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Development of observer training material for shipboard animal welfare surveillance

The livestock export industry has identified a range of meaningful animal welfare indicators which are now being collected on ships and provided to the regulator after every voyage.

Project start date: 01 March 2022
Project end date: 31 August 2022
Publication date: 21 April 2022
Project status: In progress
Livestock species: Grain-fed Cattle, Grass-fed Cattle, Sheep, Goat, Lamb
Relevant regions: Southern Australia, Northern Australia, National, NSW, Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory, Tasmania, Eastern Australia

Summary

The livestock export industry has identified a range of meaningful animal welfare indicators which are now being collected on ships and provided to the regulator after every voyage.

Animal welfare is a complex issue, due to the subjective nature of measuring the many contributors to an animal’s wellbeing. These include environmental factors, resources such as food and water, and the animals’ responses to these conditions.

This project will develop a training system and materials to increase the value of the data gathered on this set of critical indicators by reducing inconsistencies in the reporting by different livestock observers and by the same observers under different conditions.
The project will be completed in close consultation with industry, stakeholders and the regulator, to ensure it delivers a practical outcome that continues to meet regulatory requirements.

Objectives

1. Liaise with researchers involved in developing and rolling out the industry's critical animal welfare indicators, along with the regulator and industry bodies, to confirm best practice in the collection and reporting of each measure.
2. Identify and develop a suite of training materials required for welfare indicators collected as part of shipboard welfare and performance monitoring, recording and management.
3. Develop an implementation plan for integrated modules that ensure veterinarians, stockpersons and other lay observers develop the suite of skills required for effective live export animal welfare recording and monitoring.

Benefits to industry

Improving the accuracy and consistency of the animal welfare data being collected on live export ships will facilitate transparency and create confidence about continuous improvement and positive outcomes being achieved by industry.