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Barnaby Joyce’s knowledge of sheep and cattle farming will be a major asset in his new role as Minister for Agriculture, says RSPCA Australia.

“As someone who comes from a rural background and grew up on a family farm, Minister Joyce will know and appreciate the importance of animal welfare to a successful livestock enterprise and we look forward to working with him,” said RSPCA Australia President, Lynne Bradshaw.

“The Australian community has high expectations when it comes to government and industry delivery of good animal welfare standards and I am very optimistic that the new Minister will use his position to further protect and enhance the welfare of Australian animals because in so doing he will secure a stable future for Australia’s livestock industry.”

Ms Bradshaw said that, as the nation’s leading animal welfare organisation, RSPCA Australia was looking forward to providing the Minister with evidence-based independent advice on animal welfare across a broad range of animal issues.

“The RSPCA sees reducing reliance on the live export trade as a key priority for action for the incoming Government,” she said. “Increasing meat exports rather than live animals will not only reduce the risk to producers from abrupt foreign policy changes by importing countries, it will create more jobs right here in Australia and ensure animals are handled, transported and processed in Australia according to Australian standards.

“The new government can now move to strengthen Australian agriculture’s ‘clean, green’ image and seek out new market opportunities by positioning Australia as an exporter of high-value livestock products,” Ms Bradshaw said.

“Further, Minister Joyce’s portfolio also brings with it the responsibility of driving the future implementation of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy, launched in 2005 by the previous Coalition government.

“Good animal welfare also means strengthening Australia’s own animal welfare standards so the community can be assured that both government and industry value animals and are committed to continuously improving their welfare,” Ms Bradshaw said.

Media contact: Elise Meakin, 0419 748 907, emeakin@rspca.org.au.

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