Author Topic: Victoria saleyards under scrutiny. 16.12.2011  (Read 7428 times)

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Victoria saleyards under scrutiny. 16.12.2011
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2011, 05:42:40 PM »
SALEYARDS across the State have come under fire by animal welfare groups, who are targeting the treatment of livestock and the condition of saleyard facilities.

International animal rights organisation Animals Angels submitted a damning report to the State Government that included photos, video footage and a detailed veterinarian report after visiting western Victorian saleyards last month.

The report revealed "unacceptable flooring" among the issues as well as sheep being unloaded from a trailer and ute without the use of a ramp, causing sheep to land on their heads and necks.

Animal welfare groups are now targeting post-sale feeding of livestock, water quality and the unloading of stock from vehicles after witnessing dogs swimming in water troughs and unfed livestock.

Last week, the Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association (ALPA) issued a warning for all members to review their animal welfare standards as a matter of urgency.

The agents association also reminded members that saleyards were "public places and activists have right of and need to be treated with respect".

ALPA Victoria/Tasmania State management committee member Rob Bolton said one of the main issues was livestock being received at saleyards that should never have been loaded for sale in the first place.

"There's good awareness at the saleyard level; everyone who works directly at the saleyards, from management, employees, agents and carriers," Mr Bolton said.

"There is more work being done in the saleyard system than people realise but the hard thing is there are livestock that slip through the cracks and end up in yards that should never be there."

Mr Bolton said more education at the producer level was needed to increase awareness about livestock that were "fit to load and fit for human consumption" and were therefore fit for sale.

"A lot of livestock that end up in saleyards haven't been seen by an agent," he said.

Mr Bolton said the receipt of unfit stock could only be stopped by educating producers and making a stand at the saleyard level.

Victorian Livestock Exchange managing director Graham Osborne said destroying unfit animals was the only way to get the message across.

"It's a blunt tool of education but it seems to work," he said. "The message will get out there; the financial penalty seems to have an effect."

Some saleyards are now looking at increasing fees for destroying unfit stock, including the Bendigo yards, which are looking at increasing their fee from $50 to $100 a head.

ALPA has called for members to review their policy on post-sale feeding and while livestock become the responsibility of the buyer on the fall of the hammer, a chain of responsibility comes into play.

"Animal welfare is a national issue and it is everybody's responsibility," Mr Bolton said.

16 Dec, 2011