RSPCA’s fears government ‘hands-off’ approach to live exports

Animal welfare groups are calling on the federal government to resist efforts to “water down” regulation of the live export industry.

In a submission to the LGAP (Livestock Global Assurance Program) Committee, RSPCA Australia said new proposals from industry would lead to self-regulation and less government oversight of an industry which has seen serious breaches in animal welfare.

RSPCA Australia’s Senior Policy Officer Jed Goodfellow, said the submission to the Committee had raised concerns over the implications of the “government hands-off” proposals from the industry.

“The LGAP process is industry-driven and funded,” he said.

“It has been promoted on the basis that it is ‘independent of government’ and may appease foreign markets that have opposed the current Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).”

LGAP describes itself as a joint research project that is “focused on developing a global conformity assessment program that protects the welfare of animals and fosters continual improvement and the attainment of best practice.”

Goodfellow said the industry needs to answer some questions regarding claims that LGAP would operate independent of government. Continue reading RSPCA’s fears government ‘hands-off’ approach to live exports

Federal funding denied for devil program

In the lead-up to the federal election the former federal government announced it would not provide $4 million in funding for a project submitted under the Caring for Country program by the Save The Tasmanian Devil Program. The Devil Island Project would have enabled the relocation of Tasmanian devils from insurance populations, that are free of the fatal facial fungal disease decimating the species in the wild, to be safely enclosed behind a 4.8km fence across the Freycinet Peninsula on Tasmania’s east coast. Similar plans are being prepared for a 40km barricade in the state’s north-west.

While he refused to commit to funding the project if the Coalition won government, federal environment minister Greg Hunt instead said his intention would be to work with Zoos Victoria and the Tasmanian government on a Tassie devil recovery program, and to: “work to preserve, protect and help the population of Tassie devils recover.” Continue reading Federal funding denied for devil program

Veterinarian support for O’Farrell’s national park hunting plan

The President of the AVA’s Conservation group, Geoff Dutton, has offered support for NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s decision to allow hunting in 79 of the state’s national parks, provided animal welfare is being carefully considered and a strict licensing system is imposed.

Under the changes, licensed shooters can apply to hunt feral animals including pigs, dogs, cats, . . . → Read More: Veterinarian support for O’Farrell’s national park hunting plan

Bligh says govt acted before Hendra report

Anna Bligh.

Anna Bligh.

The Queensland Government had made significant changes to the way it handled Hendra virus outbreaks well before the ombudsman released a critical report, Premier Anna Bligh said.

Ombudsman Phil Clarke’s report highlighted inadequate communication between veterinarians and horse owners.

Clarke said systemic failures had hampered the Labor government’s response to six Hendra outbreaks between June 2006 and October 2009.

The report, released early this month, identified outdated policies and procedures, and overlapping legislation that led to inconsistent quarantine practices.

Training and resources for government agency staff, contractors and property owners were lacking.

Records of decisions made were also inadequate and there was a poor framework for compensation payments

Bligh said the report analysed how historic cases were handled, and ignored how government agencies had responded to the most recent incidents.

“They date back several years and there’s been a very significant shift in the way the matter’s being dealt with now,” she said.

“Nevertheless, when things like this happen you learn from it.”

Clarke found some Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries staff had imposed quarantines contrary to law, and were uncertain about what personal protective equipment to use and how to employ it.

The report dealt with 18 horses which died or were euthanased, two vets who died from Hendra, and a third vet who contracted the virus but recovered. Continue reading Bligh says govt acted before Hendra report

New Federal Police dog facility

A new canine kennel facility for firearm and explosive detection dogs has been opened by the Australian Federal Police at Murwillumbah in the Tweed Valley of northern NSW.

The kennel facility is the first of nine federal police canine facilities to be opened near major airports across Australia.

It was built through the federally funded Project Jupiter, part of the Australian Government’s $200 million funding to strengthen security at Australian airports. The remaining eight canine kennel facilities at other locations across Australia will be completed by the end of 2013. Continue reading New Federal Police dog facility