Demand for livestock transport increases

Demand for livestock from WA is increasing, as the ALTA works to ensure animals are transported humanely

By Ruza Zivkusic | December 6, 2010

As demand for livestock transport from Western Australia continues to rise, the Australian Livestock Transporters Association (ALTA) is working with members to ensure animals are transported humanely.

The transportation is set for a $50 million boost from what is believed to be the biggest stock movement in Australian history, South Australia Agriculture Minister Michael O’Brien says.

The movement from sheep and cattle from the drought-stricken West to South Australia and the eastern states is up by 95,000 sheep and lambs and 5,500 cattle from last year.

"It is estimated that by the end of the year one million sheep and lambs and 130,000 beef and cattle will have crossed the border from Western Australia during 2010," O’Brien says.

Most of the livestock has been transported since July, due to the good seasonal conditions in South Australia and the eastern states, and below-average rainfall in WA, he adds.

The movement of livestock into South Australia and the eastern states has averted a significant animal welfare risk in Western Australia, which is experiencing a severe drought, O’Brien says.

"While long-distance travel is stressful, departmental officers from South Australia, Victoria and WA have been monitoring movements and have in general been impressed by the condition of stock and the commitment of the transport to comply with the relevant transport codes," he says.

ALTA Executive Director Philip Halton says he is impressed by the condition of the stock being carted by ALTA members from WA to the southern and eastern states.

"We are delighted by the minister’s remarks that his regulatory staff has acknowledged the commitment of livestock transport companies to comply with relevant animal welfare codes," Halton says.

"Over the past few months, ALTA has been working intensely to ensure that all our members are focused on ensuring that the large number of animals being moved from WA is transported safely and humanely."

ALTA has taken its animal welfare message direct to the government regulators, farmers, saleyards and agents, emphasising on the importance of informing the transporters of how long it has been since sheep or cattle last had access to water.

"We have been pleased that the animal welfare groups have chosen not to repeat their public attacks on the long-distance road transport of livestock from WA," Halton says.

"In 2011, new national animal welfare laws will come into force in every state and territory; these laws will impose new obligations on our customers to work cooperatively with us to ensure that animals are humanely transported.

"We will be looking for governments to actively promote these laws to farmers, feedlotters and saleyards.

"It’s clear that with the cooperation of our customers we can safely and humanely fulfil the transport needs of Australia’s meat industry and ensure that our domestic and export food markets can continue to grow."

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