Improving Welfare Standards
By Mark Willis, chair of the Animal Genetic Trade Association
There is a lot of controversy around exporting livestock from New Zealand despite exceptional performance measures in support of the trade. Mortality rates are low and there is high demand for New Zealand livestock from our trading partners with model farming enterprises.
There are allegations those involved in the trade are secretive and the animals are subject to unacceptably high risk and poor welfare outcomes. But these misleading perceptions have serious consequences.
Mark Willis chair of the Animal Genetic Trade Association
In less than a year of working constructively with MPI, the industry has made massive gains in welfare standards. The pressure the ban announcement put on has turbo-charged negotiation timeframes. But we still don’t feel like it is enough.
To be viable, the industry must contribute towards achieving the Government objective of positioning New Zealand as a premium provider of agricultural products that have been produced in the most sustainable and ethical manner.
And the industry recognises there needs to be a transparent and reliable ‘gold standard’ of animal welfare. A world-leading standard that assures New Zealand we are doing a great job and that the cattle are being responsibly cared for throughout the export process and beyond. A standard that we hope that New Zealand can be proud of.
This story was first published in the December 2021 issue of Dairy Farmer magazine.