Live sheep export: Federal Agriculture Minister announces review into export trade

Still image of the footage that revealed the suffering of sheep aboard <i>Awassi Express</i>.
Still image of the footage that revealed the suffering of sheep aboard Awassi Express.

FEDERAL Agriculture Minister David Littleproud today announced a review into the standards of the northern summer live sheep export trade.

The review comes after the release of footage showing sheep suffering on five live sheep voyages aboard Awassi Express, which remains moored in Fremantle.

Mr Littlewood has appointed a vet with experience in the export industry to complete the review.

“The review is to make sure we can have confidence in those boats and the standards to which those sheep will go to the Middle East,” he said.

“The vet has indicated that he will complete the review in four to five weeks.

“It is completely off the table to stop trade over the summer period, I want to see year round sustainable trade.”

WA Farmers president Tony York, who attended the announcement with the minister, said he was pleased the Government had taken the issue on board.

“We want to see our confidence regained in the trade and the operation,” he said.

“We want to ensure all of our animal health and welfare standards are being met at the highest standard possible particular as the ships go into the northern hemisphere summer.

“Incidentally it’s a very important part of the year for the trade, it’s when the stock needs to be going in the markets because of religious events.

“We have already forwarded an assessment of what is happening in the northern summer, stocking density, whether the shipping route can be modified to minimise the risks during that period.”

WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernansaid she was pleased the Federal Government had accepted there was a gross failure in the system both in regulation and enforcement.

“It is really important that it is not used as a opportunity to paper over the problem, I hope it will be a genuine analysis of the situation,” she said.

“We find it hard to see that without an introduction of refrigeration airconditioning how in the heat of summer the heat can be managed.

“We need to stop the ridiculous practice of allowing the industry to appoint their own user-friendly vet, it should be the department’s choice, has to be a degree of independence.

“No one is saying we need to close the industry down, we need standards to actually mean something and are actually enforced.”

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