BENDIGO livestock agents don’t believe new RSPCA guidelines on cattle, which call for a ban on the sale of cattle in saleyards, are achievable.
The RSPCA launched the guidelines with the aim of reducing the amount of stress imposed on cattle during the selling process.
RSPCA scientific officer Melina Tensen said the guidelines set out the organisation’s vision on how cattle welfare could be improved in the next three to five years.
“We propose cattle should not be sold in salesyards, in order to reduce the stress on the animal,” she said.
“Transport is stressful for the animals, including the loading and unloading, and the time off feed and water.
“The RSPCA is keen to see how things can be improved from an animal welfare point of view.”
Mr Tensen said this may not necessarily benefit producers and agents.
Elders Bendigo livestock manager Nigel Starick said some cattle had to be sold in the saleyards.
“We do sell a lot of cattle direct but that can’t happen for all cattle,” he said. “It would not work.
“Farmers want to go to a saleyard and make a selection on how they want to buy the cattle, instead of driving out to 15 or 20 farms to make a decision.
“People wouldn’t have time and couldn’t afford to do it.”
Mr Starick said livestock agencies were constantly trying to improve the welfare of the animals.
“In general, by today’s standard, it is far more advanced than what used to be done.
“Animal welfare is a major part of our industry. We’re always trying to improve.”
Ms Tensen agreed that agents and producers had been proactive in developing strategies to care for livestock at saleyards.
“There is good work going in saleyards improving animal welfare, (but) the RSPCA is always keen to see how things can be improved.”