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Research project

Animal welfare indicators pilot for the livestock export industry supply chain

Summary

The livestock export industry is trying to shift to animal welfare as a measure of performance, to meet the changing expectations of its members as well as the regulator and the Australian community.

However, assessing the welfare of animals – as opposed to their health – is a complex task; in part, because different animals respond differently to the same set of circumstances.

The industry is funding a long-term project to identify a series of objective, scientifically valid indicators of animal welfare, taking into account factors ranging from the behaviour of the animals to their environment.

This will help with the management of livestock on board export ships, including the ability to identify risks and prevent these becoming issues.

Objectives

The primary objectives of this project are to:

  • Develop a comprehensive system to gather data relevant to animal welfare through the livestock export supply chain.

  • Determine the practical requirements for valid data collection (e.g. time, frequency, number of animals sampled).

  • Determine the type of training required to ensure accurate data collection through the supply chain.

Benefits to industry

Practical, objective animal welfare indicators will support industry’s efforts toward continual improvement, and provide opportunities for increased transparency.

The data collected will also allow for benchmarking of outcomes between shipments and exporters, and encourage regulation based on performance.

Project Code

W.LIV.3047

Research Organisation

Murdoch University

Species

Beef Cattle, Sheep

Start Date

01/07/2017

Status

Complete

Project End Date

30/05/2021