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Huge Questions Hang Over VDL Animal Welfare

28 Jun 2019

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Animal Welfare spokesperson

When twenty senior farm managers put their serious concerns about animal welfare in writing, government must pay attention.

Allegations of risk to animal welfare at the VDL property in Tasmania’s north west demand action from Biosecurity Tasmania, which is responsible for the animal welfare inspectorate.

When the Greens asked questions in Estimates about whether any animal welfare issues at VDL had been raised with Biosecurity Tasmania, Minister Barnett fobbed us off to Biosecurity Tasmania Director, Dr Lloyd Klumpp.

A month ago at the Estimates table, Dr Klumpp said he had no knowledge of any reports or investigations into animal welfare at VDL, and even if he did, he would not be able to provide any detail.

Following the written statement from Van Dairy farm managers, Biosecurity Tasmania confirmed to the ABC that inspectors visited the farm in April and found no animal welfare breaches.

Biosecurity Tasmania states it is actively monitoring the property. 

This information should have been provided to the Committee at the Estimates table. 

At the very least, Minister Barnett should have corrected the misleading omission in Parliament the following week.

Acting Minister Petrusma has provided no explanation for the government’s evasiveness at Estimates and no reassurance that the farm managers’ letter is receiving the serious attention it deserves.

VDL is the largest dairy farm in the country and a major employer in north west Tasmania.

Any risks to the welfare of the estimated 18,000 cows on the property must be taken extremely seriously by government.

The Greens will continue to pursue this matter.