In support of small-scale, regenerative farmers in Victoria, the following organisations have submitted responses to the Victorian Government's Planning for Sustainable Animal Industries Draft Planning Provisions.
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) has submitted a response to the Victorian Government's Planning for Sustainable Animal Industries Draft Planning Provisions. View the submission here.
The Victorian Government's current proposals will do serious damage to the regenerative and small-scale livestock farmers of Victoria. See AFSA's media release regarding the proposed changes here.
Summary of AFSA's recommendations:
- Recommendation 1: That the Government continue to allow low-risk, low impact grazing animals as an allowable use in the UGZ.
- Recommendation 2: That the trigger to judge a pastured pig farm a Section 2 use (streamlined process) be set at more than 25 SPU/Ha, subject to meeting minimum standards.
- Recommendation 3: That the trigger to judge a pastured poultry farm a Section 2 use (streamlined process) be set at more than 450 birds/Ha, subject to meeting minimum standards.
- Recommendation 4: Treat all pastured livestock systems with supplemental feeding the same in the land use definitions and graduated controls, subject to meeting minimum standards.
- Recommendation 5: That all pastured livestock are defined under ‘Grazing Animal Production’, but that the term be changed to ‘Pastured Animal Production’. We further recommend that where feeding infrastructure is mobile that the setback from waterways and environmentally sensitive areas be set at no more than 20m.
- Recommendation 6: Maintain the definition of ‘intensive’ as drafted in the new VPP, and include intensive pig and poultry farms in that nesting diagram.
- Recommendation 7: That the Government’s proposed Action 6 – to establish a panel of animal industries specialists to provide technical advice to local government – include representation from small-scale pastured pig and poultry
- Recommendation 8: Develop Codes of Practice in close consultation with small- scale pastured pig and poultry farmers. (See draft Code of Practice for Pastured Pig Production in Appendix C for what such codes might include.)
- Recommendation 9: That a regulatory impact statement be prepared urgently.
This blog post was originally posted on AFSA President Tammi Jonas' personal blog, Tammi Jonas: Food Ethics, as part of 'The Regulation Diaries' series.
In October 2015, I visited Jo Stritch of Happy Valley Free Range, Livestock Farmer of the Year in 2014.
Jo had just been ordered to remove all her pigs from her farm after losing a case in VCAT trying to prove that her farm wasn’t ‘intensive’.
According to the Victorian Planning Provisions (VPP), intensive animal husbandry refers to ‘importing most food from outside the enclosures’. “In Happy Valley Piggery v Yarra Ranges SC, VCAT  determined that ‘most food’ meant most nutrition. This had the effect of making a free-range piggery fall under the definition of Intensive animal husbandry. This classification was counterintuitive to some people as a ‘free range’ piggery was not seen as ‘intensive’.” (AIAC 2015)
In late 2015, an independent body (the Animal Industries Advisory Committee (AIAC)) was appointed by the Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford and the Minister for Planning Richard Wynne to address concerns that the planning provisions were no longer sufficiently meeting the needs and expectations of farmers nor the community.
I will here quote extensively from both the consultation paper and the final report of the Animal Industries Advisory Committee (AIAC).
The VPP Advisory Committee of 1997 that reviewed the implementation of the VPP said: It does not matter where the food is sourced from because it is the concentration of the animals which leads to the need for planning control. The current definition is an input measure – it seeks to define the use based on the source of the feed inputs. What matters in planning are the outcomes, or impacts, of a use. Shifting the definition and control of animal industries to focus on their impacts would seem to make more sense.
Victoria’s planning approval system for intensive animal husbandry is unique compared to other states in that Codes of Practice have been developed for a number of livestock industries that rely on intensive housing and production systems, to support the planning process. There are codes for the piggery, cattle feedlot and broiler industries. These are incorporated into the VPP and all planning schemes in Victoria.
Development of the codes was triggered by expansion of these industries coupled with a recognition of the need to achieve environmentally and financially viable development. The intent of the codes was to provide a detailed and stringent framework of accepted principles and where possible standards for the establishment and operation of intensive animal industries under Victorian conditions. (AIAC 2015)
In 2016, the AIAC recommended a ‘graduated approach to planning controls based on risk’, pointing out that “some intensive animal industries are of a scale that people not associated with the industry might find confronting: chicken farms of 1.2 million birds, goat dairies of 14,000 goats. But many intensive animal industries are of a small scale catering to local or boutique markets – the planning system needs to manage the lower risk these operations pose in a manner commensurate with that risk.” (AIAC 2016)
So the AIAC recognized that the relevant permit requirements of the VPP and associated codes of practice were designed to address the risks to environment and amenity posed by large-scale industrial sheds of pigs and poultry and that free-range pig and poultry farms had been inadvertently caught up in the definition over the technicality of importing the majority of the feed. The independent committee also recognized that the risk profile of a small-scale free-range pig farm is very different to a shed full of pigs, and that the planning provisions should account for this difference in risk.
The AIAC recommendation that there be graduated controls that would treat small-scale pig and poultry farmers much like other grazing systems (subject to meeting minimum standards), would have removed the onerous and unnecessary requirement for a permit.
They also recommended to allow these low risk farms to be allowed operate in Green Wedge Zones with a permit, which is significant because the prohibition on intensive animal husbandry in Green Wedge Zones is what ultimately caused the move of Happy Valley Free Range to a different shire in order to continue farming. This was broadly acceptable to most small-scale pastured pig and poultry farmers and the eaters who want access to ethical and ecologically-sound meat.
What is also significant is that the Government is now proposing to allow intensive pig and poultry sheds into Green Wedge, Rural Living, and Rural Conservation Zones with a permit, quite contrary to the recommendations of the AIAC.
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) put in a submission to the AIAC and attended the public hearings, and felt that the committee captured our members’ concerns reasonably well, and that we had reason to be hopeful that the Government would take the recommendations and rectify the situation where pastured pig and poultry farmers had become collateral damage of the need to more closely monitor our industrial counterparts.
The Final Report was delivered to the Victorian Government in April 2016, and so we waited. And waited.
In September 2017, the draft of the graduated controls – the tool we expected would rectify pastured pig and poultry farmers’ inadvertent treatment as though we were industrial intensive livestock producers – were released for public consultation, and we were beyond disappointed.
While the independent committee (the AIAC) had demonstrably understood how unnecessary it is to apply the same controls to low-risk pastured systems as to large-scale intensive sheds, once the report disappeared behind government doors, it appeared that the Big Ag lobby (in particular Australia Pork Limited (APL), but also the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA)) have virtually written the draft provisions. I cannot shake the phrase ‘where malice is enabled by incompetence’ from my head.
Make no mistake – APL, VFF, and MLA are no friend to small-scale producers. APL have been sending their representative to VCAT hearings to testify against small-scale pastured pig farmers such as Jo Stritch. President of the VFF Livestock Group, export beef and grain farmer and feedlot owner Leonard Vallance (who is also the former chair of the Board of Victorian meat regulator PrimeSafe) is on the record saying that “Farmers’ markets are the achilles heel of the Victorian food industry,” he said. “The reputational risk to our export markets is massive…”. Head of the VFF Pig Group is 500-sow intensive pig producer John Bourke. And Head of the Egg Group is a caged-egg producer.
The VFF even submitted to the AIAC that the Public Health and Wellbeing Act should be amended to exempt agricultural producers from nuisance complaints.
In a recent newsletter, the VFF asserted that they:
do not support the planning permit exemption for some piggeries and poultry farms for a number of reasons. Often people start small and grow over time. Will the person who started with 150 hens know to get a planning permit when they have 1000 hens?
Planning is about asking the questions on land use, environment and amenity – 200 hens on a quarter acre block has a different impact on five hectares and 33 pigs is a large number of pigs even on this same area. We feel these questions need to be asked of all pig and poultry farms given these aren’t grazing animals and will always need additional feed.
To summarise some of the key issues, the draft provisions would:
- Treat a pastured producer with 500 birds the same as an intensive producer with 500,000 birds in sheds.
- Treat a pastured pig producer with more than 8 sows on paddocks (around 80 pigs) the same as an intensive producer with 800 sows in sheds (possibly 8,000 pigs in total).
- Allow an existing intensive poultry farm to open a new range for up to 150,000 chickens without any of the restrictions placed on a farmer with 500 chickens.
- Enforce 100m buffer zones from neighbouring dwellings on pastured poultry farms with up to 450 birds and pastured pig farms with up to 8 sows – rendering small scale farming on land less than 200m wide practically impossible (to give some perspective, at least 1000 birds and 100 pigs is typical for viable small-scale systems).
- Allow cattle feedlots with up to 1000 cattle to be established with no permit.
- Allow intensive pig and poultry sheds in the Green Wedge, Rural Living, & Rural Conservation Zones with a permit (currently prohibited).
To be clear, where we expected the new provisions to rectify the unintended consequence of recently treating pastured pig and poultry farmers the same as intensive shed producers, the Government’s draft instead codifies this interpretation.
No longer does risk to environment or amenity appear to be a key consideration – intensive producers have successfully lobbied the Government and the result is prohibitive and expensive permit application requirements that will be the death knell of the growing movement of small-scale pastured pig and poultry farms in Victoria.
Taking only pigs as an example, here is the striking difference between what the AIAC recommended and what the Government is proposing.
AIAC Recommendation (April 2016)
|Category 3 – Mid‐scale No permit if specified standards and requirements are metIntensive supplementary feeding of cattle, sheep or goats (not a feedlot) where provided for in a code. Small sheep feedlot where provided for in a code. Small free range pig and poultry farms where provided for in a code.|
PSAI Draft (September 2017)
|Permit required – Streamlined application process*No more than 8 sows + 1 boar + progeny|
No pigs located in these setbacks: 100m from other dwellings
I’ll save it for our longer public submission to explain the entirely arbitrary nature of the numbers proposed by the Government that is rendered even more meaningless by failing to attach any land size specification to the number of stock.
So why shouldn’t small-scale pastured pig and poultry farms be required to seek a permit to farm in the Farming Zone?
Because we are farming, and the Farming Zone’s purpose is to enable farming, and because other pastured livestock systems do not require a permit to farm. Even the potato farmers whose paddocks are routinely kept barren and many of whom spray glyphosate and fungicides right up to their boundaries do not require a permit, so why should we?
And what is the big deal if the Government insists that we must obtain permits despite the lack of evidence-based arguments for why we should?
Because it is an expensive and complicated process. In our shire, for example, a permit costs about $1300. Most people do not feel confident writing their own applications with all the attendant documentation and need to access multiple government agencies for information, and so hiring consultants is the norm, at many more thousands of dollars. If subject to a notice and review period, one must post notices and alert neighbours to the application, and then sit through local council meetings and be interrogated about the plan, often questioned about aspects totally irrelevant to a highly mobile, pastured livestock system (‘please explain the siting of the sheds’ – ‘there are no sheds’).
The history of the Victorian Planning Provisions reads like Dracula meets Yes Minister. If we take away the intentions – good and bad – and seek to enable farming while judging farming systems on their merits, it’s really not that difficult. Here are some useful principles:
- The Farming Zone is to enable farming.
- Pasture-based livestock systems are (potentially) healthiest for soils, animals, water, air, and workers.
- A permit should be required for technologies and systems known to present higher risks to environment and amenity.
- There must be recourse for complaints and enforcement when farmers (of any size or production model) are failing to farm responsibly.
So what do we want?
AFSA has started a petition that needs as many voices as possible. The Government needs to know that the people want access to ethically and ecologically-sound produce, and that you stand as and with small-scale producers working to grow a better, fairer food system for everyone.
We call on Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford and Minister for Planning Richard Wynne to explain why low-risk small-scale pastured pig and poultry farms are to be subjected to greater scrutiny and compliance costs than cattle feedlots.
We demand that small-scale pastured pig and poultry farms be treated under the Farming Zone like other low-risk grazing systems that rely on supplemental feed such as the majority of Victorian beef and dairy cattle.
Join AFSA and add your voice to the food sovereignty movement that is working to secure access to nutritious and culturally-appropriate food grown in ethical and ecologically-sound ways, and our right to democratically determine our own food and agriculture systems.
Animal Industries Advisory Committee Discussion Paper (Dec 2015): https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/10080/Animal-Industries-Discussion-Paper-Revision-1.PDF
Animal Industries Advisory Committee Final Report (April 2016): http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/323424/PPV-Animal-Industries-Final-Report-.pdf
Planning for Sustainable Animal Industries (Sept 2017): https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/planning-reform/sustainable-animal-industries
Why should small-scale pastured pork and poultry farms be treated like intensive sheds while cattle feedlots of 1000 cattle do not require a permit? The Victorian Government's proposed reforms to planning controls for animal industries could mean the collapse of pastured pigs and poultry farms in Victoria.
We have until 14 November 2017 to be heard!
1. SIGN THE PETITION now to secure the future of free-range farming in Victoria!
2. PRINT the petition to collect signatures from your local community
3. SHARE / TAG / COMMENT
Join us in demanding change by sharing a photo of your pastured poultry or pork operation and calling on ministers to support scale-appropriate planning controls that encourage rather than hinder regenerative and ethical farming in Victoria.
We demand that small-scale pastured pig and poultry farms be treated under the Farming Zone like other low-risk grazing systems that rely on supplemental feed such as the majority of Victorian beef and dairy cattle.
Use the following hashtags
#thisisnotintensive #thisisfarming #regenerativeag #pasturedpoultry #pasturedpigs #ethicalchicken #ethicalpork and don't forget to tag Jaala Pulford MP, Richard Wynne MP, Barnaby Joyce, and Mick Gentleman MLA.
Your membership will add your voice to the many others standing up for small-scale farming. Our collective voice matters - show the Government that we are not just vocal, but numerous!
5. ATTEND THE INFORMATION SESSIONS & OFFER FEEDBACK
6. MAKE A SUBMISSION by 14 November 2017.
7. EMAIL YOUR LOCAL MEMBER AND THE MINISTERS
|Hon Martin Peter Foley||Albert Parkemail@example.com||(03) 9646 7173|
|Hon Jill Hennessy||Altonafirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9395 0221|
|Mr Brian Francis Paynter||Bass||brian.paynter@Parliament.vic.gov.au||(03) 5672 4755|
|Hon Heidi Victoria||Bayswateremail@example.com||(03) 9729 1622|
|Hon Lisa Neville||Bellarinefirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5250 1987|
|Mr William John Tilley||Benambraemail@example.com||(02) 6024 4488|
|Hon Jacinta Marie Allan||Bendigo Eastfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5443 2144|
|Ms Janice Maree Edwards||Bendigo Westemail@example.com||(03) 5444 4125|
|Mr Nick Staikos||Bentleighfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9579 7222|
|Hon Robert William Clark||Box Hillemail@example.com||(03) 9898 6606|
|Hon Louise Asher||Brightonfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9592 1900|
|Frank McGuire||Broadmeadowsemail@example.com||(03) 9300 3851|
|Hon Jane Furneaux Garrett||Brunswickfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9384 1241|
|Hon Matthew Jason Guy||Bulleenemail@example.com||(03) 9850 7983|
|Hon Colin William Brooks||Bundoorafirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9467 5657|
|Mr Geoffrey Kemp Howard||Buninyongemail@example.com||(03) 5331 7722|
|Mr Graham Travis Watt||Burwoodfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9809 1857|
|Ms Sonya Kilkenny||Carrumemail@example.com||(03) 9773 2727|
|Mr David James Southwick||Caulfieldfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9527 3866|
|Mr Hong Lim||Clarindaemail@example.com||(03) 9543 6081|
|Mr Jude Perera||Cranbournefirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5996 2901|
|Hon David Hodgett||Croydonemail@example.com||(03) 9725 3570|
|Ms Gabrielle Williams||Dandenongfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9793 2000|
|Hon Bruce Norman Atkinson||Eastern Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9877 7188|
|Hon Richard Alex Gordon Dalla-Riva||Eastern Metropolitanfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9803 0592|
|Ms Samantha Dunn||Eastern Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9850 8600|
|Mr Shaun Leo Leane||Eastern Metropolitanfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9887 0255|
|Hon Mary Louise Newling Wooldridge||Eastern Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9878 4113|
|Ms Melina Gaye Bath||Eastern Victoriafirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5174 7066|
|Mr Jeffrey Matthew Bourman||Eastern Victoriaemail@example.com||(03) 5623 2999|
|Mr Daniel Mulino||Eastern Victoriafirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5940 5010|
|Hon Edward John O'Donohue||Eastern Victoriaemail@example.com||(03) 5941 1112|
|Ms Harriet Shing||Eastern Victoriafirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5134 8000|
|Ms Lucinda Gaye McLeish||Eildonemail@example.com||(03) 9730 1066|
|Ms Vicki Ward||Elthamfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9439 1500|
|Mr Daniel James Pearson||Essendonemail@example.com||(03) 9370 7777|
|Ms Stephanie Maureen Ryan||Euroafirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5762 1600|
|Ms Christine Fyffe||Evelynemail@example.com||(03) 9735 3208|
|Hon Nicholas Wakeling||Ferntree Gullyfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9758 6011|
|Hon Marsha Rose Thomson||Footscrayemail@example.com||(03) 9689 4283|
|Mr Neil Andrew Warwick Angus||Forest Hillfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9877 5628|
|Mr Paul Andrew Edbrooke||Frankstonemail@example.com||(03) 9783 9822|
|Ms Christine Anne Couzens||Geelongfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5221 3131|
|Mr Bradley William Battin||Gembrookemail@example.com||(03) 9796 1987|
|Hon Timothy Owen Bull||Gippsland Eastfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5152 3491|
|Mr Daniel David O'Brien||Gippsland Southemail@example.com||(03) 5144 1987|
|Mr Neale Ronald Burgess||Hastingsfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5977 5600|
|Mr John Pesutto||Hawthornemail@example.com||(03) 9882 4088|
|Mr Anthony Richard Carbines||Ivanhoefirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9457 5328|
|Mr Timothy Colin Smith||Kewemail@example.com||(03) 9853 2999|
|Hon Martin Philip Pakula||Keysboroughfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9547 6262|
|Hon Marlene Kairouz||Kororoitemail@example.com||(03) 8361 7133|
|Hon John Hamdi Eren||Larafirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5275 3898|
|Ms Emma Kealy||Lowanemail@example.com||(03) 5382 0097|
|Ms Mary-Anne Thomas||Macedonfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5428 2138|
|Hon Michael Anthony O'Brien||Malvernemail@example.com||(03) 9576 1850|
|Ms Ellen Sandell||Melbournefirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9328 4637|
|Mr Donato Antonio Nardella||Meltonemail@example.com||(03) 9743 9825|
|Mr Peter Laurence Crisp||Mildurafirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5021 2828|
|Hon Liliana D'Ambrosio||Mill Parkemail@example.com||(03) 9422 5171|
|Hon James Anthony Merlino||Monbulkfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9754 5401|
|Mr Timothy Noel Richardson||Mordialloc||tim.richardson@Parliament.vic.gov.au||(03) 9772 4544|
|Mr David Charles Morris||Morningtonemail@example.com||(03) 5975 4799|
|Hon Russell John Northe||Morwellfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5133 9088|
|Mr Michael Xavier Charles Gidley||Mount Waverleyemail@example.com||(03) 9561 0511|
|Hon Daniel Michael Andrews||Mulgravefirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9548 5644|
|Hon Peter Lindsay Walsh||Murray Plainsemail@example.com||(03) 5482 2039|
|Mr Gary John Blackwood||Narracanfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5623 1960|
|Hon Luke Anthony Donnellan||Narre Warren Northemail@example.com||(03) 9706 0566|
|Ms Judith Ann Graley||Narre Warren Southfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9704 6055|
|Hon Martin Francis Dixon||Nepeanemail@example.com||(03) 5986 6661|
|Mr Benjamin Alan Carroll||Niddriefirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9379 5879|
|Mr Greg Barber||Northern Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9348 2622|
|Mr Nazih Elasmar||Northern Metropolitanfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9456 9244|
|Hon Jenny Mikakos||Northern Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9462 3966|
|Mr Craig Philip Ondarchie||Northern Metropolitanfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9422 0099|
|Ms Fiona Heather Patten||Northern Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9386 4400|
|Mr Mark Gepp||Northern Victoriafirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5427 2444|
|Hon Wendy Ann Lovell||Northern Victoriaemail@example.com||(03) 5821 0055|
|Mr. Luke O'Sullivan||Northern Victoria||Luke.O'Sullivan@parliament.vic.gov.au||5443 6277|
|Ms Jaclyn Symes||Northern Victoriafirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5783 2000|
|Mr Daniel James Young||Northern Victoriaemail@example.com||(03) 5799 1331|
|Mr Stephen Dimopoulos||Oakleighfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9568 2456|
|Mr Timothy Logan McCurdy||Ovens Valleyemail@example.com||(03) 5721 6155|
|Ms Elizabeth Anne Blandthorn||Pascoe Valefirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9354 9935|
|Mr Richard Vincent Riordan||Polwarthemail@example.com||(03) 5231 5046|
|Mr Samuel Peter Hibbins||Prahranfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9981 9501|
|Hon Robin David Scott||Prestonemail@example.com||(03) 9478 5611|
|Hon Richard William Wynne||Richmondfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9415 8901|
|Ms Deanne Sharon Ryall||Ringwoodemail@example.com||(03) 9870 7396|
|Ms Louise Eileen Staley||Riponfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5461 1255|
|Hon Kimberley Arthur Wells||Rowvilleemail@example.com||(03) 9764 8988|
|Mr Murray Hamilton Thompson||Sandringhamfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9598 2688|
|Ms Suzanna Sheed||Sheppartonemail@example.com||(03) 5831 6944|
|Mr Andrew Katos||South Barwonfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5243 5222|
|Hon Gavin Wayne Jennings||South-Eastern Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9548 5644|
|Mrs Inga Peulich||South-Eastern Metropolitanfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9772 1366|
|Hon Gordon Kenneth Rich-Phillips||South-Eastern Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9794 7667|
|Hon Adem Somyurek||South-Eastern Metropolitanfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9794 0699|
|Ms Nina Meredith Springle||South-Eastern Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9584 4013|
|Mrs Roma Britnell||South-West Coastfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5562 8230|
|Ms Georgina Mary Crozier||Southern Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9555 4101|
|Hon Philip Dalidakis||Southern Metropolitanfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9557 1500|
|Hon David McLean Davis||Southern Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9888 6244|
|Ms Margaret Fitzherbert||Southern Metropolitanfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9681 9555|
|Ms Susan Margaret Pennicuik||Southern Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9530 8399|
|Ms Natalie Suleyman||St Albansfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9367 9925|
|Mr Joshua Michael Bull||Sunburyemail@example.com||(03) 9740 4091|
|Hon Natalie Maree Sykes Hutchins||Sydenhamfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9449 1511|
|Hon Telmo Ramon Languiller||Tarneitemail@example.com||(03) 9916 1778|
|Ms Bronwyn Halfpenny||Thomastownfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9401 2711|
|Hon Ryan James Smith||Warrandyteemail@example.com||(03) 9841 5166|
|Ms Sharon Patricia Knight||Wendoureefirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5331 1003|
|Mr Timothy Hugh Pallas||Werribeeemail@example.com||(03) 9741 1133|
|Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins||Western Metropolitanfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 8742 3226|
|Mr Khalil Eideh||Western Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9363 1644|
|Mr Bernard Thomas Christopher Finn||Western Metropolitanfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9317 5900|
|Ms Colleen Hartland||Western Metropolitanemail@example.com||(03) 9689 6373|
|Mr Cesar Melhem||Western Metropolitanfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9689 6536|
|Mr Joshua William Morris||Western Victoriaemail@example.com||(03) 5332 9443|
|Hon Jaala Pulford||Western Victoriafirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5332 2405|
|Mr James Desmond Purcell||Western Victoriaemail@example.com||(03) 5568 2929|
|Mr Simon Ramsay||Western Victoriafirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 5222 1941|
|Ms Gayle Tierney||Western Victoriaemail@example.com||(03) 5224 2088|
|Hon Wade Noonan||Williamstownfirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9399 9022|
|Ms Danielle Green||Yan Yeanemail@example.com||(03) 9432 9782|
|Ms Rosalind Louise Spence||Yurokefirstname.lastname@example.org||(03) 9305 7177|
See AFSA's media release for more information.
Ant Wilson wrote this blogpost about the hostile planning and regulation environment Victorian farmers are dealing with at the moment. Ant is a future farmer who has spent the past year volunteering on a number of different small farms to learn the ropes, with great hope of getting into farming himself.
Small scale pastured pig and poultry farmers in Victoria are at the centre of a potentially devastating shit-storm this week with the anticompetitive actions of one of two remaining private poultry abattoirs and the release of the draft changes to planning regulations.
Many small scale pig and poultry farmers in Victoria are the leaders in sustainable agriculture and often aim not only to produce ethical meat sustainably, but to produce it in a way that regenerates the environment. This style of animal husbandry is exemplified by a small scale, low stocking density, mobile infrastructure, diversified production, localised markets, ethical treatment of animals, nutrient cycling and maintenance of pasture year round. The meat produced in these systems has a high nutrition value, is devoid of questionable chemicals, and has unique terroir subtleties.
These values are in stark contrast to intensive animal production that bows at the altars of mass production, standardisation, sterility, centralisation and export. These systems are hidden from public scrutiny for good reason – they drain resources, impact heavily on the environment, they stink and are an eyesore. These large scale permanent shed based systems reduce the lives of animals to ‘production units’ and lament the effects on revenue when they die. These systems attempt to play god by replacing the intricacies of pastured meat production with a cocktail of GM feed, mineral supplements and antibiotics. (For more info on the pork you buy in supermarkets click here).
In a move that seems to suggest corruption and collusion between state government and corporate ag, planning regulations have been drafted that further enable intensive systems and continue to sink small scale farmers in a quagmire of bureaucracy. The changes are detailed but in simple terms they will:
- Allow an intensive poultry farm to open a new range for up to 150,000 chickens without any of the restrictions placed on a farmer with 500 chickens.
- Treat a pastured producer with 500 birds the same as an intensive producer with 500,000 birds in sheds.
- Enforce 100m buffer zones from neighbouring dwellings on pastured poultry farmers with up to 450 birds and pastured pig farmers with up to about 80 pigs – rendering it actually impossible for some farmers with land that may be less than 200m wide. (To give some perspective, a minimum of 600 birds and 100pigs is usually required for viable small scale systems).
- Allow an intensive cattle feedlot with less than 1000 cattle to be built with no buffer zone and no permits.
Basically, the Planning for Sustainable Animal Industries (PSAI) appears to have largely ignored the recommendations of the Animal Industry Advisory Commission (AIAC). Even if the PSAI had payed attention to the AIAC, there was zero representation for the small scale pig and poultry farming community. As a prominent ethical pig farmer and president of Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA), which is fast becoming the voice of regenerative farmers (since the Victorian Farmers Federation(VFF) is showing its own signs of vested interests and corruption), Tammi Jonas nominated herself to be part of the Implementation Reference Group but was rejected.
To rub salt in the wounds, private abattoir Golden Poultry has recently shut its doors (the day before processing day) to small scale producers. This leaves ONLY ONE option for these farmers across Victoria – which means many famers will be hanging on by a thread while others will be forced to end their efforts to regenerate the Australian landscape through ethical animal husbandry. Private abattoirs have become nigh impossible to operate in Australia (and in other Westernised countries) as a result of centralised corporatised factory farming, and the state government continues to support these systems over the healthy resilient localised alternative. There is a string of other negative effects of factory farming but thats another blog post!
If you’d like to support small scale farmers (like I hope to be one day) and the production of wholesome unadulterated food, become a member of AFSA and please email Jaala Pulford (Minister of agriculture) and Richard Wynn (Minister for Planning) to ask why small scale regenerative farmers are not being represented and why the new regulations are suppressing them and supporting corporate ag. Is it because they see ‘sustainability’ through an economic lens? Their details are included below.
Instagram – #thisisnotintensive #pasturedpoultry #pasturedpigs #regenerativeag #ethicalpork #ethicalpoultry
(This post was reposted with permission from Ant from his blog "Future Farmer Ant")