22 June 2016
Statement in relation to ABC report regarding Dr Lynn Simpson
“The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) has been working with our members to better understand and realign itself with social expectations since late 2013,” ALEC chief executive officer Alison Penfold said today.
“For many years our industry has been outwardly focused on the needs of our overseas customers, rather than changing expectations of the Australian public. The ongoing process of aligning Australia’s livestock export industry with community values is a challenging one for ALEC members.
“The change process has allowed a fresh perspective to be placed on past attitudes and behaviours towards people and organisations external to the industry. This applies to those people and organisations who challenged the status quo, or like veterinarian Dr Lynn Simpson, who sought to provide constructive advice to exporters on improvements.
“I reiterate the apology made last week by ALEC chairman Simon Crean (pictured above), in his on-camera interview with the ABC, for any past behaviours which may have offended Dr Simpson.
“In saying this, ALEC reiterates that at no time did we seek Dr Simpson’s dismissal. The concern at the time was one of governance, specifically the conflict of interest arising from her submission to the ASEL Review at the same time as being a technical adviser to the same Review.
“ALEC cannot change the past, but we do intend to influence how current and future Australian Government Accredited Veterinarians (AAVs) can have their views heard and help inform welfare improvements at an industry level. With this in mind, ALEC will be inviting Dr Simpson, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and Vets Against Live Export (not affiliated with AVA) to participate in a workshop to discuss:
– The development of a Code of Conduct that outlines the expectations of exporters and AAVs;
– The development of a grievance mechanism for AAVs that respects their professional integrity and provides a platform for resolution of matters that relate to specifically to animal welfare; and
– An annual workshop between industry and AAVs to review and discuss animal welfare matters and engage on the industry’s RD&E program
“The Australian livestock export Industry is focused on utilising its levies on research, development and extension to address the key causes of morbidity and mortality towards our goal of zero harm, including those concerns raised by Dr Simpson. Examples of this work includes the development of a salmonella vaccine and research to combat the threat of inanition. Our industry is also completing a project to develop indicators of animal welfare along the supply chain and this project is intended to provide a suite of measures that improve the transparency and targeting of efforts which will have the greatest impact.
“ALEC and our members are heavily invested in the ongoing improvement of our industry and we value the input of animal welfare professionals associated with our industry. We acknowledge that we have more work to do.”
PDF version available: ALEC Statement 22062016 – 730 Lynn Simpson FINAL
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