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Consultation on Alternative Farming Practices Begins

by 5m Editor
17 June 2010, at 12:05pm

AUSTRALIA - Yesterday, Australia’s pork industry announced the start of a comprehensive consultation process with its members, around some tough issues facing the industry, such as imports, labelling, labour and gestation stalls.

The consultation process will be known as Shaping our Future and will take place over the next five months in the lead up to the industry’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in November.

APL Chief Executive Officer Andrew Spencer said the gestation stalls issue cannot be viewed in isolation. If sow stalls are phased out, it is likely that pork producers will experience: a decrease in productivity, there will be both dual increased demands for labour and for skilled staff to meet the specialist needs of other housing systems, consequently labour costs for producers will increase. As a result the price of Australian pork could increase while the cheaper pork products from overseas would continue to maintain pressure on the market. These are all issues Australian pork farmers need room to debate, discuss and map out for a future path for their industry.

“This comprehensive consultation will provide an opportunity to assess the industry’s and other key sector stakeholders views around these complex issues. Should producers ultimately agree to move down the path of a gestation stall free environment, the industry will need strong support from retailers as well as both state and federal governments. Any possible change cannot happen in isolation."

Mr Spencer said, “I need to make it very clear that the industry is driving the consultation and it is our producers who will determine what changes need to be undertaken. APL’s role is to facilitate discussion with relevant stakeholders; producers, retailers, regulators, credible welfare organisations and others.

“The industry’s decision to move forward on the consultation process was not made lightly and followed research, initially undertaken with producer groups in four out of the six pig producing states in Australia. This was followed by further APL Delegate and APL Member meetings at the industry’s largest science and technology forum Pan Pacific Pork Expo, currently being held on the Gold Coast, Queensland."

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