WAFarmers President Tony York and Livestock Council President David Slade have welcomed the tabling of a WAFarmers initiated petition seeking an economic and social investigation into the importance of Australia’s live sheep trade. O’Connor Member Rick Wilson tabled the petition this week in Federal Parliament which included approximately signatures collected across Western Australia.
WAFarmers Livestock President David Slade said the organisation hopes the petition outlines the support from the Western Australian community.
“The purpose of the petition is to demonstrate the groundswell of support from the industry and to call on the Government to undertake further action to investigate the social and economic impacts that a live export ban would have on Australia,” Mr Slade said.
“Australia’s commitment to animal welfare is world class and the live sheep trade is critical to the economic and social welfare of the Australia’s sheep producers, allied businesses and rural communities.
“A point that is often overlooked in the debate is that if Australia ceased its involvement in the live export trade it would be endangering the welfare of more than two million sheep and cattle that would be replaced by livestock from countries which have nowhere near the stringent animal welfare standards that Australia has.”
Mr Slade said that WA supplies as much as 85 percent of the Australian live export market, valuing the trade to local farmers at approximately $200 million.
“This value is further increased, when consideration is given to the many businesses involved including shearers, transporters, feed merchants and many others that rely on the trade. The possible cessation of the trade will have devastating consequences for farmers, agri-businesses and rural communities.
“The industry supports on-going improvement to the trade and acknowledges that more work needs to be done with exporters and regulators. This is crucial for the continuation of a viable live sheep trade where all parties involved will reap the benefits of an improved system,” Mr Slade said.
WAFarmers is hopeful that the petition will bring about and alert parliament to the broader implications involved with the trade and we look forward to working closely with the Federal Government, Opposition and Cross Bench MP’s on this important trade.