National Farmers' Federation

Statement by President, Fiona Simson – Inspector General for the Welfare of Exported Animals –

The membership of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) was briefed last night by the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) regarding its support for an Inspector General for the Welfare of Exported Animals.
The NFF membership consists of representatives of the red meat industry including ALEC, Cattle Council of Australia, Sheep Producers Australia, Goat Industry Council of Australia, Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association and the state farming organisations of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
During the briefing, livestock-producing members reiterated their distress at the circumstances and resulting images aired by 60 Minutes on 8 April and their support for ALEC’s efforts for greater oversight of animal welfare in the livestock export sector.
The NFF and its members remain committed to the future of the live export trade, to a standard that meets the animal welfare expectations of farmers and all reasonable Australians.
The live export trade is valued at $1.8 billion per annum to our nation. 
The NFF has to date, opposed measures such as an Independent Office for Animal Welfare, that in our view would simply add another layer of bureaucracy from a person sitting in an office in Canberra. We must have improvements in the system and it must be driven by industry.
We recognise the proposal supported by the ALEC Board of Directors is confined to the live export sector. However, the membership maintains a number of questions in relation to: how any such measure would impact on the broader supply chain; deliver better enforcement by the regulator; and improve the operations of the industry players who have failed, of which we are discussing as a matter of priority with the Minister for Agriculture, the Hon David Littleproud, MP.
The NFF recognises the requirement for a national approach to animal welfare. The NFF membership will continue to work towards a proactive industry-lead approach on improving animal welfare across the supply chain.
It is vital that a proposal of the nature supported by ALEC, be developed in partnership with the broader agriculture industry, be driven by a culture of continuous improvement and that its role be informed by science-based evidence.
The NFF supports a bi-partisan approach to animal welfare policy and has welcomed the collaborative and productive manner in which Minister Littleproud has worked with Opposition Agriculture spokesperson, the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP, following the circumstances brought to light by 60 Minutes.

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