Humane Society International (HSI) is supporting the Greens Party in calling for the closure of Australia’s leading livestock producer representative, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), in light of their failure to properly self-regulate and support strong and effective animal welfare standards and practices within the industry.
“As we have seen from MLA’s failure to effect high animal welfare standards during the horrible events uncovered in Indonesian abattoirs, they obviously do not have the intent nor the capabilities to meet their responsibilities,” said HSI Director, Verna Simpson. “MLA has demonstrated that they cannot be both the marketing authority and the animal welfare authority, and the responsibility for animal welfare must be taken out of their hands.”
“In light of this situation and the MLA’s inability to monitor and improve animal welfare, it is clear that Australia needs a public body to provide accurate and independent advice on animal welfare matters,” Ms Simpson stated. “HSI is calling for the creation of a new governing entity which can effectively manage animal welfare issues – under the broad banner of a Ministry of Food.”
According to a Beef Levy Review report conducted by the MLA in 2009, the authority states their intention to budget a mere $186,000 a year for improving animal welfare standards until at least 2015.
“From beef producer levies alone, the MLA totals $70 million in revenue a year. It further receives $38 million annually from the Government for research and development. To consider that MLA has budgeted a paltry $186,000 annually for improving cattle welfare is outrageous, and cannot be accepted,” said Ms Simpson.
“Discarding MLA and establishing an independent auditor under a new Ministry of Food will provide for much stronger scrutiny and regulation and vastly improved implementation of key animal welfare standards.”