GOVERNMENT officials overseeing animal welfare in abattoirs say claims of on-plant veterinarians being pressured to keep quiet on neglect don't match their 'lived experience'.
Department of Agriculture staff were grilled in senate estimates hearings this week on media coverage of claims from an unidentified government vet working in export abattoirs that the support wasn't there for raising animal welfare issues.
The coverage was accompanied by substantial RSPCA messaging and detailed cases of animals having to be destroyed on arrival at plants due to their debilitated condition.
First assistant secretary of the department's exports and veterinary services division Nicola Hinder said undoubtedly such claims were of concern but were also not living up to the experience of working hand-in-hand with the meat processing sector.
Appearing in front of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Ms Hinder said the seriousness in which the processing sector approached animal welfare, and the 'lived experience of our highly professional staff who work at facilities' did not align with the claims.
"Of course we've had a look at the incidents specifically reported and I am very confident department staff have acted appropriately in investigating those issues," she said.
The department's current recruiting drive for plant veterinarians was also put under the spotlight.
Ms Hinder said the government employed 320 on-plant vets, who worked at 88 export establishments around the country.
All available positions were currently filled but the department was taking a forward-looking approach and increasing numbers to cover expected upcoming vacancies, Ms Hinder said.
For all the big news in beef, sign up below to receive our Red Meat newsletter.