Vietnam Unveils New Animal Welfare Standards at Symposium

In a significant move for animal welfare, Vietnam has recently introduced national animal welfare standards, closely aligning with those for imported Australian-bred cattle. This initiative, unveiled at the Australia-Vietnam Beef Cattle Symposium in Hanoi, marks a pivotal moment in the region’s livestock management and welfare practices.

The Growing Vietnam-Australia Partnership:

Over the last decade, Vietnam has emerged as a crucial player in the live export industry, notably becoming Australia’s second-largest market for beef cattle. This growing partnership has paved the way for enhanced animal welfare practices in Vietnam, influencing local standards and showcasing a commitment to global welfare guidelines.

The Development Journey:

The journey to these new standards was a collaborative effort spanning three years, led by Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. This process involved extensive consultations with government officials and industry stakeholders, ensuring the standards were practical and widely adoptable.

Support and Training Initiatives:

Key to the successful implementation of these standards are the comprehensive information campaigns and training resources developed for the Vietnamese cattle and beef industry. Australian assistance played a pivotal role here, with the Livestock Export Program (LEP) – a collaboration between LiveCorp and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) – providing essential professional development and training. This initiative also received a significant boost from a $135,000 grant from the Australian Government. Dr Michael Patching initiated the project while still the manager of the LEP program in Vietnam and was present to witness the standards coming into effect.

A Global Perspective on Animal Welfare:

Australia’s unique stance in the live export industry, requiring adherence to or surpassing the World Organisation for Animal Health’s welfare guidelines, has set a high bar internationally. Vietnam’s adoption of these standards not only benefits local cattle but also aligns the country with these global welfare practices.

Next Steps:

Vietnam’s introduction of new animal welfare standards sets a precedent for ways an international country can positively influence the progress of national standards that can underpin change. But the challenge will now be ensuring that the standards are adhered to by all stakeholders and are not used to create unfair trade barriers for those trying to do the right thing.

Work is ongoing in Vietnam and Alta Food and Agriculture is busy with training and technology improvements to stunning practices and technology.

To find out more contact Dr Michael Patching for a chat

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