LGAP improves animal welfare by encouraging and incentivising improved behaviour and therefore animal handling practices. Poor practices are also identified more effectively and managed accordingly. Ultimately a nonconforming facility or operator stands to lose their certification and therefore their ability to send and receive Australian livestock. Licensing arrangements remain the responsibility of the Department and the Department will retain its right to suspend or cancel export licenses.
By defining what behaviours are expected, incentivising facilities and operators to meet with these expectations, providing support and guidance to assist practice change, independently monitoring such practices, fostering continual improvement and enforcing consequences when problems occur, LGAP can foster powerful change to animal welfare practices.
The development of LGAP was undertaken over the course of several years and involved a diverse and extensive range of stakeholders including subject matter experts, animal welfare groups (including Prof Temple Grandin), livestock producer groups, representatives from the Department, in-market representatives as well as livestock exporters.
Consideration was also given to more than 25 international and domestic standards, guides, codes and programs including those provided by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and ISEAL Alliance.
The provision of clear, unambiguous standards, the use of internal, external and unscheduled auditing, the identification of nonconformities, the expectation of corrective action being taken, the introduction of Levels as a pathway for improvement, the use of risk assessments and the provision of supporting tools and resources all contribute to continual improvement and the attainment of higher levels of animal welfare.