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.
This policy applies to all Paraway employees, contractors, visitors, livestock enterprises and geographical regions unless explicitly stated otherwise.
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.
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 jurisdictional laws and animal welfare standards as they apply to our operations.
Approach to specific animal welfare issues
Paraway's approach to animal welfare framed within 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.
- 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 are carefully monitored by regular body condition score assessments which are reported to the Board.
Our animals feed predominantly on the pastures that are produced on the properties. Our sheep, breeding cattle and EU cattle are reared without hormone 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, bores, 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
Our livestock are provided with an appropriate, comfortable environment with adequate shelter and rest areas. Paraway’s cattle and sheep grazing properties, being predominantly extensive grazing systems, have features such as paddock trees, 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 surgical modifications. 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. Our aim to minimise the use of antibiotics and they 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 disease.
Antibiotics are not administered as a growth promoter in our sheep or pasture-based cattle.
- Animal behaviour
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, though they may be confined as a welfare measure to ensure nutritional requirements are met during periods of drought, or to protect the animals during extreme weather events.
At any time, a small proportion of our sheep and cattle are finished in feedlots with sufficient space and facilities to satisfy their physiological and behavioural needs.
- Husbandry practices
Paraway adopts husbandry practices that minimise the risk to the welfare of our animals and husbandry procedures are only undertaken using methods which minimise pain and result in an increase in the lifetime welfare of the animals.
- 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, provided shelter, feed and water and to be stunned prior to slaughter.
All Paraway livestock contracted for sale directly to slaughter are either:
- Sold to animal welfare accredited abattoirs which are independently audited or,
- Sold to abattoirs audited by Paraway staff to ensure that livestock are managed to minimise stress and pain and are correctly stunned prior to slaughter.
Compliance with this Policy
To ensure that staff and contractors manage livestock to an acceptable standard, Paraway ensures that staff are appropriately experienced or trained in the management of livestock, and that they are inducted into this policy and associated animal welfare procedures.
- Responsibilities and delegations
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, actioned and tracked on the Paraway Animal Welfare register and a report provided to the Paraway Leadership Team. The Leadership Team assesses whether the incident constitutes a reportable animal welfare incident, which is reported to the Paraway Board.
This policy sets out the minimum standards required for Paraway employees. Where specific requirements are inconsistent with this policy these should immediately be referred to the document owner.
Any instances of non-compliance with this policy and related document/s should be treated in accordance with the misconduct policy.
Non-compliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
Any deviation to the instructions in this Policy and related mandatory instructions requires pre approval from the Regional General Manager who will report this to the ESG Manager.