of rural and remote Australia.

    Employment figures include farming families, indigenous landowners, exporters, stockmen, road transport providers, dockside workers and other service providers such as veterinarians and fodder suppliers. A closure of the trade would have a devastating effect on everyone involved in the trade.

    Conclusion by AATA President, Lisa Schoppa:

    It’s important to note that many of these animal rights’ campaigns are based on isolated incidents that are over dramatized and sensationalized to feed on the sensitivity of the public. Many of these campaigns are not about improving animal welfare but about raising funds and awareness of the groups involved. The public needs to be more discerning about the facts and understand the whole issue. The benefits, both ethically and economically, to the general public are of great value.

    While the AATA has great respect for the organizations involved in this campaign, we would call on them to address the evidence factually and not through the use of sensationalized videos that serve to scare the general public and not educate. We urge the WSPA and CIWF to join us and work with us throughout the world to effect real change in policy and in how animals are transported and handled, and to hold our AATA members as models of how to transport animals, regardless of the mode of transport.

2019 Animal Transportation Association (ATA)
678 Bluebell Drive, Terra Alta, WV  26764   USA
(P) + 1 202.676.7077
Contact us at

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software