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CMA: FY21 Feedlot animal welfare benchmarking steering committee

MLA is currently funding development of a welfare assessment framework for Australian feedlots.

Project start date: 30 June 2020
Project end date: 29 June 2021
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Grain-fed Cattle
Relevant regions: National, Cold wet, Mediterranean, Sub-tropical sub-humid, Temperate, Temperate sub-humid

Summary

MLA has contracted the University of Melbourne (UoM) to develop a framework for internal animal welfare benchmarking for the Australian feedlot industry. A Steering Committee has been attached to the project to provide expert and independent advice to MLA and UoM to ensure the developed framework encompasses animal welfare requirements, addresses key consumer concerns and industry requirements, and is science and evidence based. This project will fund member sitting fees, travel and accommodation expenses, plus venue costs, associated with meetings of the Steering Committee.

Objectives

To advise the UoM to ensure:
(a) The majority view of industry consultation meetings are considered in the development of the animal welfare benchmarking framework.
(b) An animal welfare benchmarking framework is developed that encompasses
animal welfare requirements, addresses key consumer concerns and is science and
evidence based.
(c) Answer questions on issues relating to feedlot animal welfare as the UoM considers appropriate.

Key findings

A steering committee was formed consisting of:
- 2 x independent animal welfare experts
- 1 x lot-feeder
- 1 x grain-fed beef retailer
- 1 x MLA representative
- 1 x Australian Lot Feeders' Association representative.

The committee met number of times during the FY21 financial year to guide the development of the pilot welfare assessment system

Benefits to industry

Development of a framework that encompasses animal welfare requirements, addresses key consumer concerns and industry requirements, and is science and evidence will underpin continuous improvement in animal welfare in feedlot production systems.

MLA action

MLA continue to engage the steering committee through a new company managed activity (CMA) in FY22.

Future research

A pilot framework for feedlot welfare assessment is being implemented in seven feedlots during FY22. Findings will be shared with the feedlot industry in late 2022.

More information

Project manager: Joe McMeniman
Contact email: reports@mla.com.au