Ensuring best-practice animal health and welfare outcomes is a priority for the Australian cattle feedlot industry.
As part of efforts to achieve this goal, accredited animal welfare officer training is returning from March 2022.
The 1.5-day Animal Welfare Officer (AWO) Certified Training workshops, supported by ALFA, will be rolled-out nationally to help upskill feedlot managers, supervisors, key training personnel and quality assurance officers.
These are the main people employed in the feedlot who have overall responsibility for monitoring and supervising animal welfare practices across the operation.
Workshop content covers up-to-date information, tips and tools for: animal welfare management; assessments; auditing; and training in a feedlot.
There is a combination of classroom and on-site feedlot practical work-based assignments, followed by a post-course assessment process.
Training is supported by Zoetis and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and presenters include Paul Cusack, of Australian Livestock Production Services, and Jeff House, who is the ALFA-MLA Technical Services Officer.
The course includes an information session from ALFA about recent changes to the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS), and an update about Antimicrobial Stewardship Guidelines.
AWO assessment criteria is explained, along with advice about systems for auditing the feedlot.
Training modules include: an overview of ALFA's priorities for animal welfare; good animal welfare practices; nutritional markers of stress; managing pregnancy in cattle; shelter; and an update about the Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) standards.
After the workshop, participants complete post-course assignments based on an animal welfare audit of their own operation.
On successful completion of this assignment, and other course work, participants are awarded the Animal Welfare Officer Skill Set.
This consists of two units of competency through the Registered Training Organisation, TAFE South West Queensland.