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Coalition Government supports Middle East animal handling project.

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AFFA03/192WTJ - 18 July 2003

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss Trade Minister, Deputy Leader of the National Party, Mark Vaile

Coalition Government supports Middle East animal handling project

The Howard/Anderson Government and the livestock exporting industry will commit $150,000 to a project aimed at improving animal handling in the Middle East and North Africa, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Warren Truss and Trade Minister, Mark Vaile announced today.

The joint Federal Government and livestock industry initiative will be used to improve animal handling facilities and practices in the Middle East and North Africa. Funding of $100,000 will come from industry and $50,000 from the Federal Government.

“Transfer facilities at borders, port disembarkation, abattoir health and safety standards and the training of stockmen will be areas targeted under the initiative to complement existing programs Australia has initiated in the Middle East and North Africa,” Mr Truss said.

“The Federal Government recognises the importance of the $1 billion livestock trade to the Australian economy, but wishes to ensure the whole supply chain from paddock through to the final customer responds to community concerns in regard to animal welfare. This project will provide further momentum to improve the conditions under which animals are exported.”

Mr Vaile said: “The Federal Government is encouraged by the commitment of the Australian industry and Governments in the Middle East and North Africa to address concerns arising from the treatment of livestock.

“We are particularly encouraged by the Egyptian Government’s decision to invest, with industry, almost $500,000 to improve the handling of animals.”

Today’s announcement builds on existing Federal Government programs to further improve animal treatment in the trade through the Action Plan for the Livestock Export Industry.

The Action Plan, developed in late 2002 with input from industry, government and animal welfare organisations, developed pre-shipment risk analysis to assess heat stress, and reviewed legislative and management processes underpinning the trade.

The Government has demonstrated its resolve to improve standards by cancelling the export licences of companies that do not meet strict animal welfare requirements.

Further, it is working through the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to raise international standards, and has had direct contact with relevant veterinary authorities in overseas markets.

In addition, the Federal Government meets half of the $1.2 million provided annually in research and development funding that goes to improving outcomes, including animal treatment, for the trade.

Further media inquiries:

Minister Vaile: Matthew Doman (02) 6277 7420 or 0418 273 475 Minister Truss: Annette Healy (02) 6277 7520 or 0400 368 377