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Animal Welfare

Our policy at Rivalea is to "Care for every pig, every day".

This means we are committed to the respectful and humane treatment of all the animals in our care and we achieve this by breeding and raising pigs within systems that deliver exceptionally high standards of animal welfare.

We believe that people are the single biggest contributors to the delivery of quality welfare systems. As Model Code of Practice for Welfare of Animals – Pigs 2007 says: "The basic requirement for the welfare of pigs is a husbandry system that is managed by trained and skilled stock-people."

Our clear focus on animal welfare means that we demand of ourselves strong internal standards of training, awareness and application of animal welfare priorities. Our Animal Welfare practices are based on the Model Code of Practice for Welfare of Animals – Pigs 2007 (Primary Industries Ministerial Council), sound scientific research, quality staff training and the extensive experience of our people.

Our activities are regularly audited through the Australian Pork Industry Quality (APIQ) program. The following summarises Rivalea’s firm commitment to Animal Welfare.

STAFF COMPETENCY

  • The commitment of our people is fundamental to the success of our programs. All Rivalea stock people are qualified at Certificate III level, usually within their first two years of full time employment. There are specific units of competency relating to animal health and welfare embedded within the Certificate III qualification.
  • Many of our Supervisory staff hold tertiary qualifications and undertake leadership and other vocational courses. A clear focus of our on-the-job training is on positive animal handling methods.
  • Staff training in Animal Welfare is complemented by ongoing supervision by Rivalea’s specialist pig Veterinarians and our Animal Behavioural Scientist.

CARING FOR EVERY ANIMAL

  • Every pig's health and wellbeing is monitored daily.
  • Our aim is to provide for basic animal needs by ensuring each pig has:
  • Readily accessible, appropriate and sufficient food and water.
  • Adequate shelter to protect from climatic extremes.
  • Opportunity to display appropriate patterns of behavior.
  • Protection from and treatment of disease and injury.
  • Freedom for necessary movement.
  • Visual and social contact with other pigs.
  • Animals identified as requiring extra care are treated according to Veterinary guidelines and are placed in specialised animal recovery programs.
  • Rivalea only utilise husbandry procedures that are critical to the welfare of the pig. Husbandry tasks are performed by competent stockpeople for the purpose of ensuring optimum welfare outcomes within their living environments.

SOW HOUSING SYSTEMS

  • In 2007, Rivalea committed to removing all pregnant sow stalls. From 2013 all pregnant sows will be housed in groups. This ensures that sows are able to perform social behaviours and they are able to move around their pen. We are incorporating new sow housing systems which include Electronic Sow Feeding systems (ESF) and small and large pen group housing.

PROGENY HOUSING SYSTEMS

  • All of our progeny are reared in groups, which provide optimum social interaction.
  • Approximately half of our pigs are reared in straw-bedded barns.
  • Traditional systems are currently being converted to large group housing which provide for maximum social interaction.

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION

  • We don’t just talk about high standards of animal welfare; we continually invest resources and people in researching, developing and implementing improved welfare practices.
  • We are the largest private investor in Australia in research directed towards enhanced animal welfare systems.
  • We are currently running a three year Welfare Housing Project which is the largest project of its type anywhere in the world.
  • We are leaders in setting the direction of industry to the restricted use of pregnant sow stalls.
  • We initiated the concept of bedded barn housing particularly for growing stock.
  • We developed the only bedded barn sow research facility (for 1600 sows) and have undertaken numerous research projects, many in conjunction with Australian Pork Limited and the Australia‘s Animal Welfare Science Centre.
  • We operate the largest private Research and Innovation group in the Australian pig industry and employ an extensive range of welfare experts including veterinarians, nutritionists, pig scientists and animal welfare behavioural doctoral fellows.

INDUSTRY FUTURE DIRECTION

  • Rivalea has a strong voice to the industry and the wider community on animal welfare issues. Our proactive direction on welfare and housing systems is strengthened through our involvement in Australian Pork Limited, the Victorian Animal Welfare Science Centre, and the Victorian and New South Wales Farmers’ Federation Pork Committees.
  • Rivalea listens to input from its stakeholders and the community, and undertakes regular reviews focusing on improvements to animal production systems while ensuring enhanced animal welfare.