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Farmer Inquiry into the live export industry released

October 21, 2011

Wellard Rural Exports welcomes the release today of the recommendations from the Farmer Inquiry into the Live Export Industry and the Federal Government’s response to those recommendations.

Wellard Rural Exports Managing Director Steve Meerwald said the recommendations and response set requirements for the live export industry that were achievable in the timetables outlined, while providing both improved animal welfare standards and confidence in those standards.

“Wellard supports the four principles outlined in the Government’s new live export framework relating to minimum standards, animal control, traceability and audit of performance,” he said.

“The live export industry has already voluntarily accelerated its efforts and programs in these areas so it can adhere to the standards and timelines set by Government.

“Some of the mandated changes do require consultation and co-operation from our overseas customers and their respective Governments, which our Government has recognised in its response.”

Mr Meerwald said the increased regulation, audit and training would impose additional cost and operational imposts on the sector, but until they were implemented it would be difficult to calculate their extent.

The new Federal Government regulatory framework will be phased in, with 75% of animals exported to be covered by the new regulations from February 2012 and 100% by the end of 2012.

The Australian Standards for Livestock Export (ASEL) are also being reviewed in response to the Farmer Inquiry findings. The ASEL sets out the minimum requirements for a variety of standards, ranging from stocking densities on board vessels during different seasons, wool length and animal segregation.

“The live export industry is continually generating additional objective data, through R&D and performance recording, that should be utilised to ensure animal welfare is maximised through updated standards,” Mr Meerwald said.

“Our goals are aligned. The Federal Government, the Australian public, exporters and farmers all want to ensure that animals are treated professionally and humanely, that voyage success rates are optimised and that animal welfare is a priority throughout the live export process from procurement to processing,” Mr Meerwald said.


For further information please contact:

Cameron Morse

Phone: + 61 8 9386 1233

Mobile: +61 433 886 871


Website: www.wellard.com.au


Background – Wellard Rural and Trading

Wellard is a world leader in the production and distribution of livestock and grain.

Its two largest subsidiaries are Wellard Rural Exports, Australia’s largest livestock exporter and ship owner, and Wellard Agri, a large mixed farming land owner and operator specialising in the production of grains, legumes and livestock.

Wellard Rural Exports has supplied quality dairy and beef cattle and sheep and goats to the world for more than 30 years, and its investment in the live export industry is without peer.  Based in Fremantle, the company’s operations cover every aspect of the export chain, including feed milling, livestock aggregation, road transport, feedlot facilities throughout Australia and modern shipping.

The company’s flagship carrier, the MV Ocean Drover (formerly the MV Becrux), is a purpose-built livestock carrier capable of carrying 75,000 sheep or 18,000 cattle from Australia to major markets around the globe.  She was commissioned in 2002.

The MV Ocean Shearer (formerly the MV Stella Deneb) can carry 125,000 sheep or 23,000 cattle, or a combination of both.

Two new, technologically advanced, purpose-built vessels, the MV Ocean Swagman and the MV Ocean Outback were launched in 2010.

Wellard Agri owns and operates eight farms covering 33,000 hectares across three agri-hubs. The two northern hubs are located at Dongara and Watheroo in Western Australia’s central midlands and one is located at Kojonup in the Great Southern region of WA.

The Dongara hub is home to The Grange, a 14,500 hectare property which is considered one of Western Australia’s blue chip farming properties.

The remaining landholding totals more than 18,000 hectares, of which 14,000 hectares is cropped to a variety of grains and legumes. The other 4000ha is devoted to sheep production, including the famous Hyfield Poll Merino stud at Kojonup. In addition, Wellard leases an additional 14,500ha for livestock and grain production.

Wellard Agri also has operations in the farm machinery sector, through management of the CLAAS Harvest Centres at Katanning and Esperance for the Landpower range of farm machinery.