• 11/08/2015: Question Without Notice, Sow Stalls

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water. Given that members of the Australian pork industry are committed to phasing out sow stalls—a metal cage in which gestating sows can take only one step forward or back and not turn around—by 2017, will the Government legislate to outlaw the use of sow stalls so that all piggeries in New South Wales are mandated sow stall free?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: Gestation stalls, also known as sow stalls, are a form of accommodation used to confine sows during their pregnancy. The industry has recognised that the use of these stalls is no longer supported by the community, and in November 2010 it voluntarily committed to pursue a phase-out by 2017, which is exactly what the member acknowledged in his question. This is a world first initiative. For producers, implementation of this industry-led initiative involves expensive and complex modifications to their farms and practices. Producers deserve support for making these changes and their efforts need to be recognised. I am advised that 70 per cent of the industry has completed the phase-out of sow stalls and the industry is confident that by 2017 the vision of a gestation stall free industry will be realised.

    It is unfair to perpetuate the myth that industry continues to support the use of sow stalls and that they remain standard practice. It completely ignores and devalues what the industry has achieved. Rather, we need to support the industry and continue to work with it through this voluntary reform. I commend Australian Pork Limited in particular for its efforts in this space. This is a clear example of an industry working with its members, understanding community concerns and putting into practice an initiative which, as I outlined, is expensive in some cases to implement. The industry should be commended for such an initiative. We do not always need to jump in and legislate when an industry already understands the issue and is working with consumer groups to get the desired outcome. That is what working with industry can achieve.

    Again, I commend Australian Pork Limited for the efforts it has made with its members. As I said, up to 70 per cent of the industry has already completed the phasing out of sow stalls. If we were to legislate, as suggested by the Hon. Mark Pearson, by the time such legislation was drafted and put through the House the industry probably would have got there ahead of us. We need to recognise that sometimes the answer lies with those who work with the animals. Sometimes the answer lies with industry groups that are looking at what is happening around the world and saying that they can have a sensible discussion about animal welfare and put practices and plans in place to ensure that their businesses are viable. That is a win-win situation.

    We do not have to come in with the heavy stick. We can listen to what the consumer is saying, and we can work with the industry in a way that allows businesses that want to do the right thing, that are legitimately employing people—many of them are in regional communities—to continue to be productive. The industry is saying that it has got this. It does not need someone telling it how it should do this. The industry has the answers. It is working with its members and with consumers. The industry needs to be commended for that.

    Hansard link – HERE

  • 25/06/2015: Question On Notice, Prohibition of Gestation Sow Stalls

    Mr Pearson to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water—

    1. Given the considerable community concern about the confinement of pigs in gestation sow stalls, will the Government introduce legislation prohibiting the use of gestation sow stalls rather than rely upon industry self-regulation which cannot be enforced by compliance agencies such as the police, Animal Welfare League or the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)?
    1. If so, when?
    2. If not, why not?

    Answer—

    1. No.
    1. Not applicable.
    2. NSW has a robust system in place to address animal cruelty that reflects and is responsive to changing community attitudes and farming practices. Animal welfare is supported in NSW by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (POCTA) and underpinning Codes and Standards. POCTA provides protection for all animals in NSW.
      Any person concerned about an incident of animal welfare abuse should immediately lodge their complaint to the enforcement agencies – RSPCA NSW, Animal Welfare League NSW and NSW Police.
      While there is a legislated nationally agreed commitment to restrict the use of sow stalls to the first six weeks of gestation from 1 July 2017, the Australian pork industry in November 2010 voluntarily committed to pursue a phase out by 2017, meaning sows are loose housed for a minimum of 90 per cent of their pregnancy. Close to 65% of the industry has completed the phase out of sow stalls.

    Question asked on 25 June 2015 (session 56-1) and printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 14.
    Answer received on 30 July 2015 and printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 15.

  • 25/06/2015: Question On Notice, Farm Animal Mutilation Analgesia

    Mr Pearson to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water—

    1. Will the Minister introduce an amendment to section 24 a(iv) and (v) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act NSW 1979 whereby mulesing or other mutilations of sheep such as castrations and tail-docking will require administration of analgesia or pain-relief such as Tri-Solfen and other pre-procedure analgesia such as Carprophen?
    1. If so, when?
    2. If not, why not?

    Answer—

    1. The administration of topical anaesthetic for animal husbandry procedures within the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act NSW 1979 and associated regulations reflect the considerations of the national Australian Animal Welfare Sheep Standards and Guidelines Working Group and the regulatory impact statement relating to the standards. These considerations determined that pain relief is required for animals over 6 months of age.

    Question asked on 25 June 2015 (session 56-1) and printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 14.

    Answer received on 30 July 2015 and printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 15.

  • 24/06/2015: Question Without Notice, kangaroo shooting

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: I direct my question without notice to the Minister for Ageing, representing the Minister for the Environment.

    The Hon. Niall Blair: You have given up on me.

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: No, I have not. Will the Minister investigate and conduct a review of the practice of Macro Meats Proprietary Limited of engaging shooters to kill only male kangaroos, despite this practice having unknown consequences for the sustainability and welfare of kangaroos as well as the integrity and gene pool of the mob, and considering that the practice was never sanctioned by the New South Wales kangaroo management plan?

    The Hon. JOHN AJAKA: The question seeks specific details, especially about being able to differentiate between a female kangaroo and a male kangaroo. I will refer the question to the relevant Minister for an answer.

    Hansard link – HERE

  • 04/06/2015: Question Without Notice, Live Cattle Export

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water. Is the Minister aware that the Northern Star newspaper reported yesterday, 3 June 2015, that a proposal is in place to commence live export of cattle to Indonesia through the Port of Yamba? If so, will the Government legislate to prevent the live export of New South Wales cattle because in doing so it would reflect the extreme concern most citizens of New South Wales have for the welfare of these animals while at sea for 12-plus days and during handling and slaughter in Indonesia, over which Australia has no jurisdiction in animal protection?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I thank the Hon. Mark Pearson for his question. I am aware of the article that appeared in the Northern Star. I am also aware that there is an unusual alliance that has expressed a concern about the information in that article: the meat workers’ union and animal activists in the area. The issue of live trade is a matter for the Commonwealth Government. Currently there are no live export port-handling facilities in New South Wales. Any such proposal would need to be approved by the Commonwealth Government. The only live export trade from New South Wales is genetic export such as sheep and goats, which leave New South Wales by plane. New South Wales supports the Commonwealth’s tough standards and protocols for live export and works to see these as an important measure in protecting the reputation of our livestock industries.

    Two weeks ago I met with other agriculture Ministers from across Australia and the issue of live export was raised, particularly by the Queensland Minister for Agriculture and the Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries. We cannot underestimate the impact that the kneejerk reaction from the previous Federal Labor Government had not only on the live export trade but also on the cattle industry across Australia. It devastated some of the largest employers of Indigenous Australians in northern Australia and put some of those communities into a serious economic downturn. The cattle market has rebounded.

    The Federal Government has worked tirelessly to not only open up other potential markets for live export but also to make sure that we are at the forefront of animal welfare standards when it comes to live export. If Australia was to step out of that market it would more than likely be filled by another country that does not have as stringent animal welfare standards. Australia has a commitment to assist abattoirs throughout Asia to treat cattle that come from other countries as well as cattle coming from Australia. I thank the Hon. Mark Pearson for his question. There is no such proposal that the New South Wales Government is aware of. It is something that is a matter for the Commonwealth Government.

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: I ask a supplementary question. Will the Minister please elucidate on his answer as to how the New South Wales Government can legislate to prevent live export through New South Wales to overseas countries?

    The Hon. Duncan Gay: The best barrier is the Port of Yamba. You would not get a boat of that size in there.

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I acknowledge the response from the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight. He is right, the biggest limiting factor for the Port of Yamba is its physical construction. As to what the New South Wales Government can do to legislate to enable the Commonwealth Government to do something that they are responsible for, if I knew the answer to that I probably would not be standing here.

    Hansard link – HERE

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