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The Bendigo Livestock Exchange must provide shelter to all animals in its care

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The Bendigo Livestock Exchange sold a massive 2.19 million sheep during the 2018- 2020 period, earning it a reputation as the second largest sheep selling center in Victoria. [1] Of those 2.19m sheep, not one w ...Read More

The Bendigo Livestock Exchange sold a massive 2.19 million sheep during the 2018- 2020 period, earning it a reputation as the second largest sheep selling center in Victoria. [1] Of those 2.19m sheep, not one was provided with shelter while consigned to the Bendigo saleyards.

According to Environment Victoria, in January 2018 Bendigo experienced a record breaking 12 consecutive days over 35°C (breaking the previous record of eight days, set in 2014). However, despite the area being the location of one of the worst heat waves to have occurred in the past 10 years, sheep sold at the Bendigo Livestock Exchange have no access to shelter. As a result, animals are subjected to scorching hot weather conditions while confined to the facility.

Agriculture Victoria, in its Sheep Shelter guidelines, states that: “Sheep should be provided with shelter in times of above or below average temperatures. This can minimise the impact of climatic extremes and prevent suffering or possibly death”. It also indicates that, “It is important that shelter is available to all animals at the same time. It is preferable that shelter includes sufficient room for all animals to be able to lie down, as this assists with cooling”. [2]

The Industry Animal Welfare Standards defines extremes of weather as:

"Temperature and climatic conditions that individually or in combination, are likely predispose to livestock to heat or cold stress. ‘Extremes’ of weather can include heavy rain, hail, snow, chilling wind and high heat, all of which can lead to conditions of heat or cold stress in livestock, particularly livestock unaccustomed to these conditions or that are compromised (eg. young, weak or ill animals)". [3]

“Victoria’s climate will continue to warm, with maximum and minimum temperatures increasing over this century” [4] Due to Climate change, extreme weather conditions in Victoria will only increase. As a result, there will be a greater need to protect all animals from heat and cold stress.

Other major Livestock Exchanges located in Victoria provide shelter. Ballarat (selling area only), Horsham, Hamilton, Pakenham and Leongatha all provide shelter for animals, therefore adhere to the guidelines set down by Agriculture Victoria.

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We, the undersigned, call on the council of the City of Greater Bendigo to recognize and acknowledge Agriculture Victoria's Sheep Shelter guidelines and abide by the recommendation that specifies the necessity for shelter during all weather conditions.

We request that council engage an independent auditor to complete a compliance assessment report for the Bendigo Livestock Exchange. This report should focus on animal welfare concerns, workplace health and safety (WHS) and environmental impacts caused by the facility.

Council should raise the animal welfare standard at the Bendigo Livestock Exchange to, at a minimum, match the other major Victorian Livestock Exchanges. Adequate shelter should be constructed to protect the animals from the extremes of the Victorian weather.

References

[1] https://www.mla.com.au/globalassets/mla-corporate/...

[2] Sheep shelter guidelines | Health and welfare | Sheep | Livestock and animals | Agriculture Victoria

[3] INDUSTRY ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS pg. 55 Appendix 4: Definitions

https://aawcs.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/33...

[4] Victorias-Climate-Science-Report-2019.pdf (climatechange.vic.gov.au)

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