Abattoir warning is dismissed
The head of the co-operative running Katanning’s abattoir has rejected warnings that sudden reductions in live exports announced this week will overwhelm his industry.
Western Australian Meat Marketing Co-Operative chief executive Coll MacRury dismissed comments by WAFarmers livestock president David Slade last week which warned major reductions in live exports out of WA would “load the abattoirs up” and that “they are not equipped to take an excess of sheep”.
The comments came days after the Federal Agriculture Department suspended Emanuel Exports’ licence, eight months after the deaths of about 2500 sheep on one of their ships heading from WA to the Middle East.
Emanuel Exports is the largest live exporter between Australia and the Middle East and the decision came within a week of an announcement Livestock Shipping Services, Australia’s second-largest live animal exporter, is suspending its operations in light of new federal export regulations.
However Mr MacRury, whose Katanning abattoir slaughters about a million livestock a year, rejected claims WA abattoirs could not take on the extra work.
“When you look at the WA capacity verses what extra animals there might possibly be, I think you’ll find it could be worked through,” he said.
“July to August are going to be particularly quiet, and so if there’s any boat sheep that arrive in that period it won’t be a problem at all.
“I’d say right through to October we’ll be pretty safe.”
Mr MacRury’s comments in defence of the industry were made before news another major abattoir had agreed to purchase 60,000 sheep Emanuel Exports were set to ship.
He said at this stage the most important thing was for the State Government to make clear its future plan for live exports.
“What we need is some real figures,” he said.