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RSPCA wants to work with beef industry

Posted August 04, 2015 13:30:25

The RSPCA says it wants to work with cattle producers to improve animal welfare.

RSPCA Queensland CEO Mark Townend faced graziers in an online forum organised by rural lobby group AgForce.

"We don't work in a bubble, we work with everyone in the industry," he said.

"I think you'll find we [the RSPCA and producers] agree on a real vast range of issues.

"I think if we continue to talk to each other, work with each other, get our points of view across, we will be even closer."

AgForce cattle president Bim Struss said engaging with the RSPCA was essential if the industry wanted to build its social licence to operate.

"Those producers that are doing the right thing are plodding along very closely with the expectations of the RSPCA," he said.

"There is no great gap or gulf between the what is expected and what is being delivered.

"The RSPCA has been working with AgForce for quite a period of time.

"There are things that we don't always agree on.

"The public position from the RSPCA is negative towards live export and we believe the live export industry is terribly important.

"But it has to be with the highest animal welfare standards and that is what we advocate.

"That is what AgForce is all about, making sure we are out there working with the RSPCA and others to be sure that our animal welfare standards are up and beyond anything else to give ourselves a social licence to operate."

RSPCA does not support live export

However, Mr Townend said there were still holes in the system, allowing cruelty.

"We see cruel things happen to Australian animals overseas that can be stopped," he said.

"That is why we continue to ask for that [the closure of the industry] to happen until those photos stop coming back and those animals are dealt with differently.

"They need to be stunned, for a start."

Mr Townend said the RSPCA would not change its position unless the live export industry could prove there were no gaps in the system allowing cruelty.

"We never used to support selling pets in pet shops like 20 years ago," he said.

"Now we have sold 10,000 pets out of pet shops, so things can always change but not while the cruel practices take place.

"As much as we have systems in place they are not actually always working, so we need to improve that first."

RSPCA's animal welfare priorities

Mr Townend told the online forum of producers that the RSPCA had three priorities for improving animal welfare over the next five years.

"I think the use of pain relief for practices that have to happen on the farm, I think pain relief is the number one," he said.

"In Queensland, we really have to make sure we have optimum welfare with the transport of animals travelling long distances.

"I also think drought - we need to ensure that absolute best practice, as far as drought management, is available and expertise is shared.

"I am confident things like pain relief and transport will be two areas we can improve."

Topics: agricultural-policy, agricultural-prices, agricultural-marketing, rural-media, animal-welfare, beef-cattle, sheep-production, qld, longreach-4730

Original author: Lydia Burton



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