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Australia pioneers with autistic staff on pig farms

An Australian programme aims to employ at least 8 autistic adults in animal care positions on pig farms.

The programme will run at facilities of SunPork Farms and is supported by over AUS$800,000 (€563,000) from diverse players in the country, like the Pork CRC, the South Australian government, Autism CRC and Specialisterne, a company helping people with autism to find a suitable place in the job market.

Pork CRC and the South Australian government both contributed AUS$150,000 to the pilot project which shall be taking place in 2 states. In South Australia, 4 places will be available at farm sites in the Wasleys and Sheaoak Log regions; in Queensland the farm site for 4 more places is located 1 hour outside Dalby on the Queensland Darling Downs.

Pork programme goals

A press release by Pork CRC revealed the programme goals:

  • Identifying and employing diverse skills and talents of autistic adults in animal care;
  • Developing innovative solutions that continue to provide optimal welfare for livestock;
  • Building capacity within the agricultural sector to employ autistic adults.
A typical pig farm in Australia – this particular farm is not part of the project. Photo Christine Clark
A typical pig farm in Australia – this particular farm is not part of the project. Photo Christine Clark

The project offers life-changing opportunities for people on the spectrum and further improvement in the welfare of livestock.

New world to autistic people

The Pork CRC press release quoted its CEO, Roger Campbell, saying, “It’s the most exciting project we’ve been involved with and I congratulate Autism CRC and SunPork Farms for coming up with something so innovative.”

He continued, “This initiative will open up a whole new world to autistic people and those on the autism spectrum and with Australia’s pork industry needing to boost its pool of dedicated animal carers to maintain and, indeed, improve our existing high welfare standards, this is a win-win for all parties.”

Potential applicants and interested parties can learn more about this opportunity at the website of Specialisterne

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