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Comparison NFAS and live export welfare requirements

Project start date: 01 June 2019
Project end date: 20 June 2019
Publication date: 25 June 2019
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
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The reviewer identified a number of areas that industry, FLIAC and AUS-MEAT could address over the next two years (2019 and 2020). These largely relate to incorporating some of the existing industry initiatives into the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS), increasing the level of verification during an audit on some aspects of the Scheme and encouraging industry to be truly open to ensuring aggressive scheme improvement.

The reviewer acknowledges that the NFAS is currently a voluntary scheme, and therefore any increase in the level of compliance for feedlot operators, coupled with both perceived and real additional time and therefore costs, particularly during the annual audit phase, may weigh heavily on increasing the future level of participation in the Scheme. However, this needs to be balanced in terms of the changing perceptions around livestock production generally, growing concerns around intensive food production and increasingly complex future expectations of beef consumers.

The reviewer has compiled recommendations (27) that can be used as the basis for further industry discussion on continual improvements to the NFAS, specifically around cattle welfare, managing cattle during summer seasons, increased accountability and transparency. The recommendations have been formulated on the need to ensure the cattle feedlot production system (underpinned by the NFAS) sustains grain-fed beef as a relevant category in the beef value chain through adequate and continually improving product integrity mechanisms.

Many observations in this review oscillate between activities on a feedlot and those during transport. Particularly in relation to the McCarthy review, where some of the recommendations that have been applied to the transport of livestock for live export have dual consideration for the NFAS, both in the feedlot production and transport phases.

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Primary researcher: Agricircle Pty Ltd