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The New Model Code of Practice is the way forward for

by 5m Editor
24 April 2007, at 10:02am

AUSTRALIA - Australian Pork Limited (APL), the national representative body for Australia’s pig farmers, has welcomed the Primary Industry Ministerial Council (PIMC) endorsement of the new Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals –Pigs.

APL Chief Executive Officer Andrew Spencer said the unanimous acceptance of the new initiative by all state and territory governments offers a way forward for a consistent and unified national animal welfare standard. “The industry supports the Code, despite the significant cost burden it will bring to our farmers and their families in making these changes to the way they farm and house their pigs,” he said.

Mr Spencer said producers needed to be aware of key changes that are happening internationally. They include:

  • the limited use of gestation stalls and a requirement that farmers make this change within 10 years;
  • replacing the reliance on sow stall dimensions with an outcome based requirement for assessing the adequacy of sows and their fit / suitability to the stall;
  • from 2007, new sow stalls will need to be larger ;
  • space allowances for all other stock have been increased and must be met from 2012.

Also, the inclusion of standards for competency and skills training for our stock people within the new code is an industry first in Australia.

“Our industry has chosen to take the lead on the way we care for our animals. Our animals, their health and wellbeing are fundamental to our farming practices. In many ways, this is about government regulation catching up with industry best practice," Mr Spencer.

“The lead times enable our medium sized family farms, who work closely with their local communities and provide opportunities for employment, to make these changes on farm without losing their livelihoods and their farms. To make these changes any faster will have a detrimental and significant welfare impact on both our animals and our people. It would mean driving family farms out of business," he added.

This would have a significant effect on Austrailia's pig production and employment at local and regional levels and lead to a flood of cheaper imported pig meat, produced under sunstandard welfare standards.

Mr Spencer said the reaction by a small group of animal activists to the Code was not surprising.

“At the end of the day, it is our responsibility to balance the community’s concerns with those changes that will genuinely improve the welfare and care of our animals."

The new Code was developed through an extensive and robust consultation process involving animal welfare groups like Animals Australia, the RSPCA along with industry, state and territory governments and the CSIRO.

Mr Spencer stressed that the process was ongoing and all pig industry stakeholders and customers would continue to strive to improve standards of welfare.

5m Editor