The LiveXchange Conference That Was Held In Townsville Saw a Number of Speakers Discussing the Future of the Live Export Trade
The LiveXchange conference, held at Jupiter’s Casino in Townsville was a chance for exporters, producers and the wider live export sector to demonstrate how the live export industry is changing and what it plans to do for the future. As it stands, the live export trade in Australia is worth over one billion dollars and provides jobs for more than ten thousand Australians.
The conference was focused on recognising the dilemmas and challenges facing the livestock export industry. It also provided an opportunity to discuss ways in which those challenges can be addressed. The aim of the conference was to:
- inform, educate and provide facts
- improve the perfection of the live export process
- open up lines of communication between producers and exporters
- change perceptions
The LiveXchange Conference
There were many speakers at the conference including the new Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce, National President of the RSPCA Ms Lynne Bradshaw, Dr Richard Trivett Chairman of AUSTREX and many, many more. The National President of the RSPCA refused to apologise for the live export ban of 2011, however she did say that ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System) was one of the best things to come out of the ban.
More importantly, the conference was looking at ways in which farmers, producers and exporters could better communicate and work with the public. As the CEO of Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council Alison Penfold remarked, “The community has set some very strong standards…and we have to embrace that and find a way of delivering it.” Those strong standards are all about animal welfare and the continuing problems that are being seen overseas with the way in which animals are being treated.
Animal Welfare Is Not the Only Issue
Live export trade is how families and entire communities make a living—the 2011 ban made a huge impact on farmers and their families and it’s still being felt by some today. Even though the ban only lasted a month, it had far reaching ramifications for farmers and it is only now, two years later that Indonesia has increased the import permit numbers to Australia. Another success story is the increase in imports to countries such as Vietnam. Northern Australia has exported over forty thousand head of cattle to Vietnam in the last 18 months.
RSPCA National President says: “we’re not anti-farmer”
The focus needs to shift. The story needs to be about the farmers, their families and their communities. When thinking about live export think about those farmers who raise those livestock before they sell them, think of the communities that that money supports.
Live export trade is not a black and white issue and should not be treated as such.