Opinion

Raising the bar for animal welfare

Last month, Twiggy Forrest published full-page advertisements in newspapers across Australia challenging export processor JBS over the company’s animal welfare performance. 

The comments have brought attention to the animal welfare credentials of the Australian meat processing industry – livestock transporters included.

Australia’s red meat industry leads the world in best practice animal welfare. It is essential the transport of live animals also occurs under best practice standards.

In recent years, we have seen transport industry safety improve tremendously and the focus remains on continuous safety improvements throughout the supply chain. 

Vehicles are subject to Australian standards, with regular internal and on-road inspections by regulatory authorities.

But how can you tell if an operator is meeting best practice and implementing strong animal welfare standards?

There is a comprehensive auditable animal welfare accreditation scheme available – TruckSafe.

As Group Fleet and Maintenance Manager at Martins Stock Haulage, I can say there is no point having well-prepared livestock ready to load if they are put at risk during transportation. 

Stock lost or damaged in transit affects a producer’s bottom line and can tarnish the industry’s reputation.

The TruckSafe animal welfare standards were designed in collaboration with major supermarkets, Animal Health Australia, the RSPCA, Humane Society International, Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association and representatives of some of the largest livestock transporters across Australia.

It is the only freight industry accreditation which addresses both human safety and the humane transportation of livestock. 

The operator must show evidence that their personnel are competent and trained in livestock handling, so livestock are handled, loaded, transported, and unloaded to minimise stress or injury. 

Accredited drivers are required to be well trained in how to prevent stress, disease and contamination when moving livestock. They also play a key role in supporting ‘paddock-to-plate’ traceability, which protects the eating quality of the final product.

Producers and the community can be confident that a TruckSafe operator has considered every risk possible and is more than capable of maintaining animal welfare if something goes wrong along the way. 

TruckSafe’s animal welfare module meets and exceeds all requirements of the Land Transport of Livestock Standards. 

Accredited operators deliver better animal welfare and can prove it, with each externally audited by auditors appointed by TruckSafe. 

Operating under TruckSafe ensures driver practices and vehicle maintenance are of an extremely high standard and brings our accredited operators to meet modern safety expectations. 

Everyone in the supply chain has a responsibility for animal welfare, from producers and transporters to exporters and customers. 

The only way to make sure transporters are meeting best practice standards is to become TruckSafe accredited. 

To find out more, or to become TruckSafe accredited, head to trucksafe.com.au.

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