Meat industry welcomes saleyards backdown

The WA Meat Industry Authority has welcomed an RSPCA backdown on the future of saleyards.

WAMIA chairman David Lock said yesterday that saleyards would remain a fundamental part of the buying and selling of livestock in Australia for at least the next 20 years.

His comments came after the RSPCA distanced itself from beef industry guidelines it issued late last year that recommended an end to selling livestock through saleyards.

RSPCA Australia president Lynne Bradshaw said the society was not calling for a ban on saleyards and acknowledged recent improvements to address animal welfare concerns.

"While RSPCA Australia strongly encourages the direct consignment of farm animals because of the inherent stress caused by multiple transport and handling, we recognise that for many producers saleyards will continue to be part of the supply chain," she said.

Mr Lock said the idea put forward by the RSPCA that most transactions could be conducted over the internet to avoid the use of saleyards was "nonsense". He said internet sales were an option for a small portion of the industry.

He said the RSPCA had been involved in the planning and design of the cattle and sheep saleyards at Muchea operated by WAMIA.

"Given their involvement in Muchea we couldn't understand how they could then turn around and say saleyards are terrible," Mr Lock said.

"I think the RSPCA is a well respected organisation. They have the potential to be very relevant in the livestock industry but this sort of comment about saleyards is cringe-worthy."

The Muchea Livestock Centre, opened in 2010, is the biggest undercover saleyard in Australia with an annual capacity of 120,000 cattle and 1,000,000 sheep.

The West Australian

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