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COVID-19 impact on Australian agriculture

Sally Beech - Wednesday, March 18, 2020

It's near impossible to disengage from the COVID-19 discussion. Significant impacts are being felt on global economies and disruptions to day-to-day life extend beyond the inexplicable toilet paper panic. Australian agriculture is a highly globalised industry, depending on export markets to sell our produce and importing key inputs such as chemicals and fertilisers from overseas countries. So, what will be the likely impact on the industry from this pandemic?   View the rest of the post here

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An offer from farmers to help Michelle Bridges.

Bill Farmer - Monday, October 24, 2016
Dear Michelle, you might recall I wrote to you back in 2014 in response to some comments you made about farmers who were being secretly filmed as they went about their daily work on pig and poultry farms. At that time the farmers were complaining about animal welfare activists secretly breaking into farms and planting video surveillance equipment in the hope of obtaining footage of farmers mistreating their animals.  View the rest of the post here
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Will national free-range egg standards worsen hen welfare?

- Friday, June 19, 2015

On Friday 12th of June, Australian Consumer Affairs Ministers agreed to direct officials to prepare a draft national standard on egg labelling for consideration by Ministers later this year to enhance consumer confidence and certainty around egg labelling. According to the statement, Government officials will consult with affected stakeholders and prepare a cost benefit analysis. While superficially this seems like a good idea, those supporting this move might like to think a little more carefully on the whole issue. View the rest of the post here

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Realities of animal welfare getting lost in personalities and emotion

- Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The four-page feature piece on Animals Australia CEO Lyn White in the Good Weekend supplement of the Fairfax weekend newspapers highlighted one of the major problems with debates on animal welfare in Australia. The focus on personalities and emotions diverts attention from objective information about real changes that are being made, and creates the risk that policy changes will be made that actually reduce animal welfare standards, especially for farm animals. View the rest of the post here

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To TPP or not to TPP ?

- Sunday, May 24, 2015

Australia has had some recent success in negotiating new free trade agreements with Japan, Korea and China, three of the nations largest trading partners. The general consensus of analysts is that these agreements will deliver significant benefits, especially to Australian agricultural exporters, because they will reduce some of the tariffs and trade restrictions imposed on Australian agricultural imports into those countries. The next cab off the trade agreement rank is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and it is fair to say that this proposed agreement in generating angst in the community, with some groups proposing that Australia should not sign up. Separating scaremongering from reality, and identifying exactly how Australian agriculture would fare under the TPP is a challenging task, but it seems that Australia will be better off being a member of this agreement, than remaining outside it. View the rest of the post here

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Ignorance is the greatest biosecurity risk factor

- Monday, May 18, 2015

In the aftermath of the ‘war on terriers’ involving Johnny Depp’s dogs “Boo” and “Pistol” and Agriculture Minster Barnaby Joyce, Australian farmers should be very worried. The incident revealed that some Australian radio hosts are so ignorant of the issues surrounding biosecurity that they were prepared to lambast the Minister for insisting that a visiting ‘celebrity’ obey Australian law. But perhaps even more concerning was the fact that more than 20,000 Australians were prepared to sign a ‘save the dogs’ online petition promoted by View the rest of the post here

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To improve farm animal welfare, forget the five freedoms.

- Friday, May 01, 2015

For many animal welfare organisations in Australia, the ‘five freedoms’ are commonly used as the basis for determining what is, and what is not an acceptable farm practice from an animal welfare perspective. However, advances in animal welfare science since these were first expressed have effectively rendered the ‘five freedoms’ redundant, and they are becoming a major impediment to efforts to improve the welfare of farm animals.  View the rest of the post here

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Australian Wagyu cattle labelled as Japanese and sell for $30,000

- Sunday, March 15, 2015

Australia Wagyu beef is selling in Japan at up to $30,000 a carcass, and consumers don’t even know it’s Australian. This could lead to the conclusion that there is little value in an ‘Australian’ brand, but there is a bit more to the story. View the rest of the post here

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A case of misguided priorities

- Thursday, February 19, 2015

The fallout from the contaminated frozen berries issue continues to escalate, raising questions about Australian food labelling laws, quarantine and biosecurity standards, and ultimately the longer-term implications for Australia's food processing and food retail sectors. It will bring a renewed focus on the role of Australia's two major supermarket food retailers, and ultimately raises some very challenging questions about the priorities of these two in relation to the well-being of Australian food consumers. View the rest of the post here

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Contaminated berries highlight some major issues for Australian agriculture

- Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The revelations over recent days that imported frozen berries appear to be the cause of hepatitis in a number of cases in Australia over the past week brings into focus two very important issues for Australian agriculture - country-of-origin food labelling and the brand image of Australian-grown products. Both provide potential for Australian-grown products to gain a competitive advantage, but both require industry and government action, which has been somewhat lacking in recent times. View the rest of the post here

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