Mark 1 Boxes Banned In Light Of Report

AUSTRALIA - Australia's chief veterinary officer, Mark Schipp, has concluded his assessment of cattle restraint boxes saying that Mark 1 boxes do not comply with OIE regulations. His report was welcomed by Minister Joe Ludwig.
calendar icon 1 September 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

On 31 May 2011 the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry asked Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer to coordinate an independent, scientific assessment of the ongoing appropriateness of the Mark I and Mark IV cattle restraint boxes.

Dr Schipp said he has completed his assessment, which was conducted against the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Code, as the internationally accepted guidelines on animal welfare.

The assessment found that Mark I restraint boxes do not comply with elements of the OIE Code.

“The assessment found that it may be possible to modify the Mark I boxes to comply with OIE standards, but that it would also be necessary to ensure personnel are appropriately trained,” Dr Schipp said.

“After reviewing a range of factors, I concluded that the proper use of the Mark IV restraint box is consistent with the requirements of the OIE Code. On this basis, slaughter of cattle using the Mark IV box was found to be appropriate.”

Part of the Chief Veterinary Officer's assessment drew on video footage of the boxes in operation that was provided by several sources including industry and animal welfare organisations.

The Minister for Australia's Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Joe Ludwig, welcomed Dr Schipps report.

"I have referred the CVO’s final report to Mr Bill Farmer for consideration as part of his ongoing review into Australia’s live export trade."

"In addition, as a result of this report, the Australian Government will no longer fund the installation of any further Mark I boxes. The moratorium I have already announced is now a permanent ban."

"Animals exported from Australia under the new regulatory framework operating for the export of cattle to Indonesia will not be processed in traditional Mark I boxes. The use of Mark I boxes without stunning, with roping slaughter and with the use of water to encourage animals to trip, slip or fall are not allowed in the new framework."

Under the government’s new framework for the export of livestock to Indonesia, exporters are required to show that animals are handled and processed in accordance with OIE standards, from the paddock in Australia to the processing facility.

The new regulatory framework will not permit the use of restraint boxes that are inconsistent with OIE requirements, including unmodified Mark I boxes.

The government has established two Industry Government Working Groups to work through the application of these standards to other export markets for Australian livestock.

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