It is the size of five MCGs and will see more than 200,000 cattle through its doors each year.
The Western Victorian Livestock Exchange will be the most modern in Australia, with some saying it is a ‘game changer’ for farmers, consumers and animals.
Built just outside the rural town of Mortlake in south-west Victoria, the $16 million dollar facility is designed to give the region’s cattle a better journey from the paddock to the abattoirs, when it opens in January.
Co-Director Rohan Arnold said his aim was to create a facility that is all about the care of the stock.
“We have a soft flooring that is a mix of pine-peelings, wood-chip and river sand. It’s soft on the animals feet.
“Other facilities that have concrete floors stress the animals out, they get foot sores and everyone loses out of that.
It’s all about happy cattle
“It’s no good on the beast and it’s no good on the producer, if you have a happy and healthy animal, everyone wins.”
Co-Director Brendan Abbey said animals would have a better experience than at other saleyards around the state.
“We have an undercover area that is bigger than the MCG, to keep the animals out of the elements, so they’re not exposed to the sun or freezing cold winds.
“On arrival, the cattle are immediately on a soft floor and they stay on soft flooring the whole time until they’re trucked out again.
“If you stand animals on cement, they stress. They stand there and fidget and stress and get uncomfortable.
“We create a stress free environment for them and they’re a lot happier here.”
RSPCA yet to tour new complex
Mr Abbey said that if livestock was looked after and the facility gained a reputation for that, more stock and more buyers would use the complex.
Farmer Andy Ritchie joined 1,000 others from across Victoria, who turned out to tour the exchange at an open day on Saturday.
He said the welfare of his animals mattered, but he did not know if it would be enough to make him switch saleyards.
“It will be good and it’s more modern than others,” Mr Ritchie said.
“It’s got more mulchy stuff — it’s got to help the animals. The poor animals come from the paddock and then they’re in here.”
A spokeswoman for RSPCA Victoria said the animal welfare group was unable to comment on the new saleyards, because they had not toured the facility.