Live sheep ex­ports banned dur­ing north­ern sum­mer sea­son

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - Peter Somerville [email protected]­ral­weekly.com

LIVE­STOCK ex­porters have an­nounced a self-im­posed mora­to­rium on live sheep ex­ports to the Mid­dle East dur­ing the next north­ern sum­mer.

How­ever it might be a case of too lit­tle too late for Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud, who said “it would have been bet­ter if in­dus­try had shown lead­er­ship across a broad range of an­i­mal wel­fare mat­ters some years ago”.

Aus­tralian Live­stock Ex­porters’ Coun­cil an­nounced the mora­to­rium on Tues­day af­ter­noon.

It would mean that from June 1, no ship­ments of Aus­tralian sheep will leave the coun­try for the Mid­dle East dur­ing what is recog­nised as the high­est heat-stress risk pe­riod of the north­ern sum­mer.

Aus­tralian Live­stock Ex­porters’ Coun­cil’s Si­mon Crean said the mora­to­rium would pro­vide cer­tainty to sheep pro­duc­ers who sup­plied the trade and was just one ini­tia­tive among wider-rang­ing in­dus­try re­forms.

Mean­while, a num­ber of bills have been in­tro­duced to Fed­eral Par­lia­ment to com­pletely ban live ex­ports.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud said it was im­por­tant to re­spect Aus­tralia’s trad­ing part­ners and “make sure we work through prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions to en­sure their food se­cu­rity”.

“We await the science re­gard­ing the head-stress model, which we ex­pect shortly.”

Mr Crean said the mora­to­rium was in­tended to main­tain and grow a “strong, vi­able nine-month-a-year live sheep trade” and se­cure “the fu­ture of Aus­tralia’s live­stock ex­port in­dus­try”.

He said that while more than three-quar­ters of Mid­dle East sheep voy­ages in the past seven years had recorded mor­tal­i­ties of less than 1 per cent, the ma­jor­ity of the 20 voy­ages when mor­tal­i­ties ex­ceeded 1.5 per cent oc­curred in the June to Au­gust north­ern sum­mer pe­riod.

“The live sheep trade to the Mid­dle East needs to be re­set,” Mr Crean said.

“June to Au­gust sheep ex­ports to the Mid­dle East are worth $55 mil­lion per an­num, so the mora­to­rium will, without any doubt, im­pact farm-gate re­turns.

“But this de­ci­sion shows the gen­uine care ex­porters have for live­stock – val­ues we share with pro­duc­ers – and our com­mit­ment to the in­dus­try’s fu­ture.”

The mora­to­rium will be en­forced via the Aus­tralian Live­stock Ex­porters’ Coun­cil’s newly es­tab­lished manda­tory code of con­duct.

PHOTO: MEAD LEON

CHANGES AFOOT: Live­stock ex­porters have an­nounced a self-im­posed mora­to­rium.

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