Mt Barker wins yard welfare award

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser

The Mt Barker Saleyards have taken out the 2017 national award for animal welfare in saleyards and lairages.

The award is presented by the Australian Livestock Markets Association at its annual general meeting and conference, which this year was held in Rockhampton.

Shire of Plantagenet saleyards manager Stewart Smith said workers ensured there was a heavy focus on the environmental implications of a saleyard.

“It was a great team effort and (I’m) very proud of the hard work by all staff on improving animal welfare, including soft floor matting installed in 2013, new dispersal roofing and more holding pens,” he said.

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“It opens up public perception that we are focused on always improving our animal welfare standards, which goes hand-in-hand with animal compliance,

“We at all times strive for excellence in these areas.”

Last year the Mt Barker saleyards was named runner-up but it had never been recognised in any award area before.

The facility has a weekly cattle sale every Thursday at 10am and turns over 67,000 head annually through the sale system and private weighs.

Mr Smith said it was an attractive sales facility for cattle farmers spread over a wide area.

“Presentation of the complex and sale cattle, easy workings of the yard facility, friendly atmosphere to all stakeholders,” he said. Mr Smith said cattle were sourced from as far away as Esperance, Merredin and Manjimup.

“We always believe that we are doing the very best in our field, which reflects on the users of the yards and the buyers who support us every week,” he said.

“If we care, it shows that we also care about vendors’ cattle.”

Mr Smith, along with the Shire is an active member of the Australian Livestock Marketing Association, receiving updates regularly for eight years on what is relevant in the Cattle industry Australia-wide.

“We have a very good rela-tionship with the Department of Primary Industries and Re-gional Development and push heavily the ‘fit to load’ guide-lines for all cattle,” Mr Smith said.

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