WAFarmers has rejected calls from the Federal Opposition to impose a ban on live sheep exports, citing a need to stop the cruelty, not the trade.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon today announced his party’s intentions to phase out live exports, a move which has been condemned by the agricultural industry.
“WAFarmers stands firm in supporting the Federal Government’s review into the live sheep export industry during northern hemisphere summer conditions,” WAFarmers President Tony York said.
“The findings are due next week, and we urge any decisions of real significance to await that report. Until then, we remind all of government and the wider public that a ban is not the answer.
“The livelihoods of farmers and the health of their communities across the nation would be put at significant risk by a ban, especially so for Western Australian producers who represent 85 per cent of the national trade.
“Further, without very careful and considered processes, there will likely also be downward pressure on overall sheep flock size.
“We have seen from past experience that a ban on live export is widely destructive to regions and regional communities. We implore those in power not to make the same mistake twice.”
Mr York said the entire live export industry was committed to working towards improving animal welfare standards to ensure livestock are treated as humanely as possible at all stages along the live export supply chain.
“The Australian industry has and continues to lead the world in animal welfare improvements mechanisms; ESCAS, ASEL and the new LGAP system are all examples of this,” Mr York said.
“Already, the live export industry has committed to reducing stocking densities on ships bound for the Middle East during northern hemisphere summer conditions.
“This is the first tactic to be introduced within a comprehensive and carefully considered review into the trade.
“The review hopes to involve all stakeholders it can – exporters, regulators, processors and producers – in order to be as inclusive and well informed as possible.
“We hope this step will be bolstered by recommendations from the McCarthy review to improve, not shut down, the trade.”
All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].