Hu­mane changes in sheep ex­ports

The Morning Bulletin - - NATION -

LIVE sheep ex­ports to the Mid­dle East dur­ing the north­ern hemi­sphere sum­mer won’t be banned, but sheep will have more room and bet­ter con­di­tions on trans­port ships.

Fed­eral Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter David Littleproud has ac­cepted all 23 of the rec­om­men­da­tions of a re­view by live­stock vet Michael McCarthy, in­clud­ing a re­duc­tion in stock­ing den­sity of up to 28 per cent for voy­ages dur­ing the hottest part of the year.

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

The min­is­ter had com­mis­sioned the re­view into live sheep ex­ports af­ter hor­rific footage was re­leased show­ing sheep dy­ing on a ship from West­ern Aus­tralia to the Mid­dle East in 2016.

The Gov­ern­ment has pro­posed harsh new penal­ties for dodgy ex­porters, with jail terms of up to 10 years for com­pany di­rec­tors and in­di­vid­u­als.

Fines rang­ing be­tween $420,000 for in­di­vid­u­als and $4.2 mil­lion for com­pa­nies will also be in­cluded in leg­is­la­tion to be in­tro­duced in com­ing weeks. Any voy­age with a mor­tal­ity rate of more than 1 per cent will be in­ves­ti­gated by the in­de­pen­dent reg­u­la­tor, down from 2 per cent.

All sheep and cat­tle ships will have an in­de­pen­dent ob­server on board, feed­ing back vi­sion and re­ports to the reg­u­la­tor on a daily ba­sis.

“This is about get­ting truth and proof from those boats,” Mr Littleproud said.

La­bor’s agri­cul­ture spokesman Joel Fitzgib­bon said the Op­po­si­tion would stop the sum­mer trade at the first op­por­tu­nity.

The Aus­tralian Vet­eri­nary As­so­ci­a­tion and the RSPCA had called for a ban on the north­ern sum­mer trade, which they say is not pos­si­ble to do hu­manely. But Mr Littleproud

WE HAVE GOT A RE­SPON­SI­BIL­ITY TO STAY AND GET IT RIGHT. WE HAVE A RE­SPON­SI­BIL­ITY TO THE AN­I­MALS, BUT ALSO TO OUR FARM­ERS

DAVID LITTLEPROUD

said peo­ple were kid­ding them­selves if they thought the global de­mand for live sheep would go away.

“We have got a re­spon­si­bil­ity to stay and get it right. We have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to the an­i­mals, but also to our farm­ers.”

An­i­mals Aus­tralia’s Lyn White said it was a “lily-liv­ered” re­sponse de­signed to pro­tect ex­porters, not an­i­mals.

Na­tional Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Fiona Sim­son said there was no guar­an­tee sheep would no longer die in large num­bers on ex­port ships.

“From the farm­ers’ per­spec­tive, we need to fix it, not ban it,” Ms Sim­son said.

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