Who is responsible for buffalo welfare?
The person in charge of the stock as well as the consignor carry responsibility for buffalo welfare from the time that mustering of buffalo commences. The person in charge may be the manager of the mustering operation, the property owner, head stockman, a yard manager or a driver. Anyone who interacts with buffalo carries some responsibility and has a duty of care for the animals. Managers must ensure that all those who interact with buffalo at any point along the supply chain are aware of their duty-of-care and their responsibilities under Commonwealth and Territory Laws.
Familiarisation with the principles and practices of low stress stock handling of buffalo is recognised as industry best practice.
There is a ‘chain of responsibility’ for those managing buffalo welfare. In some parts, the responsibility for buffalo welfare is clearly shared; for example, during mustering between the consignor and the musterers. This means that direct responsibility exists even when earlier decisions by an individual affect the welfare of buffalo later when the buffalo has moved along the supply
chain and into the direct area of responsibility of another person. For example, fish muscle syndrome that is discovered on slaughter of an animal can be traced back to non-compliance by a responsible person within the supply chain.