Controversial cattle yard set for upgrades amid animal welfare concerns

Craig DuncanSouth Western Times
Cattle packed tight during a store sale at Boyanup Saleyards.
Camera IconCattle packed tight during a store sale at Boyanup Saleyards. Credit: Supplied/Don Finlay/RegionalHUB

A South West saleyard trapped in the middle of a country town, with cattle packed shoulder to rump, is set to get some long overdue upgrades after decades of animal welfare concerns.

The Boyanup Cattle Saleyard is set to have new roofing and drainage systems put in place to reduce stress on the more than 70,000 cattle that pass through the yard each year.

Owned by Elders and Nutrien under a joint venture the WA Livestock Salesmen’s Association, the Boyanup saleyard is one of the biggest in the region and has been the subject of controversy within the community for several years.

With a lack of shade cloth and overcrowding being blamed for cattle dying of heat stress while in holding, paired with waste runoff issues, farmers, veterinarians and the public have been demanding changes to the yard.

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Opposition to the yard argues it does not meet the standards of the Western Australia Animal Welfare (Transport, Saleyards and Depots) Regulations 2020 which states animals require protection from extreme weather, easy access to water and sufficient space to move while being held in the yards.

At the most recent council meeting on February 28, the Shire of Capel voted to endorse plans for WALSA to construct a new wastewater system and solid steel roof at the saleyards which will address some of these concerns.

At the council meeting deputy shire president Sebastian Schiano said he was ecstatic to see the council was at this stage and said work needed to get under way immediately without any more delays.

“It’s a privilege to live in an agricultural shire and have the epicentre of cattle sales right in our own backyard,” he said.

“We have had to balance community concerns with industry operation, this has been a great outcome to have this roof on here and to ensure the saleyards remain the centre of cattle sales in our little corner of the world.”

Cr Kieran Noonan said it would be a good outcome to get a roof over the Boyanup saleyards as it would make a big difference for animal welfare and the people who work at the yard.

“Hopefully it will alleviate some of the discomfort cattle feel in the summer months,” he said.

“We do look forward to working with WALSA and other stakeholders for the development of a newer agriculture facility somewhere around Boyanup.”

Cr Christine Terrantroy said the upgrades had been a long time coming.

“The whole facility will be more humane for the animals and it will enhance sales, I think,” she said.

“We know that the community have been impatient for this to happen as have councillors, however, I think because we have taken the time to do it over a longer period we have got the better outcome.”

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