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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2008
page 69 C aTTL e COUNCIL OF a USTR a LI a Y ea RBOOK 2008 The Western australian meat industry is facing concerns regarding the inability to secure kill space, labour supply limiting the expansion of single to double shift operations and the need to attract new markets to increase profitability, but the inability to offer spare capacity to service these markets. along with the importation of beef from the eastern States (eS) for domestic consumption, the exporting of livestock to the eS for processing and the demand for processors and producers to work together to reduce costs, volatility and to support closer relationships with customers. Not to mention the incredibly poor prices being paid for Western australian beef. WaFarmers demonstrated strong industry leadership by organising a Meat Industry Think Tank meeting in September 2007 where all players of the industry were well represented. This meeting then lead to WaFarmers organising a Meat producers’ Crisis Meeting in November where approximately 400 farmers gathered in short notice to gain an understanding of the issues that have contributed to the current situation and identify possible solutions moving forward. a positive outcome from this meeting was Coles coming back into the Wa market, agreeing to purchase between 500 – 600 head of Wa cattle per week. WaFarmers continued to play a prominent role in responding to criticism of the live export trade by animal welfare groups and worked with industry to deliver balanced argument relating to trade practices during 2007. The long awaited decision by the perth Magistrates Court where by emanuel exports were acquitted over allegations they breached the animal Welfare act in 2003 was an important move for the live trade industry to move forward and continue to make progress on the positive work being done by the industry. additionally, WaFarmers have spent time defending numerous claims following various stories and reports claiming if people reduced their consumption of meat and dairy products the pace of climate change would reduce and also eating red meat is linked to cancer. WaFarmers put in efforts informing people of the actual truths that reports ignore the potential of technology to bring about reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the livestock sector, overlooks the value of red meat in a healthy balanced diet and are generally ignorant of reliable data on the subject of climate change as it relates to livestock production. The NLIS program in Western australia is currently working very well with the Implementation group working tirelessly on all aspects of the system. 2007 also saw major progress with the Muchea saleyard construction well underway. The selling off of the Midland saleyards site and its assets is anticipated to generate $100 million which should go back into the saleyard industry. as we progress through 2008 climate change, long distance transport and animal welfare are going to be the three main issues that will face the Western australian cattle industry in the future. In 2007 the WaFarmers Meat Section responded to key issues that will shape the future of the meat industry in Western australia. Western australian Farmers Federation