THE Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has today suspended the live export licence of a second livestock-export company, pending a full review.
While the Department did not name the company in its recent statement on the matter, it has been reported by Fairfax and the ABC that the company was EMS Rural, a wholly owned subsidiary of Emanuel Exports, which had had its export licence suspended last month in connection with reports of animal cruelty.
EMS Rural applied for an export licence for the sheep earlier this week, sparking widespread outrage.
The RSPCA issued a call last night to agriculture minister David Littleproud to use his power to stop the shipment, which it said was imminent, with sheep being loaded onto the Kuwait-flagged vessel Al Shuwaikh at Fremantle.
The statement from DAWR said the sheep that were due for export remain in a registered feedlot.
“The sheep have been inspected by the department’s veterinarians; they are in good health and well-cared for,” the statement reads.
Arrangements for these animals remain the responsibility of the exporter. Exporters are also responsible for ensuring they meet all animal welfare requirements imposed under Commonwealth and state law.”
Former cabinet minister MP Sussan Ley in a tweet said it was “horrifying” that Emanuel Exports had created a “‘new’ identity for a permit to send these sheep in the furnace of a middle eastern [sic] summer”.
Animal rights peak body Animals Australia issued a statement welcoming DAWR’s decision overnight to suspend the licence, preventing the shipping of the sheep into the “deadly” heat and humidity of the Middle East summer.
Lyn White of Animals Australia said there was a collective sense of relief around the country this morning.
“The possibility of these sheep being exported by an affiliate of suspended exporter Emanuel Exports, has had both the public and politicians shaking their heads in dismay and disbelief,” she said.
“We are grateful to the Department for their willingness to urgently re-examine this matter and reach a decision that is both just and protects the interests of these 45,000 animals.”
Ms White said Animals Australia was prepared to press ahead with an injunction.
“It remains our view that the regulatory requirements as to health and welfare cannot be met during the height of the Middle East summer and as such, any export permit granted would be unlawful,” she said.