Monday 24th Sep, 2018

Live exports trigger war of words out west

Larger ships soon could be calling at Geraldton in WA
Larger ships soon could be calling at Geraldton in WA

A BRUISING battle has developed in Western Australia with state agriculture minister Alannah MacTiernan slamming comments from an industry body regarding treatment of animals on board the vessel MV Maysora.

According to the marinetraffic.com website, MV Maysora is currently in the Arabian Sea having collected sheep for live export from Fremantle earlier in the month.

It was widely reported WA inspectors initially had been denied access to the vessel while in Fremantle and the same inspectors had raised concerns about the treatment of sheep.

This prompted a tough response from WAFarmers president Tony York who said there was no indication from the ship’s owners or operator (Livestock Shipping Services) the inspection had revealed anything untoward.

“It is greatly disappointing that the operator has been forced to clarify statements that have been selectively construed from the leaked report to imply inappropriate standards,” Mr York said.

But Ms MacTiernan hit back suggesting it was the farmers who needed to “get the facts straight”.

“LSS has claimed that no attempt was made to stop a Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development animal welfare inspection of the Maysora,” the Minister said.

“This is false. The Department sought consent in advance to board the Maysora to carry out an animal welfare inspection. Consent was not granted.

“A warrant was then obtained and presented to LSS, who then co-operated with the inspection.”

The Minister, meanwhile said WAFarmers had been wrong to claim state inspectors had failed to act on their concerns.

“A Livestock Management Advice was provided verbally to LSS’s managing director outlining the concerns of the inspectors at the time,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“These were acknowledged by the exporter, who said these would be considered and acted on.”

The Minister said inspectors took photographic and video evidence on board the vessel that supported the findings of their report.

“We would urge industry to face up to their current situation; confidence in live export is at an all-time low, and real steps must be taken to restore that confidence,” the Minister said.

“It should be noted that WA inspectors have subsequently received consent to board the Wellard ship Ocean Drover, and an inspection found no significant issues on board.”

Meanwhile, AMSA surveyors have given the green light to the vessel Awassi Express to load livestock.

It was television footage of cruel treatment of sheep on board the Awassi Express (which remains at anchor in the Swan River) that triggered the latest furore surrounding the industry.

“AMSA surveyors attended livestock vessel Awassi Express (on Monday) in Fremantle to complete the Australian Certificate for the Carriage of Livestock (ACCL) endorsement survey,” AMSA stated.

“Improvements made to the ventilation system were verified as meeting the requirements of the legislation. The inspection included spot checks of the third party testing.”

AMSA stated the vessel operator had installed an automatic watering system to ensure water was provided to all pens during the voyage without manual intervention.

“AMSA has endorsed the vessel’s ACCL and completed a livestock preload inspection,” the regulator stated.

“The vessel is expected to load livestock later this week, subject to approval from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.”





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