Ex­porter loses li­cence

Shepparton News - Country News - - WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE -

The com­pany be­hind the dis­as­trous Awassi Ex­press voy­age on which thou­sands of sheep died says it will ap­peal the fed­eral agri­cul­ture depart­ment’s de­ci­sion to can­cel its ex­port li­cence.

Of­fi­cials sus­pended Emanuel Ex­ports’ li­cence in June after footage was broad­cast of thou­sands of sheep dead, dy­ing and suf­fer­ing in swel­ter­ing con­di­tions on a ship bound for the Mid­dle East.

The de­ci­sion to can­cel the Perth-based com­pany’s li­cence late on Tues­day last week fol­lowed a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion and show cause process and was ‘‘not one taken lightly’’, the depart­ment said.

The ac­tion taken was ‘‘in the best in­ter­ests of the in­dus­try and for the pro­tec­tion of Aus­tralia’s high stan­dards of an­i­mal wel­fare and health’’ it said.

Emanuel di­rec­tor Ni­cholas Daws said the com­pany, which be­gan ex­port­ing to the Mid­dle East in 1963, would ap­peal the de­ci­sion to the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Ap­peals Tri­bunal ‘‘as a mat­ter of pri­or­ity’’.

‘‘Emanuels re­mains com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing the high­est an­i­mal wel­fare stan­dards,’’ he said on Wed­nes­day.

Pas­toral­ists and Gra­ziers As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Tony Seabrook re­sponded an­grily to the can­cel­la­tion, say­ing the only win­ners were an­i­mal wel­fare ac­tivists, but WAFarm­ers pres­i­dent Tony York said crit­ics of the trade could take com­fort the reg­u­la­tor was do­ing its job.

‘‘For­tu­nately, the trade re­mains open and we look for­ward to work­ing with other ex­porters to en­able its re­sump­tion,’’ Mr York said.

RSPCA Aus­tralia se­nior pol­icy of­fi­cer Jed Good­fel­low wel­comed the can­cel­la­tion and said the com­mu­nity ‘‘should be un­der no il­lu­sion that Emanuel was a rogue op­er­a­tor or an out­lier’’.

WA Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan said the state govern­ment sup­ported any steps ‘‘to weed out dodgy live ex­port oper­a­tors and clean up the trade’’.

But the Fed­eral Govern­ment had han­dled the sec­tor badly for a long time so sheep farm­ers should re­ceive a fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance pack­age to help them ad­just to their sud­den ‘‘new re­al­ity’’, Ms MacTier­nan said.

Her fed­eral coun­ter­part David Lit­tleproud bluntly said that wouldn’t hap­pen.

‘‘Govern­ment does not com­pen­sate when a mar­ket player is re­moved by rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties,’’ he said.

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