Animal Welfare Policy
At Paraway, we recognise that humane treatment of animals is not only an ethical responsibility but also leads to better livestock quality and production outcomes. We ensure that the design and management of our production systems consider the welfare of our animals on farm and through the supply chain.
Paraway’s approach to animal welfare is framed within relevant legislation and the Farm Animal Welfare Councils (FAWC) “Five Freedoms” which seeks to ensure that all animals in our production systems are provided:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst by ready access to water and a diet to maintain health and vigour.
- Freedom from day to day physical discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and comfortable rest areas.
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to display normal patterns of behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and appropriate company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from unnecessary fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment, which avoid mental suffering.
Paraway believes that the Five Freedoms are not aspirations, rather they are the minimum acceptable standard. We aim to provide animal welfare outcomes that exceed these freedoms where possible.
Paraway operates within four state and territory jurisdictions each of which has animal welfare legislation. They include:
New South Wales - Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979
Victoria - Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986
Queensland - Animal Care and Protection Act 2001
Northern Territory - Animal Welfare Act
The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle and Sheep were agreed by State and Territory Governments in 2016 and are being regulated into law in most State and Territory Governments.
The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Land Transport of Livestock are being regulated into law by State and Territory governments.
Paraway complies with these laws and animal welfare standards as they apply to our operations.
Audience and applicability
This policy applies to all Paraway employees, livestock enterprises and geographical regions unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Approach to specific animal welfare issues
Paraway's approach to animal welfare is based on the Five Freedoms as the minimum standard. The specific focus areas include nutrition and water, housing and shelter, genetics, monitoring and treating illness, animal behaviour, confinement, and welfare at slaughter. How these animal welfare issues relate to the Five Freedoms is shown in Table 1. and described below.
Table 1. How Paraway's approach to animal welfare relates to the Five Freedoms
|Paraway’s focus area||Freedom from hunger and thirst||Freedom from discomfort||Freedom from pain, injury and disease||Freedom to express normal behaviour||Freedom from fear and distress|
|Nutrition and water||X|
|Housing and shelter||X|
|Monitoring and treating illness||X||X||X|
|Welfare at slaughter||X||X|
Nutrition and water
Providing adequate food and water to our livestock maintains the health and vigour of our animals. Nutrition is a fundamental part of livestock performance and the nutritional requirements of all Paraway livestock is carefully monitored. The animals feed predominantly on the pastures that are produced on the properties. Our sheep are reared without growth promotants. When seasonal conditions do not provide adequate feed growth, supplementary feeding is undertaken or sales programs may be accelerated to reduce the stocking rate on the property.
Water is provided by dams, waterways and tanks and troughs. Water availability is monitored regularly by visual inspection and increasingly by telemetry, to enable rapid response to issues, ensuring our livestock are not subject to prolonged periods without water.
Housing and shelter
Paraway seeks to provide our livestock with an appropriate, comfortable environment with adequate shelter and rest areas. Paraway’s properties have features such as tree lines and other shelter belts that provide stock shade and protection from adverse weather conditions. We also monitor weather conditions and provide additional protection when extreme weather events are predicted.
In addition to providing appropriate conditions for the animals on farm, Paraway selects animals with physical and genetic traits that best suit the farm’s climatic and environmental conditions. Where available we also select animals with genetic traits that reduce the need for dehorning and plain bodied rams which reduce the risk of fly strike. We monitor the genetics of our herds and selectively breed to promote favourable characteristics.
It is Paraway’s position to use selective breeding and not genetic engineering or cloning to achieve these outcomes.
Monitoring and treating illness
Healthy, thriving livestock are the foundation of a profitable pastoral enterprise and Paraway monitors the health and welfare condition of our stock regularly. When illness or disease is observed, therapeutic treatment is provided, which may include the administration of antibiotics to sick animals, and if necessary, treatments to animals that are exposed to sick animals. Antibiotics are not routinely administered to our sheep or cattle, however our tropical and subtropical cattle are given an antibiotic during weaning, when they are highly susceptible to diseases such as coccidiosis.
Antibiotics are not administered as a growth promoter in either sheep or cattle.
Paraway operates predominately extensive pasture based livestock enterprises where animals are free to express natural behaviours. Our stock are not unnecessarily kept in isolation or at densities that cause abnormal behaviours.
Our on-farm cattle and sheep operations are predominantly confinement free, except as a welfare measure to ensure nutritional requirements are met during periods of drought, or to protect the animals during extreme weather events. From time to time, a small proportion of our sheep and cattle may be kept in feedlots with sufficient space and facilities to satisfy their physiological and behavioural needs.
Paraway adopts husbandry practices that minimise the risk to the welfare of our animals and husbandry procedures are only undertaken when there are no alternatives and they result in an increase in the lifetime welfare of the animal. All animals that are subject to surgical procedures are provided pain relief.
Welfare at slaughter
All cattle and sheep for slaughter are sold to licenced abattoirs. All licenced abattoirs are required to meet the requirements set out in:
Australian standard for the hygienic production and transport of meat and meat products for human consumption.
Industry Animal Welfare Standards for Livestock Processing Establishments preparing meat for human consumption (2nd edition)
Both of these standards require animals to be handled in a way to minimise suffering, provides shelter, feed and water and to be stunned prior to slaughter.
Responsibilities and delegations
Maintaining animal welfare standards at Paraway is every employee’s responsibility. Station Managers are responsible for the day to day management of animal welfare as described in this policy.Station Managers report animal welfare incidents and metrics to their General Managers and the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Manager who oversees the implementation of the animal welfare policy and reports to the Board on a quarterly basis.
Farm personnel monitor various animal welfare performance indicators including body condition scores, mortalities and any reportable animal welfare incidents, which are reported to management. Quarterly animal welfare indicators are provided to the Board of Directors.
Paraway maintains a reporting process for animal welfare Incidents. If an incident occurs, the Station Manager will report this to the General Manager and ESG Manager. The incident is investigated and a report provided to the Paraway Leadership Team. The Leadership Team will assess whether the incident constitutes a reportable animal welfare incident, which is reported to the Paraway Board.
Where an animal welfare incident occurs on a Paraway property the incident is documented, investigated, actioned and tracked on the Paraway Animal Welfare register and included in the quarterly report to the Board.
Paraway is committed to ensuring that our staff are provided with the skills and training to meet these requirements.
We are active participants in industry forums and take a continuous improvement approach to developing technology and practices that focus on animal well being.
We are committed to transparency of animal welfare performance, with regular reports on compliance being provided to the board and to investors.