June 1, 2012
Western Australian farmers say animal welfare changes being considered by the state Labor Party could create too much red tape. ??Strengthening Animal Welfare is a discussion paper detailing a series of recommendations designed to improve animal welfare guidelines. ??One of the recommendations is to introduce a standardised food labelling system, to show whether animals were treated humanely.?? WA Farmers Federation president Dale Park has lodged a submission highlighting farmers’ concerns if more stringent policies are introduced. ??”We’re a little bit worried about what we see as potentially onerous conditions that will be put on farmers and animal keepers, so that will be some of the chicken producers,” he said.?? “We’re a bit concerned about some of the things they say about that, so we’re trying to save ourselves from problems a little bit later on. “??Mr Park says phasing out caged eggs would mean increased costs for consumers.?? “We’re a little bit worried that surely we want to make things better for the animals rather than just the knee-jerk reaction,” he said. ??”These things have to be practical and if you’re going to introduce these sorts of things you have to then understand that the cost of production is then going to rise quite quickly. “??The RSPCA says consumers are becoming increasingly aware of animal welfare issues. ??Spokesman Tim Mayne says introducing a standard labelling system would allow consumers to make an informed decision. ??”The RSPCA understands that the majority of consumers what to see truth in labelling,” he said. ??”In other words, they want to know where their products have come from and how they’ve been produced.?? “So research has shown that after price and nutrition, the third biggest consideration is how food is produced. “??He says the association agrees with suggestions to phase out the live export trade and remove hens from cages.?? “It’s a matter of being realistic about these things. It’s a matter of negotiating with industry, government and also taking note of what consumers want and their concerns, particularly when it comes to keeping hens in cages,” he said.