- IMPROVING WELFARE
- ENSURING CONFORMANCE
- STRENGTHENING ESCAS
Consultation and research
The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) was developed in just six weeks in 2011. An Australian Government review of ESCAS in 2015 found that the system had done much to help improve the welfare and treatment of exported livestock. This review also, however, found that the short development time and immediate implementation had resulted in a system which is at times, “clunky, rigid and complex.” The basis for LGAP, developed over a much longer timeframe and through a more rigorous process consistent with international guidelines is to build on the strong platform created in 2011 and improve ESCAS. LGAP is a program that provides assurances that the welfare of animals exported from Australia is being protected and demonstrates that the industry is being proactive in providing this assurance.
As an international program, LGAP would be required to operate outside Australia and across international borders, therefore development of the Program needed to be sensitive to international requirements as well as the cultural, social, economical, political, technological and legal factors that exist in foreign countries.
Governance and guidance
The development of LGAP was awarded by competitive tender to a seven-person Project Team of subject matter experts operating in consultation with an Industry-Government Consultative Committee.
Project Team members included experts in the area of project management, international conformity assessment, international animal welfare, IT systems, governance and supply chains.
The Industry-Government Consultative Committee included representatives from the live export industry, the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and Resources, the Australian Veterinary Association, the livestock producers' R&D service provider: MLA and the Project Team. The Committee was independently chaired.
An independent Standards Committee was also convened to assist with the formation of the Program Standards. The formation of this Committee was guided by principles laid down by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the ISEAL Alliance. Committee members represented the Australian live export industry, the livestock producers' R&D service provider, in-market stakeholders and animal welfare experts. This Committee was also independently chaired.
Consultation and dialogue
Supplementing these structures was intensive consultation and constructive dialogue with a range of stakeholders over the 18 month development period.
Consultation occurred with a number of stakeholders including (but not limited to): the RSPCA Australia, Animals Australia, World Animal Protection, Professor Temple Grandin, Dr Bernard Vallet, the Department of Agriculture, the Minister for Agriculture, in-market stakeholders in the Middle East, Indonesia and South East Asia and Australia livestock producer representative organisations as well as livestock exporters.
The LGAP Standards were also made available for a 60 day public comment period, consistent with expectations of the ISO, the WTO and ISEAL Alliance.
International precedents and science
LGAP has been based upon international guidelines as specified by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), ISO and the WTO. The ESCAS Animal Welfare Standards were also used as a basis for the Program.
In addition to these international guidelines, the formation of LGAP considered more than 35 programs, codes, standards, requirements or other such materials from Australia and around the world, as well as Australia's major export market's animal welfare legislation. Significant research was undertaken to establish, where possible, a scientific basis for all requirements in the LGAP Standards. Where a scientific basis could not be established, other precedents that existed were considered.