Abattoirs will now have to designate a trained animal welfare officer to avoid mistreatment.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said: “This government takes non-compliance of food and animal welfare laws extremely seriously, and these tough new measures are being introduced to foster a culture in which abattoir management and employees fully understand and implement procedures that consistently comply with animal welfare standards.
“The NSW Government will also introduce an additional annual audit specifically focusing on animal welfare compliance and develop a sanctions policy to address any non-compliance with these requirements.”
Animal welfare organisations claimed the new measures were just a “smokescreen”, and urged the government to implement mandatory CCTV surveillance in all abattoirs.
Hodgkinson added that the investigation of Hawkesbury Valley Meat Processors, the western Sydney abattoir whose employees were shown bashing pigs several times in the head in an undercover video back in February, had been completed. The company will be fined a total of AUS$5,200 for breaching its licence conditions, and will be placed on the Food Authority’s ‘name and shame’ register.
Moreover, the abattoir could be subject to additional penalties as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) investigation is ongoing.
“This government has listened to community concern about animal welfare standards in domestic abattoirs following the incident at Hawkesbury Valley Meat Processors in February this year, and now we’re acting to ensure animal welfare standards in domestic abattoirs are improved,” Hodgkinson said.