Herald Sun - - NEWS - ROB HAR­RIS

LIVE sheep ex­porters could be jailed for up to 10 years if they breach tough new rules in a dra­matic over­haul of the con­tro­ver­sial trade.

A re­view of live sheep ex­ports has rec­om­mended a ma­jor re­duc­tion of the an­i­mals on ships, and more space for them on ships leav­ing Aus­tralian ports.

Fed­eral Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter David Littleproud stopped short of ban­ning the trade af­ter hor­rific footage emerged of sheep dy­ing on a voy­age to the Mid­dle East.

The Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment now faces an elec­tion cam­paign on the is­sue with La­bor vow­ing to grad­u­ally phase out the in­dus­try.

Mr Littleproud adopted all rec­om­men­da­tions of vet­eri­nar­ian Michael McCarthy’s re­view, in­clud­ing tougher penal­ties for com­pa­nies break­ing rules.

“No sane hu­man be­ing would see an­i­mal cru­elty as some­thing they would ac­cept,” Mr Littleproud said.

Aus­tralian Live­stock Ex­porters’ Coun­cil chair­man Si­mon Crean said ex­porters ac­knowl­edged there were se­ri­ous ques­tions about the ethics of the trade.

“The footage demon­strated a crit­i­cal fail­ure by our in­dus­try to meet com­mu­nity ex­pec­ta­tions,” he said.

La­bor agri­cul­ture spokesman Joel Fitzgib­bon said it would stop the trade dur­ing sum­mer at the first op­por­tu­nity.

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