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New Animal Welfare Regulations Affect Producers & Processors

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New Animal Welfare Regulations Affect Producers & Processors

New regulations coming into force next year mean that the export meat industry will need to train all staff in animal welfare and quality issues appropriate to their jobs. Supermarkets in the EC and UK, and their customers, want to be assured that livestock are treated humanely at all stages of processing.

In particular they are concerned that the procedures used in handling animals on farm, during transportation and from reception at meat plants through to stunning and slaughter are painless and cause as little distress as possible, according to Dr Nicola Simmons, General Manager of Carne Technologies Ltd.

“Some people may argue that the New Zealand meat industry has already put a huge amount of effort into developing and implementing the most sophisticated and safe handling, stunning and slaughter systems in the world,” says Dr Simmons.

“However, the industry is now required to assure the EU that staff are appropriately trained. The new welfare regulations encompass the ‘meat industry’ in its broadest sense – farmers, retailers, teaching institutions, the poultry and pork industries, veterinary and animal welfare agencies, and government departments.”

Inevitably these regulations (EC Reg. 1099/2009) may be regarded as yet another market requirement that raises a barrier and increases costs. However, Dr Simmons believes they can also be seen as an opportunity to make worthwhile productivity gains.

“When all staff, from senior management to slaughtermen, understand the philosophical and practical aspects of animal welfare procedures there are invariably commercial gains through more efficient operation and better product quality. Providing a training package that focuses on both welfare and quality for the wider industry is a logical extension of our current work,” she says.

“Through our connections in the UK we have joined forces with the leading meat industry and supermarket training provider to form Animal Welfare Training NZ. We are now developing training programmes tailored to the needs of producers and processors in New Zealand.”

On 4th September, Carne Technologies’ staff along with Paul Whittington, Managing Director of Animal Welfare Training UK, will present a customised version of the Animal Welfare Officer Processing course to an invited audience of senior management, at the Federated Farmers of NZ offices in Wellington.

Further courses for supervisors and other staff will be held later in the year.


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