MLA launches new livestock assurance scheme

By Chloe Ryan

- Last updated on GMT

A new project is to be launched in Australia with the hopes of improving the livestock export assurance system
A new project is to be launched in Australia with the hopes of improving the livestock export assurance system

Related tags Australian livestock exporters Mla Livestock

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is launching a new project to improve the livestock export assurance system for the country.

The project is being undertaken by MLA and welfare levy body LiveCorp with the aim of strengthening the principles of the current Australian Government’s Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) and better ensure the welfare of exported livestock.

Under ESCAS, regulatory requirements are only able to be placed on Australian exporters – not facilities overseas. But now a pilot scheme called The Livestock Global Assurance Programme (LGAP) is being developed and is due to be tested in Malaysia for goats, Indonesia for cattle and the Middle East for sheep in coming months.

Importers, auditors, feedlots and abattoirs, as well as exporters will be accountable for their activities under LGAP. Australian exporters would continue to be subject to Australian Government export regulations, with LGAP being a means for them to more effectively demonstrate and ensure high standards of welfare throughout the chain.

Adherence to the programme’s requirements would be verified through internal and external audits, the MLA said, with auditing undertaken by independent organisations with no financial relationship with the entity being audited.

“The proposed structure of LGAP aims to do more for improving the welfare of all animals in foreign markets, as it is not limited to just Australian livestock,”​ the MLA said. “The programme will encourage developing markets to improve animal welfare practices by offering different levels of requirements and a pathway to improvement.”

The development of LGAP is being guided by a consultative committee comprising livestock exporters and representatives from the Australian Department of Agriculture, the Australian Veterinary Association, MLA, LiveCorp and the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council. Significant consultation has also been occurring with exporters and in-market stakeholders, as well as producer representatives.

The development project is funded under the Livestock Export Program, with funding split by MLA (25%), LiveCorp (25%) and the Australian Government (50%).

Research outcomes will be provided to the livestock export industry in March 2016, after which the industry will consider the feasibility of implementation.

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