“IT’S dirty, it’s dusty, but it’s not cruel.”
That is the message The Livestock Collective’s managing director Holly Ludeman has been spreading about live export recently, through a work shirt collaboration with outback fashion label Antola Trading.
Dr Ludeman was honoured in Antola’s latest collection with a focus on growing the public understanding of agriculture and providing a united voice for the livestock supply chain.
The Livestock Collective’s aim is for every person to have a connection and shared understanding of agriculture, while it promotes a collaborative, united livestock sector that provides visibility, communication and engagement to the wider community.
Through its mission the collective hopes to ensure an increased understanding of and connection to the livestock industry and agriculture more broadly.
Veterinarian and public face of the live export industry, Dr Ludeman said this was made easier with the help of like-minded brands, such as Antola Trading.
She said the collaboration would raise awareness of The Livestock Collective and what it wanted to achieve.
“There’s a lot of care and effort that goes into taking care of livestock throughout the supply chain and I think it is important people understand and see this first-hand,” Dr Ludeman said.
“It can be dirty, dusty and smelly, but it’s not cruel.
“It’s a very different story on board than what has been portrayed in the media.
“The fact that Antola Trading wants to help spread the awareness of what is really happening in the live export industry, to help provide a balanced view to the wider community, is nothing short of wonderful and we are grateful.”
Dr Ludeman shared her “shirt story” on the Humans of Agriculture podcast in June this year with host Oli Le Lievre.
In the podcast she said a trip to Papua New Guinea as a student was a turning point when it came to life-changing experiences.
The trip gave her an understanding of how her role as a scientist or service provider could influence and help people.
“We were in East New Britain and Rabaul where there had been a volcano eruption that covered the town,” Dr Ludeman told Mr Le Lievre.
“Everytime it rained there would be massive landslides, so we were working on what plants could be utilised to help the soil structure.
“This was just a case study as a student, then the students at Papua New Guinea came to Australia and we were able to show them Australian agriculture.
“That experience of sharing food production and sustainability of communities and seeing how much that cross cultures probably followed me into the next phase of my career, working as a veterinarian all over the world.
“Understanding that food production in another country and seeing how they would mix crops to manage disease and manage the land.”
Dr Ludeman’s first exposure and experience with live export was during university when she worked as a drafter at the Fremantle Ports.
It was her job to take out reject sheep that were loading onto livestock vessels.
From there she was given a scholarship opportunity to travel on a vessel to the Middle East, as part of her vet studies.
After graduation she became an Australian government accredited veterinarian, which meant she could do work for pre-export or onboard the vessels.
“I enjoyed private practice and then moved into equine practice,” Dr Ludeman told Mr Le Lievre.
“That was a passion, but I think I was a little underwhelmed by my profession and became burnt out.”
From there, Dr Ludeman left her career and went on to work with a veterinarian who was working with exporters.
She wanted a break from clients and decided to instead blood test cattle.
Before she knew it she was in Adelaide testing 40,000 cattle for Russian consignments, managing feedlots, data and people.
Eventually she found herself on a live export vessel because the veterinarian she was working under didn’t return in time.
She said that experience opened her eyes to another part of the world.
“Going on board that first consignment and giving feedback to the exporter, which led to implementing changes, was inspiring,” she said.
“And just working with the crew and seeing how much they care for the animals was interesting, as were the different cultures and personalities.
“It has been a gateway to the world, as well as being able to care for animals and provide feedback that helps improve systems and processes.”
From that trip her career progressed and she was invited to operation compliance roles within export companies including Emanuel Exports.
Dr Ludeman felt that was another way to have a bigger impact – working with other veterinarians, analysing data across the supply chain, taking regulatory requirements, reading legislation and then asking how it is put into practice.
Before starting with Emanuel Exports, she won the Australian Live Export Council’s Young Live Exporter of the Year award.
As part of that award she completed the Australian Rural Leadership Program an experience she said was pivotal.
“It was so out of my comfort zone and something I hadn’t done from a personal development point of view,” Dr Ludeman said.
“As part of that program I did a presentation called ‘nothing to hide’ and was open about what I had seen in the livestock industry.
“Fast forward a few months and I took on the role at Emanuels and one of the first things I did was audit the supply chain.
“There were no urgent issues that needed to be addressed and from there I got together a film crew to show them we had nothing to hide.”
It was from the success of the project that The Livestock Collective was born.
Dr Ludeman received overwhelming support and feedback from producers and the collective progressed into a non-for-profit organisation.
It started with a truck driver, veterinarian, an importer and exporter, who all made it their mission to provide a united voice for the livestock supply chain.
The collective also educates with informational videos and vessel tours and empowers supply chain participants.
“For me one of the most rewarding parts of it to balance that off was the feedback from producers,” Dr Ludeman told Mr Le Lievre.
“We have had more than 200 people on vessel tours.”
Dr Ludeman’s “short story podcast” is shared in collaboration with Antola with The Livestock Collective branded Holly shirts available online.
Founder of Antola Trading Alicia McClymont said the business was thrilled to have connected with Dr Ludeman.
“It made perfect sense for us to partner with TLC and to name a shirt after her,” Ms McClymont said.
“Holly is a great example of women making a difference in agriculture.”
Antola work shirts are owned and designed in outback Australia, named after someone handpicked by the team, who they believe are having a diverse impact on regional and rural Australia.
Antola Trading’s ‘Holly’ shirts were available for a limited time until last Thursday.
- To listen to Dr Ludeman’s full shirt story podcast episode go to antolatrading.com/ blogs/shirt-stories
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