Pillar 1

Pillar 1: Consumer and community support

This pillar invests in research into the superior nutritional properties of red meat. It also invests in research and development to enhance the industry's animal welfare, disease control and environmental practices. This includes the communication of these actions and commitments by the industry to the community.

MISP

Meat Industry Strategic Plan (MISP) 2020 priorities

Investments Investment source KPIs

Highlights

  • $35 million over five years to be invested in animal welfare research
  • CSIRO report finds Australian beef industry can be carbon neutral by 2030
  • New research in northern Australia reveals naturally occurring rumen bacteria able to detoxify or neutralise fluoroacetate
  • New nutrition education program launched to target health professionals
  • Innovative diagnostic tests developed for footrot
  • More than 10,000 people viewed MLA's Australian Beef Paddock to Plate Story via VR goggles
  • 'Cattle and sheep farming today' resources downloaded more than 2,500 times
  • 2,700 students at 92 primary schools participated in MLA's virtual classrooms

Continuous improvement of the welfare of animals in our care

The community has high expectations about the way livestock are treated and how animal welfare standards are applied. It is important the red meat industry continues to improve the welfare of livestock by enhancing husbandry practices through adoption of new research.

This priority also seeks to improve welfare by ensuring the continued freedom of herds and flocks from exotic diseases and minimising the impact of endemic diseases. Equally, it’s important to clearly communicate these improvements to the Australian and global community to earn their trust and maintain their support for the industry.

Improving animal welfare

MLA is collaborating with a number of leading research organisations to implement one of the largest investments in livestock welfare research to date.

Safeguarding northern cattle from poisoning

It’s estimated that fluoroacetate toxicity in grazing cattle costs the northern Australian beef industry $45 million/year. An MLA research project has now revealed there are naturally occurring rumen bacteria which are able to detoxify or neutralise fluoroacetate.

Fast-tracking footrot diagnosis

MLA recently funded a University of Sydney project to address concerns about expensive, delayed and inconsistent laboratory diagnosis of virulent footrot, as researchers found none of the current diagnostic tests are completely accurate.

Highlights

The Australian Beef Paddock to Plate Story

MLA launched a new innovative consumer engagement platform that uses 360⁰ immersive video technology to demonstrate the best practice systems that ensure Australia produces high quality beef.

Stewardship of environmental resources

Livestock production relies on natural resources. Future increases in production will depend on efficiently and effectively managing soil health, weeds, invasive animals, water, methane emissions, biodiversity and climate variability. These themes provide the focus for MLA’s research and development to assist the industry in improving productivity and sustainability.

Maintaining the industry’s environmental impact in line with community expectations is also a primary goal. This is achieved by the industry engaging with consumers to demonstrate it is an ethical and responsible custodian of livestock, land and natural resources.

Investment
Equipping teachers

MLA engaged with thousands of teachers and students in 2017–18 to ensure the process for producing red meat in Australia is accurately represented in classrooms around the country.

Inspiring students

MLA continues to give students an exciting opportunity to interact with cattle and sheep producers through virtual classrooms. New and improved video streaming technology was introduced in 2017, which opened up virtual classrooms to all Australian schools.

New education resources

In 2017, MLA developed a new suite of curriculum-linked resources for the community education program. The ‘Cattle and sheep farming today’ teaching resources, launched in January 2018, explore farming and food production within the red meat industry. Students can learn about sustainable farming practices, red meat nutrition, food production and the use of science and technology in agriculture.

Improving knowledge of beef and lamb

Now more than ever, consumers are wanting to know where their food comes from. More than 4,000 foodies and everyday cooks came away with a greater appreciation and understanding of Australian red meat after attending three major food festivals in 2017–18: Margaret River Gourmet Escape (November 2017), Taste of Melbourne (November 2017) and Brisbane Regional Flavours (July 2017), all sponsored by MLA.

Highlights

‘Carbon neutral by 2030’ plan announced

MLA continues to support the environmental sustainability of the red meat industry to give consumers even more confidence in the integrity of Australian red meat.

Role of red meat in a healthy diet

Red meat faces strong price competition from protein sources like pork and chicken. Securing red meat’s place in a healthy diet and giving consumers a compelling reason to purchase requires consistent messages to be delivered in the marketplace about the nutritional benefits of red meat.

Defending the role of red meat in a healthy diet also requires informing domestic and global nutrition policy and key opinion leaders with evidence on the amount and frequency of red meat consumption to achieve healthy living.

Investment
Women's Rugby 7's partnership Women's Rugby 7's partnership

To reinforce beef’s role in a healthy diet, as outlined in the Australian Dietary Guidelines, MLA partnered with healthcare professionals and key influencers to promote the benefits of eating beef.

In February 2018, MLA partnered with Australia’s Olympic gold-medal winning Women’s Rugby 7’s team to create and share key messages about beef to target potential new consumers, particularly younger women who may have been limiting their red meat consumption.

Healthy Cuisines launched Healthy Cuisines launched

MLA launched Healthy Cuisines, a new nutrition education program targeting health professionals, at the Dietitians Association of Australia National Conference in May 2018.

Healthy Cuisines provides a bridge between the dietary guidelines and the dinner plate.