In a recent Australian Community Media (ACM) opinion piece, Josh Lamb from Endeavour Wool Exports and current President of the Australian Council of Wool Exporters and Processors (ACWEP), commented on animal welfare in the wool industry and how we are perceived by our customers. Tim Marwedel, Managing Director of The Schneider Group also gave a similar presentation to a recent webinar hosted by Pooginook Merinos. I would like to address some of these issues.
There is a general perception from these supply-chain partners that our industry’s story has not been told effectively, which is hard to disagree with. However, WoolProducers Australia (WoolProducers) has shown considerable leadership and collaboration over the past 18 months to try to address this issue by developing and launching the Trust in Australian Wool campaign (TIAW). This campaign is about the robust, world leading animal health and welfare systems we have in Australia, coupled with sustainability, biosecurity and traceability frameworks that we have in place. The TIAW campaign brought all those components together to try to be more effective in telling our story.
WoolProducers has oversight of programmes that growers invest in (often in partnership with our state and federal governments) to prevent exotic disease incursions, to manage endemic diseases, to get early detection of conditions through abattoir monitoring and then provide tools for producers to address these issues. WoolProducers is continually preparing our industry for an EAD outbreak that we hope never comes, through industry training and other preparedness activities.
The industry R&D and marketing companies, AWI and MLA, do research and development to continually improve health and welfare such as Lifetime Ewe Management and investing in the development of Buccalgesic paste and Numnuts.
TIAW also collated many of the systems that underpin the standards and quality of our wool to give buyers confidence to bid, such as those run by AWEX and AWTA. We articulated that there are state based POCTA laws that producers are subject to. There and many more are in addition to what producers do every day on their farms, be it worm monitoring, blood testing or pre-emptively vaccinating to prevent disease impacting on their health and welfare.
Many of the programmes mentioned above ar