Legislative Council, Wednesday 1 September 2021
Ms FORREST - to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
1. Have there been any further animal welfare concerns raised since 1 June 2021;
2. How many visits, with prior notification and/or no notification listed separately to Van Dairy VDL Farms have been made by animal welfare officers since 1 June 2021; and
3. What was the outcome of these visits; and
4. If no further animal welfare site visits have been conducted, how is animal welfare being monitored at the VDL farms?
1. From 1 June 2021, there have been seven general areas of animal welfare concerns raised by various government and industry members that were investigated by BT animal welfare staff There have been no formal animal welfare complaints made to the RSPCA or the DPIPWE.
2. Since 1 June 2021, animal welfare officers have made one visit with prior notification involving four farms. There has also been a separate liaison visit to the animal welfare officer at the Van office in Smithton.
3. These visits have generally confirmed that appropriate voluntary action is being undertaken including; relocating cattle, providing additional feed with expert nutritionist advice, veterinary treatment of lameness and other conditions, laneway repair and appropriate calf management.
4. Animal welfare is being monitored at the VDL farms by the collective reporting of all government agencies being shared at fortnightly meetings. All relevant agencies are represented including the Circular Head Council and Dairy Tasmania. Follow-up discussions also occur with key external service providers.
Animal welfare officers maintain an open-door approach with farm management staff including via the August Smithton Dairy Information Seminars. Confidential reporting of animal welfare concerns is possible via the well-established mechanisms.
The next scheduled visit is in five weeks - to assess spring calving.