An animal welfare group has been granted access to Fremantle harbour to observe livestock loading in a move that has been criticized by industry groups.
An animal welfare group has been granted access to Fremantle harbour to observe livestock loading in a move that has been criticised by industry groups.
The approval was granted to Animals’ Angels Australia, according to an internal memo seen by Business News.
Fremantle Ports harbourmaster Allen Grey said the arrangements were supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and had been approved by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
“Fremantle Ports had identified an observation area that is back from the pier but within the security boundary and close to Koolinda House on North Quay,” Mr Grey said in the memo.
“This will provide Animals’ Angels with a viewing span that will enable observation of the entry gate to the berth and wharf operations.”
Mr Grey said there would be a permit system requiring a photo ID and the number of Animals’ Angels nominees would be limited.
“Permission will be on a trial basis, reviewed after each vessel visit and subject to many conditions,” he said.
Mr Grey said some privacy screening was planned.
“As this is close to the stevedoring amenities, the observers will not be permitted to interact with or take photos of the stevedores or truck drivers undertaking their breaks,” he said.
Western Australian Livestock Exporters’ Association chairman David Jarvie told Business News the association had contacted Mr Grey and expressed the view that it was an inappropriate and dangerous precedent for the port to be putting political lobby groups in a private and restricted work environment.
Dr Jarvie, who is also managing director, feeds, at Wellard, said Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan had already appointed a livestock compliance unit and was actively looking after animal welfare in the state.
“They (compliance unit) are the appropriate people to be looking at animal welfare, and that’s what they are doing,” he said.
“Farm groups and agents have also expressed to us the same opinion that they do not understand why this decision was made, especially because there was a complete lack of consultation with stakeholder groups by the port in this process.”
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti told Business News the state government supported the move because Animals' Angels was moved away from its previous location to an outer security gate in 2012, where members did not have a line of sight to the pier.
“Animals Angels are the only organisation to have requested this and the new arrangement will proceed on a trial basis to be reviewed after each vessel.”