A REPORT about conditions on some live export voyages the the Middle East has drawn a reaction from agriculture minister David Littleproud who said he requested an urgent briefing from DAWR and wrote to the industry asking what research had been undertaken about high heat mortalities.
Mr Littleproud said he has seen footage supplied to his office by animal rights peak body Animals Australia, which indicated it was of live shipments of sheep sent from Perth to parts of the Middle East in 2016 and 2017.
“I’m shocked and deeply disturbed by the vision,” he said and thanked Animals Australia for bringing it to his attention.
“We need to create an environment where groups, whistleblowers and individuals are comfortable and confident coming forward so we can nail those who do the wrong thing.”
Mr Littleproud continued, saying compliance with laws across all industry imparts integrity and compliance requires exporters, the industry and the regulator to fulfil their responsibilities.
“I will not be afraid to call out and take strong action against those who have not fulfilled their responsibilities, whether they be exporter, the regulator or staff on ships,” he said.
“I support the farmers who rely on live export and the exporters who do the right thing. We need this trade for our farmers.”
The minister said this trade needs to be conducted properly and sustainably for Australian farmers for whom the live trade provides a vital market, as well as for the animals themselves.
“Farmers care for their animals and they’ll be angry and hurt when they see this footage,” he said.
A statement from DAWR said the Department had received information and “confronting” footage that alleges expected animal welfare standards are not being met on some live export voyages.
“These are serious allegations and the Department is working to verify the information as quickly as possible,” the statement reads.
“In the interim, the Department has written to exporters reminding them of their obligations under legislation, including the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL). ASEL contains regulatory requirements exporters must comply with to ensure the health and welfare of livestock throughout the export voyage.”