Tocal push for livestock transport standards

EXPERTS believe millions of dollars are wasted because of the frequently poor treatment experienced by animals as they are moved between the paddock and your plate.

It is a needless waste to the agricultural industry caused by a ‘‘culture’’ that Tocal College educator Charlie Bell says needs to end.

Bruises and cuts caused by bad transport, broken limbs and untreated chronic disease leads to animals being put down and carcasses discarded, he said.

Tocal hopes to introduce training for saleyards workers that will end bad practices that ‘‘are in no one’s interest’’, Mr Bell said.

‘‘The vast majority of people [workers] are quite competent,’’ Mr Bell said.

‘‘There is a cultural problem with people who don’t think they have a personal responsibility for animal welfare,’’ he said.

‘‘It is an attitude that has historically developed; the history of stockman dominating livestock, bringing them to heel,’’ he said.

Tocal recently ran test courses of a similar kind for abattoir workers.

The meat industry has been shown to be highly vulnerable to legal action and economic loss after animal welfare activists exposed cruel practices in Indonesian abattoirs.

Mr Bell said that experience was not typical of Indonesian slaughterhouses and if people thought Australian practices were always better, the situation was ‘‘anything but’’.

It is not just the animal welfare lobby forcing change.

‘‘Welfare lobbyists and consumers want to be sure,’’ Mr Bell said.

Mr Bell said he hoped the Department of Education and Training would extend contributions to the cost of developing courses from only traineeships to those for existing workers.

‘‘We will find a way of funding [the courses] and we can start tomorrow, but we need a sustainable funding source. Private industry is not going to provide [the money],’’ he said.

Mr Bell said trained and accredited workers were ‘‘empowered’’ to enforce good behaviour towards animals in their workplace.

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