1 August 2020. Updated 8 February 2021. Also published in the winter 2020 edition of Envoy.

There is zero tolerance for animal cruelty in Australian agriculture.

At AgForce we are constantly seeking to promote continual improvement in animal welfare, demonstrating our commitment to this cause by helping the National Farmers’ Federation develop their own draft Animal Welfare policy.

Our own policy was developed in 2018. You can find out more by reading on below.

This article first appeared in the winter edition of Envoy in 2020 and highlights the need to maintain high standards within the industry.

Australian agriculture is often talked about as being the envy of the rest of the world. One of the main reasons we produce such high-quality food and fibre is the health of our livestock. You can’t have one without the other, which is why it’s essential we promote continuous improvement in animal welfare.

Recently, the AgForce Sheep & Wool and Cattle boards took part in a month-long consultation with the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), working collaboratively alongside them to help develop their new draft animal welfare policy position.

The goal was to ensure the final draft policy demonstrated the crucial role animal welfare plays in a farmer’s life, while developing a plan that went beyond any single commodity.

AgForce’s own policy on animal welfare for production livestock played an integral role in the formulation of NFF’s policy, with some sections copied into their own document.

AgForce Sheep and Wool Board President Alan Rae said he believed the NFF Member Council’s endorsement of the policy in May 2020 sent a clear signal to all in the industry that animal cruelty would not be tolerated.

“It sends a strong message,” Alan said. “To industry, to Governments, to the public in Australia and throughout the rest of the world – there is zero-tolerance for animal cruelty in Australian agriculture.

“So if you do the wrong thing by your livestock, if you don’t believe good animal welfare and husbandry practices are essential, we don’t want you in our industry.”

AgForce Cattle Board President Will Wilson agreed with Alan’s view.

“What having this new policy from the NFF does is allow them to advocate on behalf of the rest of us at the highest levels,” Will said.

“AgForce has had our own animal welfare policy for several years now.

“This is about uniting everyone and making sure the community knows that we do care for our animals. That we give them the best life possible within the borders of animal production.

In their efforts to ensure best practice within the industry, the NFF has suggested:

  • Industry bodies taking a lead role in national animal welfare policy development and standard-setting, including educating the community about farm animal welfare, and engaging with producers to ensure good welfare outcomes on-farm and throughout the supply chain
  • Establishing a research and development project that will allow Australian animal producers to provide a unified response to increasing concern about animal welfare within society
  • Increasing resources to animal welfare regulators to improve review, and to support accredited quality assurance through independent auditing programs
  • Taking steps to strengthen Australia’s international leading role in animal welfare by standardising animal welfare across all states and territories.

If the NFF’s new license to advocate on behalf of industry maintains, and even strengthens, the high standards we have all come to expect in relation to animal welfare, it can only be good for everyone.

Want to know more about animal welfare for production livestock?