TFGA urges immediate industry-government action to address animal welfare concerns

11 December 2023

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) is urgently calling for collaborative action between government and industry to swiftly implement solutions addressing ongoing breaches of the Animal Welfare Act.

TFGA President Ian Sauer said farmers are keen to see immediate action through a partnership between the government and industry, which will result in swift and effective solutions.

Mr Sauer said, “I have spoken to Minister Jo Palmer, who has advised the TFGA that the government is open to all options to ensure this will never happen again. The minister will be making a more comprehensive statement on the matter next week. I can say the TFGA fully support the sentiment and actions of the minister .

“The TFGA board have met on the matter, and there is a high degree of frustration, not only at the board level but with our members regarding the ongoing breaches of the Animal Welfare Act.

"Members are reaching out to me, expressing their exhaustion and frustration. They are telling me that this must stop; enough is enough.

“The standard you walk past is the standard you accept, we need action now that will make a change, TFGA doesn't want to revisit this issue in two or three years, grappling with the same problems. It's crucial to halt these issues now.

“We need immediate, practical solutions to put into action without delay, to do nothing is not an option at this stage," Mr Sauer said.

Mr Sauer said the TFGA is advocating for the rapid implementation of an industry code of conduct, as a first and proactive step, which will be quicker than legislative changes. This approach offers a timely response to address the current situation.

Mr Sauer suggested, "An industry code as a start could entail mandating cameras in specific areas of abattoirs, surprise on-site snap audits, paper trails, more education and training for staff, and learning from best practice around the world. Additionally, it would include the capacity to review camera footage spanning six months and complete traceability."

"These are simple solutions and can be followed. If any organisation cannot comply, perhaps they should seriously think about leaving the industry," he said.

The TFGA reiterates its request that any decisions to revoke or terminate TQM's export licence must not be made until a proper investigation has taken place. This is only fair and due process.

Tasmania’s brand and reputation domestically, nationally, and internationally depends on it.