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Stockpersons’ attitudes towards animal welfare within the livestock export industry

Talk Overview
 | The viewpoint of the Australian public towards animal welfare in the live export industry has previously been explored; however, the attitudes of people who work in the industry is unknown. A survey was completed by 265 people including producers, feedlot and shipboard workers, veterinarians and exporters. The survey was completed in English, Arabic, Bangla, Vietnamese, Filipino, Bahasa Indonesian and covered participants from Australia/ New Zealand, SE Asia and the Middle East. The majority of respondents agreed/strongly agreed (97%) that ‘livestock should be treated with respect’, that ‘livestock have feelings’ (88%), that ‘when moving livestock, it is better to remain calm than shout in a loud voice’ (88%) and that ‘it is important to move livestock slowly’ (89%). While many believed that animal welfare in their workplace was satisfactory, many suggested improvements. Subsequently, respondents were found to show empathy and compassion towards their charges and consider the welfare of the animals as important. Participants also demonstrated a commitment to improving welfare in their workplace. Mann-Whitney U tests found that some responses differed according to nationality, religion, role in industry and age. Non-Australians, those describing themselves as religious and people aged over 30 years were more likely to disagree with the statement ‘hitting cattle helps when moving them’. These results challenge the previously proposed theory that workers involved with exported livestock have an inhumane attitude towards the animals under their care. This survey is an important step towards addressing these misconceptions and to help determine ways to facilitate industry improvement in animal welfare.
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