Help secure the future of free-range pig & poultry farming in Victoria
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Recently the Victorian Government released their proposed reforms to planning controls for Victoria's animal industries. You can read about these HERE.
The proposed planning provisions will intentionally place small-scale pig and poultry farmers in the same group as large-scale intensive farming operations.
This will render meat production prohibitive for current and aspiring farmers, which will destroy local, small-scale agriculture and reduce eaters’ choice of pork and poultry to factory-farmed meat only.
The purpose of having land zoned for farming in the planning scheme is to protect farming that is low risk to environment and amenity. Requiring pastured livestock producers to obtain a permit places an unnecessary control that will seriously hinder ethical meat production in Victoria.
The proposed changes to the regulations completely ignore what sets small pastured poultry and pigs farms apart from intensive large-scale meat production in sheds. They do not take into account the effects of regenerative practices many of these farms pride themselves on, such as frequent moves of animals, mobile housing and feed infrastructure, and a focus on maintaining pasture year-round.
The proposed changes 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 the same as an intensive producer with 800 sows in sheds.
- 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 about 8 sows – rendering small scale farming on land less than 200m wide practically impossible (To give some perspective, a minimum of 1000 birds and 100 pigs is typical for viable small-scale systems).
- Allow an intensive cattle feedlot with up to 1000 cattle to be established with no permit.
What this means for farmers
It means that small-scale farmers will be required to deal with unnecessary, prohibitive and expensive red tape, which may put many farmers out of business. This will have a follow-on impact on local employment opportunities both on farms and in value adding industries. The proposed changes will also discourage new people from entering farming.
What this means for eaters
Access to genuine free-range meat will be even harder as small-scale pastured livestock farmers fold under the pressures of an unfair planning scheme, which comes on top of diminishing access to processing facilities. Victoria, the ‘foodie capital of Australia’, could see the collapse of the very farming systems that underpin the delicious and artisanal produce for which our state is famous.
What we want
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 our social media campaign!
Join us in demanding change by sharing a photo of your pastured poultry or pork farm, or of meals created from these farms’ produce, and calling on ministers to support scale-appropriate planning controls that encourage rather than hinder regenerative and ethical farming in Victoria.
Share your stories of what these farms mean to you, and your community and family’s health and well being – ask that the ministers help to secure the future of fair food in Victoria.
Use the following hashtags
#thisisnotintensive #thisisfarming #regenerativeag #pasturedpoultry #pasturedpigs #ethicalchicken #ethicalpork
Tag Jaala Pulford MP, Richard Wynne MP, and Barnaby Joyce.
What else can you do?
You can also write individual emails to your local member, the responsible ministers, and your mayor.
This petition is a collaboration between:
Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance
Victorian Farmers Market Association
Friends of the Earth Australia
Open Food Network
Pasture Raised On Open Fields (PROOF)
Rare Breeds Trust of Australia
Slow Food Melbourne
Slow Food Central Highlands
Slow Food Mildura
Social Food Project
Youth Food Movement Australia
- Victorian Minister for Agriculture
- Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Leader of the Nationals
- Victorian Minister for Planning
- Secretary, DEDJTR
- Deputy Secretary of Ag, Food and Fibre
Free range farming is not intensive farming!
I want to see small-scale free-range pig and poultry farming thrive to provide all Victorians with the choice of meat grown in ethical and ecologically-sound ways.
The current proposed planning revisions would make it very difficult for Victorian pastured livestock farmers to thrive. The Farming Zone is for farming, and pastured livestock should be enabled, not hindered by the Farming Zone.
The requirement for an expensive and cumbersome permit for small-scale pastured pigs and poultry makes no sense as these systems do not present a significant risk to environment and amenity like their industrial counterparts, where animals are confined and fed in large sheds, concentrating effluence and creating a risk to the environment and neighbours' amenity.
I call on the Victorian Government to listen to the public's demand for more high welfare farming systems and to treat pastured pigs and poultry the same as other grazing animals in the Farming Zone, with no permit required.
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