La­bor move to end live ex­ports slammed

Broome Advertiser - - News - Glenn Cord­ing­ley

Regional pas­toral­ists have ripped into La­bor’s pledge to end live sheep ex­ports, saying it un­fairly targets an en­tire in­dus­try and fo­cuses on ban­ning the trade rather than pros­e­cut­ing the per­pe­tra­tors of acts of an­i­mal cru­elty.

Prime Minister Mal­colm Turn­bull said the pol­icy was a re­peat of the Gil­lard gov­ern­ment’s 2011 sus­pen­sion on live ex­ports, which caused diplo­matic ten­sions with In­done­sia and eco­nomic dam­age to farm­ers.

Kim­ber­ley Pil­bara Cat­tle­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man David Stoate said as with the 2011 live cat­tle ex­port ban to In­done­sia, Fed­eral La­bor had again cho­sen to act while not be­ing in pos­ses­sion of the full range of facts.

“While I, too, was per­son­ally hor­ri­fied by the footage, I do ap­plaud the swift and de­ci­sive ac­tion taken by (Fed­eral Agri­cul­ture) Minister (David) Lit­tleproud to ini­ti­ate a num­ber of in­ves­ti­ga­tions to en­sure im­prove­ments as well as the im­prove­ments put in place by the Aus­tralian Live Ex­porters Coun­cil and Em­manuel Ex­ports, such as re­duc­ing stock­ing den­si­ties,” he said.

“Where there is any ev­i­dence of a breach of the Aus­tralian stan­dards for the ex­port of live­stock, this must be thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated and the per­pe­tra­tors pe­nalised.

“It is also im­por­tant for stake­hold­ers to un­der­stand that should the Aus­tralian live ex­port trade in sheep be banned it will be taken up by coun­tries that have much lower stan­dards than Aus­tralia, if any at all, and will re­sult in a net re­duc­tion in over­all an­i­mal wel­fare out­comes.”

Mr Stoate said the beef in­dus­try in the Kim­ber­ley-Pil­bara was still bear­ing the scars of the Fed­eral La­bor’s knee-jerk de­ci­sion in 2011 to ban the live ex­port trade in cat­tle to In­done­sia.

He said le­gal ac­tion taken by a North­ern Ter­ri­tory cat­tle com­pany seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion for detri­ment suf­fered by pro­duc­ers was still pend­ing as part of a claim that also ac­cuses then Fed­eral La­bor agri­cul­ture minister Joe Lud­wig of mis­us­ing his power in ini­ti­at­ing the ban.

Mr Stoate said the live ex­port trade in cat­tle from North West WA was worth at least $150 mil­lion in 2017 and was an im­por­tant so­cio-eco­nomic con­trib­u­tor to the re­gion, in­clud­ing a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of Abo­rig­i­nal pas­toral lessees.

The en­tire WA live ex­port trade of cat­tle in 2017 was worth $273 mil­lion.

Mr Stoate said the need for the cur­rent re­view into the Aus­tralian stan­dards live­stock ex­ports needed to be as ro­bust as pos­si­ble, with in­put sought from all stake­hold­ers, and should look at the im­ple­men­ta­tion of op­tions to im­prove mon­i­tor­ing and in­crease trans­parency in re­port­ing in re­la­tion to the wel­fare of animals.

Pic­ture: Si­mon Penn

David Stoate

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